Coledampf’s & Companies, Kitchen Accessories & Cafe, Kreuzberg

Coledampfs third store (this one with partners) in Berlin, is in Kreuzberg and it is incredible!  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.) Read more of this post

Kochhaus (Shopping by meal), Schöneberg

A friend of mine told me about this place. “You’ll love it! It’s so your thing!”  I wasn’t entirely convinced but it sure was pretty from the images I saw on the internet.

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. Read more of this post


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