Pâtisserie meets Bar with a Big Explosion in your Mouth
I met Julian last Sunday at the summer festival of Chicago Williamy BBQs and he told me about his new project. I knew Julian Kunzmann already from the Limonadier, then met him at the bar Lost in Grub Street again, and then he disappeared towards Stuttgart. Now he is back in Berlin and bartender in the new team of the CODA Dessert Bar.
Dessert bar is a concept I did not know about before, but spontaneously very sweet drinks came to my mind. Far from it, the desserts are no sweets or afters, they are creations of pastry chef René Frank, who has managed the Pâtisserie department of the Michelin three-star restaurant “la vie” in Osnabrück. Now, in Berlin his desserts meet their matching drinks. What is used in the fine art of patisserie can now also be used for the bar. Technical equipment ranging from Sous-Vide to molecular techniques, nitrogen, I mean everything the heart of a bartender desires, is available in the large open kitchen and ready to get the best out of the flavours from the ingredients.
Measure, scale, swizzle, spray and use filigree spoons to taste, but the music of the shaker remains.
I do not have to mention that the products they use are of high quality. Seasonal products and their level of maturity provide the sweetness without adding artificial flavors and industrial products.
My mouth is starting to water again while wiriting these words. But I will start from the beginning. Only occasionally I am visiting Neukölln and when I got off the tube at the Herrmannplatz I already felt the raw charme of this district. Turn right and then left and then you will find yourself in Friedelstraße 47. Officially the bar wasn’t open but therefor I am the Barstalker ;). When I entered the door I found myself in a elegant bar with a view in an open kitchen. The walls are dark blue and the shelves stocked with decent uniform glasses and bottles. Neither the backboard nor the menu reveal something about brands and manufacturers. The spirits lined up in the same dark bottles. You can be sure of the high quality and carefully selected range of the spirits by Julian. When questioned you get of course the name of the brands, it is not a secret but rather a philosophy. As I slowly sat down on the elegant bar stool and placed my arms on the beautiful wood, I already knew that the evening could be longer than expected. I felt good comfy and in good hands. There are 12 seats at the bar and another 24 seats at the tables. The different wooden chairs and the different materials of the table surfaces give the room something casual. Untreated wood and limestone will bear the marks of the guests over time. There are no coasters for chilled drinks and melt water is slowly absorbed by the surface.
Elegance meets trashy Rock ‘n’ Roll.
After all we are in Neukölln and not in Mitte, where I would have expected more likely a bar like this. Oliver Bischoff, the partner of René Frank is actually responsible for the design. Dark blue, a bright kitchen, discreet lights, elegant and intimate interior I would say. Brightness you will find in the bathroom. If you have locked the door you will find yourself in a unisex toilet. The background music in the bar is much more present and the atmosphere is very relaxing. Somehow an own world and therefore also worth to mention it at this point.
Now for the drinks. The menu is black, the pages can easily be replaced, the three main ingredients are listed, as it is known from an award-winning restaurant. Menu is easy to understand, there are “single dishes”, means only one dessert à la carte, which can be ordered alone or with the pairing drink. The “combination of two” or “combination of three” is a “flight” of several desserts served with or without their pairing drinks. You will find also a list of cocktails and a selection of Sake. As bar food you will find homemade pralines waiting in their own humidor to be eaten. Indeed a difficult decision for a first visit. I opted for the dessert with kiwi, spelled grass, raspberry, and the corresponding drink with grape, walnut and algae. The presentation of the desserts is puristic and experienced. The golden cutlery was placed on a thick black napkin. The drink is served in a simple water glass. A water service is right there when you find your seat at the bar. The water is served in a dark classy glass with a bottle for refill.
What I really like is the subtle contrast between elegance and looseness, which is also reflected in the hospitality. The dessert will be described when it is served as well as the drink and then it is time to make your own experiences. Then you really know what is most important and you can feel the concept. The eye is soothed by the interior, but the nose and the palate will get what they are made for.
The first thing that catched my eye on the cocktail menu were the beet root and the liquorice. This drink was based on cachaça including raspberry, licorice, lime and egg white. Perfectly balanced, the lime reduces the mostly unloved earthiness of the beet root, the raspberry supports with lovely sweetness and leaves in the departure a fine liquorice tone. Great combination.
Actually this was enough for a first visit, but I was curious what an eggplant is doing in the dessert menu? Well, together with a pecan nut ice cream, apple balsamico and liquorice salt, the combination was a big pleasure. The Sherry drink supported the dessert perfectly and I had to control myself not to lick the plate at the end.
The desserts are by themselves fantastic but together with the drinks it is a really unique experience. As I skipped the dinner for today there was room for another good-night-dessert-drink. For me feeling home is always connected with earthy notes. A nice peaty single malt means home, full of warmth and security, and here you will find the whisky together with a sparkling Lambrusco. The corresponding dessert contains chocolate cream with charcoal for the smokeyness in the whisky, 70% chocolate, plum and an essence from chicory root. This combination is marvelous.
To help to ease the departure Julian gave me a praline which started to crackle in the mouth. I like the contrast of fine chocolate with a cheeky wink. A really well thought-out concept. By the way the name of the bar comes from the musical language. CODA describes the soft end of a composition, as the dessert is the end of a menu and this bar may be the end of an outstanding evening.
A few pictures and a look at the menu in advance as a sort of “appetizer”.
The official opening is on 10th of August.