Techno culture is far more than just shuddering to throbbing bass and having your neurons tickled by tweaky highs. Or having sex on the dancefloor. Or doing regrettable things in the toilets. Clubs like Berghain are an entire universe, a parallel society with all sorts of offshoots. The latest is a stylish restaurant on Paul-Lincke-Ufer – just a few doors down from the Hard Wax record store, that mecca for vinyl-hungry DJs.
Styled by Berghain’s interior designer, Tin Tin does feel ‘clubby’ in a very Berlin way: the huge expanses of various shades of grey; the bare walls (save for a large minimalist painting by one of the owners); the industrial furniture (blocky, cement-coated tables, heavy black chairs and the huge original radiators kept ‘raw’); the dainty bulbs dangling from black cables, artfully arranged in galaxies of dim lights that sparkle in the room’s great grey sky. The space is actually the result of the – nearly seamless – merging of two spaces across adjacent buildings, numbers 39 and 40. The menu is almost as minimal as the beats that emanate from the sound system: you could call it ‘imaginative Euro with a heavy Turkish/Mediterranean influence’.
Though it’s hard to imagine before tasting it, the celery-cream-coffee soup (€3.80) was a delicate, foam-topped taste-bud pleaser (as opposed to a stomach-turning mishmash). Our other starter, a ratatouille-like stew of aubergines and cherry tomatoes topped with pine nuts, was palatable but on the oily side. By the time the mains arrived – fried sardines on couscous with a yoghurt sauce (“Hansi Teller”, €9.20) and entrecôte on a slice of German bread with a superior tomato salad (“Rind auf Brot”, €14.20) – the music had switched to what sounded like 1970s soul (no techno dogmatism there). Both plates were generous in size; too bad the sardines were missing the kick of a suitable accompaniment (the couscous lacked real flavour). In contrast, the perfectly prepared cut of beef was the food highlight of the night, and the tomatoes so well-dressed they tasted delicious even at high winter – a real feat. Dessert was unexpectedly sophisticated and toothsome: a lime parfait with a deliciously runny chocolate cake, and homemade profiteroles filled with the “filling of the day” – on this occasion, love it or hate it, banana (€5.90).
Usually the food at a ‘club/restaurant’ is an afterthought, secondary to atmosphere and all-round coolness. But at Tin Tin, style and substance are served up in equal (and generous) measure.