Coledampfs third store (this one with partners) in Berlin, is in Kreuzberg and it is! I’d heard about its imminent birth for some time but I just though “bah”. I never imagined something of this retail magnitude was what they had in mind. I would stick it up there with Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table. A toned down European version of course because no one can compete (or tries to) with the volume, the ‘oh so shiny and new’ and bright displays that instantly convince you (me) that: Yes, you (me) absolutely must have the electric Zoku popsicle maker with accompanying book. (Even though the last time I ate a popsicle, I still had some of my milk teeth in.) of the American market.
This Coledampf doesn’t have the variety that the Savignyplatz shop has, notably absent are plastics (spatulas, Tupperware, moulds). Instead there is a stunning collection of de Buyer pots and pans; chefy tools, about 10 formats of conical strainers; glassware; dishes; German wines, from the 13 growing regions; a tower of Cynthia Barcomi’s aluminum bakeware; and books – 1 shelf of which is in English.
There is a focus on craftmanship, environmental sustainability and regional goods. As I understand it, Coledampf’s & Companies is a collaboration between the big, the good and the virtuous; bread from Beumer & Lutum; the culinary bookstore Kochlust; a range of edible products from Essbare Landschaften, I gathered that they are the ones that run the cooking school; something (opinion maybe?) from Garcon magazine.
I don’t really need the partner credentials, it could be a collaboration between the 7 dwarfs and I would still love it. The enormous space (500 sq ft), the large communal tables, the freedom to amble along slowly and peruse the contents of the shop without being verbally tackled by an exasperated sales person that wants to know if ‘you’re just wasting their time or what?!?!’.
But the best part?
You can order food.
There is a cafe on the ground level and a warm food cafe upstairs. From memory, the menu upstairs went something like this: a celeriac soup, a pan-fried salmon, a regional duck dish, a pear dessert. Entirely seasonal, with not a raspberry or asparagus spear insight to dilute credibility. With dinner at Renger Patzsch not far off on the horizon of the evening. I ordered a soup and a dessert. The kitchen is open and has some super strength extraction because although the salmon was coming out with perfectly crispy skin, I couldn’t smell it being cooked. The chefs plate up on the open pass, as professional as if it were the pass at Maze, then *ping* goes the little silver bell and the order is expedited to the table. (Mains are in the €12-€15 range but look to be worth every euro.)
I sat there and listened to the bell trill for a good couple of hours. The celeriac soup came with a japanese mandoline produced confetti of apple, in a small-eared tureen (€5.50). Then I had poached pears, napped in a boozy toffee sauce with an icy spiced ice cream and a spoonful of mousse, served on a matt slate dish (€5.50) – which they sell in the shop. Elegant and simple but not lazy (when I say lazy, I am referring to a habit of sticking some compote in a weg jar, putting on a layer of quark or cream, sprinkling on some crumbled biscuit, charging €5 and calling it dessert – offenders, I mean you.)
There is even more. Can you take it? Coledampf’s & Companies is housed in Planet Modulor: which is like a department store for the creative (read Berliners) where you can buy! Rolls of cloth (then you can go rent a sewing machine or take a class at Nähinstitut, is there a sewing Renaissance on that has escaped me?); lengths of rope and string in materials as far ranging as neon plastic; boxes made from paper, tin and plastic; papers; paints; gouache; wooden life drawing models. It’s awesome, not as in dude! (okay, maybe a little bit) but as in extremely impressive – 3 floors of extremely impressive.
I spent about 4 hours combined in Coledampf’s & Companies and Planet Modulor on a striking and sunny saturday because it was that tempting and I couldn’t resist. Imagine what a haven this will be when the snow sets in?
Oh, last thing – they offer cooking classes. Next ones up are: Cooking Tours, Andalusia (€59, 8th Nov); Berlin Cuisine (€59, 10th Nov); Basic Fine Sauces (€79 15th Nov). For a complete listing go to www.kochlust-berlin.de.
Let me say it one more time: I love Berlin with an extended refrain of ‘how great is this city?’.
Coledampf’s & Companies
Monday – Friday from 9:00 to 20:00
Saturday 9:00 to 18:00