It’s evolved considerably since my last visit. The USP’s of the stands are distinct from one another and reel the Markthalle Neun consumer mercilessly hook, line and sinker.
At Big Stuff Smoked BBQ, there is a line of hungry punters wrapped around the corrugated shack, as tinny Charleston music blares from speakers located somewhere behind the chicken wire that makes up a big part of the shop. The Italian girl at the cashier is wearing a flat cap, her sweater sleeves are pushed to the elbows exposing a full arms worth of shirt sleeves – she looks like she should be hitching a ride on the back of a Ford Model T truck circa 1920. I inch ever closer to the guy with the black latex gloves pulling pork apart for the sandwiches.
Sadly for me, Big Stuff has had a good day and they have sold out of everything except the pulled pork sandwich, so I miss out on the matt aluminium tray loaded with mounds of sauerkraut and squirts of bbq sauce (€12 for the regular, €16 for the large). I get the pulled pork sandwich (€5.50) and a side of smoked potato (€1). It’s good. Not shredded to the point of resembling candy floss the way I experienced at Pitt Cue in London but delicious in a less complicated way. My mother has her sandwich with a glass of ale from Heiden Peters.
I appreciate that the brains behind Markethalle Neun have been considerate enough to provide ample seating, with feisty coloured plastic chairs so I don’t have to scan the hall long before finding somewhere to sit.
Layla choses to get her sugar fix from Arte Sucre in the form of mini macarons (heaven preserve us from trending sweets: whoopie pies, cake pops, marshmallows – I mean you!). As I try to identify and retrieve the perennial coffee flavoured one, the French woman selling them begins to rattle off flavours: lemon, cassis, chocolate, mandarin mint…
Mandarin with mint? I think, intrigued as I immediately commandeer that flavour and take half a bite. The other half I hand to Sylee. “These are good right?”.
Her eyes grow round. “Really good.” she agrees. I turn on my heel and return to Arte Sucre, this time to buy a pretty box of choux buns (6 for €7.80) to go with our excellent coffees from Kantine 9.
Where it occurs to me that we didn’t properly celebrate Layla’s 4th birthday in Dubai but that all will be forgiven if I buy her one of the macaron cakes I see being picked up from them.
With the exception of one long-haired lass flashing a new Louis Vuitton bag – a sight that stops me dead in my tracks and leads me to exclaim: “Wow, is she lost?” the place is dead on trend for Berlin. But don’t let that put you off, I went there with bootleg cut, rhinestone button True Religion jeans and no one stopped me at the door to ask me to change into frayed shorts or you know – whatever Berlin is wearing from the waist down these days.
Also FYI this Thursday night the market will be hosting a street food fair.