Al Contadino Sotto Le Stelle, Mozzarella Bar & Bottega, Mitte

Al contadino sotto le stelleWe are finally back!

Next time I decide to move to London temporarily while 7 months pregnant with twins, have them there and then move back to Berlin – slap me will you?

But we’re here.  And just in time to catch the tail end of a glorious autumn before Berlin descends into the numbing gloom that is winter.IMG_3632

Layla started nursery on Wednesday and I paced and fretted my way around her school in case the teachers called me to come collect her.  She took it better than I did.  Except for the part where she has to have lunch and the food they serve is not peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  She just stared at her vegetable soup, horrified.  A helpful little boy told her that if she didn’t eat all her food, she wouldn’t be allowed to have any fruit for dessert.  Which prompted her to shoot me a perplexed look that said “If fruit is dessert, what do they do for fun here? Self-harm?”IMG_3628

Hovering in the general environs of her school allowed me to poke my head into Mogg & Melzer, have a couple of silky coffees at The Barn and try the new Mozzarella Bar on Auguststrasse (it opened in June).

Food occupiers of August strasse tend to be trendy and overly self-aware design wise.  Much like the folk that mince around in tight trousers and tiny coats even though it’s freezing outside because “Hey – I look good in it.”  Sotto Le Stelle is more grandma but you know, grandma does new, like maybe she tries out a new shade of purple hair dye.  When I walk in, Italian rock music is blaring.  Al contadino sotto le stelle Read more of this post

Honey & Co, Food From The Middle East, London

IMG_3559I’ve mentioned that my father is Jordanian, I probably haven’t said that half his family is originally Palestinian. My best friend in High School was an Israeli girl named Jo.  He used to joke that he sent me to an International School and from all the many nationalities – I found an Israeli. To be fair to both of our parents, they never interfered in our friendship or tried to get political with us. Jo and I bonded over our love of illicit bacon, chewing gum anxiously after we had consumed the contraband meat – convinced that somehow our fathers would know.

After visiting Honey & Co (opened by an Israeli couple who both worked in the Ottolenghi group) I took Layla to the playground in Primrose Hill where there was a Hasidic jewish father with 5 children sporting curled payot.  When they left, there was a couple sitting on a bench speaking in Hebrew.  I dialled her number.

“Jo Joseph!” I exclaimed. “I’m surrounded by your country men and women here.”
“Suzan!” she laughed. Jo always laughs, it’s one of the reasons I love her so much. “How are you?”
“Oh my god. How could you let me get pregnant again? I blame you.”
More laughter.
“Don’t worry, it get’s better….in three years.” Another of Jo’s characteristics. She gives it to you straight, no garbage about the first 100 days. One thousand and twenty-eight days to go then…IMG_3556

Paulina told me about Honey & Co.  Paulina has mastered professional baking and aspires to all things molecular (last time I had lunch with her she was telling me that she had contacted Simon Rogan to get some advice on how to use a contraption that captures the essence of ingredients) it’s rare for her to get excited about things she can do blind folded and laying down.  But she gushed about this place and she worked with both chefs. So on her recommendation, I went.

Layla was being fractious, in 28 minutes I had a rainbow beetroot salad, stuffed vine leaves, orange blossom ice tea and a chocolate brioche.  Running out of time, I ordered the cheese cake to go.  Later, while freezing on a bench in Primrose Hill, I rewound the meal I had gobbled up in record time and played it back slowly.   Read more of this post


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