You can’t talk about HAPPA without talking about Sofia Hoffmann – the DJ and hair-dresser turned vegan chef, food blogger, cookbook author, podcaster and feminist activist who is to Missy Magazine’s readership what Anthony Bourdain was to GQ’s. In November, she and her business partner Nina Petersen (formerly of the zero-waste dining project Restlos Glücklich) finally opened their own restaurant in Berlin, the conclusion to an extensively Instagrammed two-year journey. The modest Kreuzberg lunchery racked up over 4000 followers before serving its first bite. Sceptical? We don’t blame you, but it’s hard not to be won over by this place. True, the shelf full of Hoffmann’s books, and the framed certificate she got for cooking the first-ever vegan dinner at New York’s James Beard Foundation, won’t let you forget whose kitchen you’re in.
Imagine your most culinarily talented WG-mate making you a nice meal after a hard day
But behind the stove, the tattooed redhead is just part of an exceedingly friendly team serving wholesome daily specials made from local, organic, occasionally rescued plants. Don’t expect anything too trendy or fussy – rather, imagine your most culinarily talented WG-mate making you a nice meal after a hard day. Opening week offerings included spaghetti bolognese with cashew Parmesan, smoked tofu-topped goulash and a €12 combo of rosemary potato wedges, baked marinated tempeh, pumpkin hummus and apple-carrot-hazelnut slaw that lived up to its name of ‘autumn on a plate’.
HAPPA’s ticketed five-course Friday night dinners feature slightly more elaborate dishes like homemade pasta and barley risotto, accompanied by natural wine (or non-alcoholic alternatives) and enthusiastic explanations from the chef. If you’re already part of the Hoffmann hive, the latter alone will be worth your €49. Everyone else should at least give lunch a shot. It’s rare a restaurant functions equally well as a down-to-earth neighbourhood hang, as a practical demonstration in making eco-conscious food more accessible, and as a personal brand extension – yet here we are.
- HAPPA, Schlesische Str. 35A, Kreuzberg, visit their website here.