Auf die hand is my local. Unexpectedly, it means I rarely eat there because it’s so close to my house that it seems lazy not to take a few more steps to my flat and make my own lunch. On the other hand, its proximity comes in handy on occasions when I need to meet people for coffee and don’t know them well enough to invite them to the flat or on one of those exceedingly rare occasions when I am running out for an early appointment or best one yet, when I am going to the Zoo or any other such destination where the food is bound to be inferior.I was underwhelmed by auf die hand when I first moved into the flat and everyone kept telling me it was there. It just seemed like a gussied up Pret a Manger and there was no way I was going to miss the bane of the triangle sandwich chain or so I smugly thought… Smugness it turns out, is closely related to Pride – one of the seven deadly sins. (I don’t need a film starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman to know it’s bad form to indulge in these bad boys) Now I often find myself hankering after a free range egg salad sandwich or a chunky humous salad wrap. (Although I would still insist on the sandwich coming to something resembling room temperature)Like the Prets and Eats of the UK, auf die hand does soups, stews, cakes, cookies and a warm meal of the day which goes for around €6.50 (It bears noting that for €3 more, you can go around the corner to Traube and have the special of the day or for €4.50 you can descend into the subterranean world of Persian food at Sabzi- open for lunch only and then there is the newly opened Jones Food Store on Reinhardstrass which I’ve yet to try but looks promising). The €6.50 hot lunch price tag garners a lot of disapproval from its benefactors who are sensitive to the unspoken lunch rule of nothing over €5 that persists in Berlin. Despite this, they are heaving at lunch, throw a little sunshine into the mix – when auf die hand put out their candy coloured chairs – and the shelves are bare by 3. Which is just as well since they shut at 6.
The food seems to be made by a couple of women in the large kitchen behind the store. With my middle eastern background, women making food seems so intrinsic as opposed to Europe where finding a woman in a kitchen is like finding a four leaf clover (Not that they work in kitchens there mind you, it’s just that they cook for so many people, they might as well be)Guess what else? Auf die hand will open in the new airport. Can you imagine what sophistication? A new airport (finally, finally, finally – please put some escalators or elevators in!) where you can get some decent (but milky) coffee and a couple of sandwiches or salads for your long haul Air Berlin flights (where I found out on my last trip to Miami, you have to pay €3 for headsets so that you can watch the movie playing on the TV hanging from the ceiling every 5 rows or so – that’s right! Isn’t that positively medieval? If medieval times had long haul flights.)
Auf die hand
Monday to Friday 8 to 18
Saturday 11 to 14