The magic formula to turn vegetarians back into meat-lovers has been found. No kidding. It goes like this: π + gal + le, and uhm… okay. We lied. It’s not actually a formula. It’s a restaurant – which is great for people like us who prefer meat over math.
Pigalle is the third and yet largest addition to the popular Filetstück restaurants (translates to “filet piece”). It’s located in a former brothel in Neukölln whose name they inherited and we’re glad they aren’t breaking tradition. The place still pleases the desire for meat – but with more taste. Do not be irritated by the painting on the wall depicting a man seperated into the parts relevant for butchers. We investigated a little and to our relief we found out the chef’s name is NOT Hannibal Lector.
For starters we enjoyed the distinctive Pigalle snack - black pudding served with a vodka shot, to be had for as little as 5€. The meat stems from the same supplier that also supplies the court of the Queen of England, but pshhht… don’t tell anyone in Neukölln… some people here are still allergic to luxury. The main course really spoiled us: Dry-aged meat so tender the first bite completely erased our memory of vegetables for a minute. Apparently we weren’t the first ones: Filetstück’s story began as a little eatery in hipsterhood Prenzlauer Berg, where their meaty snacks created a cult among people who usually insist on not getting within a 5m radius of anything meaty. Now they’re regulars.
The restaurant’s inside feels very straight and honest, allowing the focus to be where it should be – on the food. You can get your steak either as a filet or entrecôte and honestly, they both were so juicy, we kept dreaming about it for a week. The sides aren’t bad at all, but after tasting the spectacular meat it feels like they’re a bit behind. All in all Pigalle is an absolute must-visit for anyone who enjoys quality meat in an authentic atmosphere off the usual main drag steakhouses in Mitte. We will be back!
When you went to Neukölln at night just a few years ago you were either very brave, drunk or a Kung-Fu-Master. Parts of the district were declared No-Go areas by authorities. Too much crime. Too dangerous. Unless you know Kung-Fu, of course. With 160 different nations, a population of 160 000 and the highest unemployment rate in Germany, trouble was never far.
160 nations have found their master: gentrification. Neukölln now is a stronghold for trendy hipsters, emerging artists and everyone else who can’t afford a flat in Prenzlauer Berg of Friedrichshain (no offense). In short: Neukölln has become cool. Reuterkiez was the district’s coolness pioneer and still gets envious looks from up and coming Schillerkiez in eastern Neukölln. “You just wait!” they seem to whisper. “Soon we’ll be way cooler than you… you just wait. Gollum, Gollum!”
The inevitable Berlinagenten-question rises: where do the party hungry kids get their late night game on? Only one way to find out. We went off to an epic night of bar-hopping, meeting new faces and if absolutely forced to – punching new faces. Just kidding. We would never use our Kung-Fu skills too easily (but Neukölln still CAN be dangerous). The perfect street for bar-hopping is Weserstraße where taking three steps from one bar will already get you into the next one. These days people get absurdly drunk in the former No-Go area and have a great time together. Got to love Berlin.
First stop was the inconspicuous Fuchs & Elster Bar. As we sat down the waitress told us not to take pictures. “You’re from a blog? I don’t trust you!”. Do we look like we were from a blog that’s deliberately posting pictures of drunk people online?! Hmmm. Maybe not so far from reality. After a drink helped us get over the rejection, we genuinely enjoyed the diffuse orange light and Grandmother’s pieces of furniture scatted across the rooms. Cozy. There even is a small club playing Jazz tunes in the basement – but it was closed when we were there. Or maybe they just said that because we’re bloggers.
Next stop: Yuma Bar. When we came in two beardy guys sat at the atmospherically lit bar and sipped on Belgian beer…hold on. Belgian Beer? Yuma Bar is beer heaven. Beer specialities from all over the globe will get your world spinning in no time. Two beers later we made our excuses and headed over to a classic dark cocktail bar, basically consisting of a very long bar counter – Thelonius Bar. They boast special cocktails of the season – but apparently we came in between the seasons. Damn. Yuma and Thelonius used to belong to the same owners, but they got into a fight and split up. Like Westside story, only with drinks instead of love. But isn’t that the same in the end?
Pushing forwards, we made quick stops at Jungbusch and Russian Bar Kuschlowski – both bars boast a very laid back atmosphere and invite you to stay longer, but there was no stopping us. Two vodka shots for us and on we go, thank you very much.
One of the coolest bars definitely is Tier Bar, loved for it’s unique style and understatement. Tier’s interior is characterized by an elongated bar and a whole collection of old TVs stacked behind the bar. We met two charmingly tipsy London girls in the forerunner of trendy bars that already poured drinks before anyone dared to mouth the word “cool”in Neukölln. Our new friends Abby and Sarah ordered us some nasty drinks and not long after we opened a little dancefloor next to our table. Who needs a club anyway!
Drinking causes meat-cravings. There’s no better place to cure it than Beuster Bar, just a few doors down from Tier. Beuster Bar is the perfect blend of relaxed bar and culinary delights. While you’re surrounded by warm colors, dark wood tables and green flamed tiles, the Schnitzel isn’t just “okayish”, it’s heavenly. Maybe the alcohol helped that impression, but who cares. It’s always crowded, so don’t be like us. Do book a table in advance if you want to be sure to be seated.
From there Abby and Sarah led us to their favourite Bar in Weichselstraße – o.T. Bar und Projektraum, a mix between par and art space.It’s their favourite because they know the bartender and get the drinks cheap. Well, we don’t mind. Slowly but steady we get the feeling we need to dance some of that tipsiness away. Last stop before hitting the clubs was Velvet Bar,an edgy and rough place whose worst enemy is “decoration”.
So, where to move your dancing feet? In Neukölln the choice isn’t easy. While the legendary Keller (translates to “basement”- for a good reason) creates a real underground feeling and is well-loved for its unique ambience, the wonderfully intimate Schwuz is home to Berlin’s hottest gay parties and never disappoints. In the end we opted for Griessmühle,which offers Berlin’s unclouded open-minded party feeling of the early 2000s. No pretense, cool people, great atmosphere. We danced through a night of groovy techno beats, meeting beautiful people and in the end, we didn’t even have to use our Kung-Fu skills. Berlinagenten loves Neukölln.
Do you know the saying „not all that glitters is gold“? The same could be said about the Schillerkiez in Neukölln. „Schillern“ means „to glitter“ in german and the neighbourhood – largely constructed around 1900 – was originally designed to attract the wealthy bourgeoisie to this part of town.
However, with the increased use of airport Tempelhof, located right next to the Schillerkiez, the wealthy residents of the once prestigious borough went looking for more comfortable areas to live in. The Kiez decayed over time and slowly but steady became a somewhat deprived area – worn down houses roaming the once glorious Schillerpromenade, crime rates going up and a constant rise of poverty among the residents.
But now, for the good news! Things change around here, and fast. With the closure of the airport a few years back, investors have once again found the beauty or rather, the financial potential in this area and be assured – it’s only for the better. With forerunners like Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and the close-by Reuterkiez, Schillerkiez will be the next big thing on the map of gentrification. After walking up and down the Schillerpromenade and checking out some of the side streets you’ll understand why – there really is a lot of potential slumbering in this area. With direct access to the huge Tempelhofer Feld, offering space for all the recreational activities you can think of, living here becomes more and more attractive by the day.
There’s quite a handful going on in the Kiez at the moment – the upspring of numerous trendy cafés and organic burger restaurants, the first confirmed sightings of students and hipsters moving into the newly renovated houses and the transformation of kebab shops into second hand boutiques for once pricey clothing only hint at one thing: The Schillerkiez will schiller once again!
Now the new residents themselves surely don’t see it that way… yet. Comfortably sucking on the straws of their iced lattes, they like to lament about the nearby oh-so-cool-Reuterkiez and its oh-so-cool-residents and how the residents of the Schillerkiez are oh-so-different. The fact the Reuterkiez is less than two kilometers away and underwent the exact same developments over the last years doesn’t seem to get on their minds.
With all this potential the Kiez has, of course Berlinagenten had to go there and check out the first trendy cafés and the best spots for tasty food, coffee bars, funky eateries, vintage styled cafes, workshops and more.
Something is stirring in deepest, darkest Neukölln. Better known for its kebab houses than an innovative food scene, things are certain to change with the launch of the brand new restaurant Eins 44 Kantine.
Tucked away in an art deco courtyard, you would never know this place existed. Yet after Berlinagenten tested out the menu, it’s guaranteed Berliners will be heading west and hitting the backstreets of Neukölln in the hope of seeking it out. Restaurant manager Jonathan Kartenberg and head chef Sebastian Radtke, were formerly at another one of favourite restaurants, Mani. The cuisine grounds itself in French basics, yet the exciting young team have updated it and then infused it with international flavours to create something brand new.
For a new restaurant, we were impressed by the ambiance that makes this place feel like a familiar cozy neighbourhood eatery, but all the while being highly stylised. The two story building was originally a distillery, so there is a spacious modern, post industrial feel. Its original tiled walls, ceiling and impressive bar, acquired vintage lamps, wooden tables and chairs that date back 30 years combine together to create a very lived-in, cool atmosphere. Being Berlin, naturally smokers are accommodated in the form of smokers’ room, which features a massive wooden table on a turbine engine.
We were certainly impressed by the food. To get our mouths watering, we started out with a gift from the kitchen, a dainty yet delicious mini Pork Belly Burger. First course, we decided on a delicious light crusted Golden Trout with granny smith apple and radish salad, along with a tender Beef Carpaccio with asparagus, grapefruit and a hint of coriander. For the main course, it was a speciality French pork done two ways, with a delightful cauliflower puree, and we also shared a perfectly grilled piece of prime entrecôte with potatoes and beans. Heaven arrived in the form of a 70% percent chocolate brownie cake with rosemary pineapple, mint and strawberry coulis for dessert.
Now for the very good news, despite the quality and the ambience, Eins 44 is very reasonably priced. A three course meal costs 33 euros, four courses is 42 euros and five courses just 51 euros. Or you can buy individual courses. It is complimented with a fine French and German wine list.
Eins 44 is definitely buzzing on our new Berlin restaurant radar! We honestly can’t wait to return.