If there’s one thing we Berliners got our fill of over the last seven months, it was standing in line for snacks served in disposable containers. So this weekend’s triumphant return of Bite Club, Berlin’s veteran street food festival, might seem anticlimactic compared to, say, the return of dancing in clubs or the chance to drink alcohol until 5am (if anyone can stay up that late anymore).
But hey – why not do all three? Or more: in addition to Bite Club at Gleisdreieck on Friday, a weekend-long natural wine festival called On The Skin, spotlighting small wine producers and local food vendors, is making its summer debut outside Napoleon Komplex (ex-Neuzeit Ost), the grungy former Deutsche Bahn depot next to Modersohnbrücke. If you haven’t been doing your street food homework over lockdown, now’s your chance to catch up. Here’s my top five, including info on where to find them beyond this weekend:
Shawarma Mama Because pita sandwiches are always better when served by drag queens. Begun as a pop-up at Kanaan this past spring, chef Arie Oshri’s Israeli sandwich stand is more than just a gimmick – it offers legit Tel Aviv-style shawarma smothered in tahini, tangy mango sauce and pickles, as well as veggie versions with eggplant or mushrooms. Find it at Bite Club, then as a roving food truck later this summer.
Fish Klub One of Exberliner‘s “food winners” of 2019 absolutely crushed the pandemic, keeping locked-down home chefs well-stocked in fresh-caught sustainable seafood while serving their own imaginative takeaway dishes at a new outpost in the belly of the Wilmersdorfer Arcaden. At Bite Club, you can try their celebrated seared tuna burger as well as grilled scallops, skewered shrimp and, of course, Bretagne oysters. If you miss out, you can still go for wine and a shellfish platter at their less-than-atmospheric mall food court terrace.
El Puesto Since I raved about this Kreuzberg stand’s birria, they’ve been making weekend-long forays into other rare-in-Berlin taco styles, from canasta to placeros to fried fish, while keeping their signature dashi-infused brothy beef on the menu. At On The Skin, they’ll be giving tostadas a spin. Meanwhile, you can still find them at the former La Lucha space on Paul-Linke-Ufer – for now. The fact that the patio remains verboten and the restaurant interior still yawns empty doesn’t bode well for this spinoff, but with their legions of followers and countless street food festivals waiting to take them in, I’m sure they’ll do just fine.
Tempeh-Hof I first tried Yustina Haryanti’s homemade tempeh and vegan Indonesian dishes at the weekly food market in Schillerkiez, where the airport pun was more apt. No matter the location, though, the big soft bao buns filled with nutty fermented soybeans and topped with spicy sambal sauce are worth eating. Catch them at Bite Club, or by the Herrfurthplatz church every Saturday.
W.N.9 Oyster Bar Pre-corona, moules-frites Tuesdays at French bar Lipopette were a venerated Neukölln tradition. Now that bar has been reborn as a fancy seafood restaurant, but most of the crew – and those mussels, the best this side of Belgium – have stayed the same. Pre-book a tasting at On The Skin (from €15/six wines, including glass deposit) and you can add a kilo of them for €14.50. Or just reserve a table at Warthestraße 9 on any given Tuesday.
Bite Club Jules/B-Part, Gleisdreieck Park, Fridays starting June 18, 17-22 (free before 19, €3 after)
On The Skin Modersohnstr. 35, Jun 18 17-24, Jun 19 12-24, €3 entry