Its looks don’t disappoint. Kochhaus has a wonderful round fronted corner site, with large windows all the way around. The palette is black and beige with fun clusters of table lights poking out of the ceiling and walls.
I made the most of the sunny bar and ordered a lentil soup (€3.90 for about 1/2 a kg’s worth) it was nice enough, although heavy on the vinegar. They were doing a roaring trade while I was there, most people seemed to be shopping for two.
I must admit to being surprised to find something like this in Berlin. It’s so slick, thoroughly thought out and branded. Normally things that open up here are more “this is my first venture on my own and I am still working out the merchandising, service, and am only open from 11am to 6pm on Tuesdays – Fridays.” No, Kochhaus is something I would expect to come across in London. In fact there was something along those lines in one of the train stations, where you would buy all the ingredients raw and then make it yourself at home. It went bankrupt pretty quickly, probably because it’s easy and cheap to eat out in London (Hello Wagamama for a tenner?) or pick up some pretty decent ready or almost ready meal at Marks & Spencer or Waitrose.
Once I got over my initial snide thought that this place is aimed at lamo’s who can’t cook and need a significant amount of hand holding with every foray into the kitchen – it occurred to me that this is actually a very good addition to the current scene. Mainly because if you want to cook anything other than pork with potatoes or knödel, picking up your ingredients can turn into a monster sourcing expedition. You have to find a butcher, a green grocer that carries soft herbs, even celery seems hard to come by sometimes! So Kochhaus resolves to do it all for you, for a price.
In the spirit of experimentation, I bought the beef fillet with Port sauce spinach and grilled potatoes for two, it cost €19.60. Yowsers! The only ingredient of note in there are the beef fillets, everything else adds up to maximum €1.50. The beef looks nicely marbled but the package gave me no indication of provenance or if it is organic (doubt that it is). Still, it’s cheaper than eating the equivalent of that in a restaurant.
I don’t expect that I will be getting my dinner there again any time soon because it’s just not me but I like that this place is here. (Although I may be tempted to order online because, hallelujah they deliver!) I am hoping it might inspire some of the supermarkets to pick up their game a bit, mix things up – you know, stock some lamb cutlets once a month.
Kochhaus are due to open another branch in Prenzlauer Berg and they offer cooking courses.
Acacia Street 1
10823 Berlin Schöneberg
Tel: 030 577 089 100
Mon-Fri: 10.00 – 21.00
Sat: 9.00 – 20.00