How to navigate Berlin's awesome underground supper clubs
Berlin is now home to a thriving and awesome underground supper-club scene, wherein ordinary Berliners (who happen to be able to cook crazy-well) invite a bunch of peeps to a covert location (frequently their home), and lay out a feast for them in exchange for just a little cash (as low as 25€). Wine flows liberally & most hosts come out to the table after dinner w/ a bottle for shots, and to share their insider tips on Berlin
So how do you get in? Well, you gotta be in the know: sign up for the newsletters, then wait/pray for an invite. In order to make sure you score a seat at the best ones, here’s a comprehensive list of the city’s finest home cooking.
Easing Your Way In
Most supper clubs offer only 10-20 highly sought after seats once a month. These options have a permanent space, which means you just may have a shot at nabbing one.
The dual success of Thyme Supper Club and Zuhause led to this cool new Prenzlauer Berg space. It’s one part lunchtime restaurant w/ gut-busting sandwiches (like the Berliner Boa w/ maple-glazed pork belly), and also acts as a weekend supper club locale for regular nights, hosted by the German-Brit couple Thyme, Canadian-Irish hosts Zuhause, and a slew of guest chefs.
Geist im Glas
Brit Aishah Bennett and New Yorker J. Ray Sparks host the awesomeness that is Geist im Glas bar’s Sunday supper clubs. Expat and home cooked flavors run heavy at this international treat, where the menus feature the likes of English bangers & mash, Chinese BBQ braised ribs, and Yorkshire pudding. The weekly meals are open to up to 14 guests, which means it’s likely that you can catch a seat, even if your mailing list skills are lacking.
Head to the homey Neuköln restaurant/café/bar List for a modern take on the Southern German tradition of Brotzeit, a feast of organic sourdough bread, sausages, spreads, cheese, fruits, and cold cuts. The grub is served on unique handmade platters to a communal table of 16 at this monthly feast.
Inside a hidden courtyard off a side street in Kruezberg, this dark, art-covered space looks at first glance like a nightclub. But the avant-garde dishes -- like smoked potato & beet barley or cucumber sorbet w/ pickled gherkins -- by self-taught Chef Kristof Mulack, shout restaurant. Two long communal tables encourage conversation, and the permanent space allows for more regularity in events, making booking a bit easier.
Following Food Trends
Most supper club hosts are passionate foodies who live for the latest & greatest food creations. These spots will give you a little taste of the hottest chow-trends, without standing in that six-hour line at Dominique Ansel’s.
Restaurant consult Cathrin Brandes started Speisenklub Neukölln two years ago, partially for some recon & also to share her love of food. Although she occasionally hosts in her Neukölln flat, Brandes usually occupies unusual locations for her themed menus, such as a vintage store for a Titanic menu or an outdoor courtyard for a Basque BBQ, hosting anywhere from 15 to 50 people.
Former marketing executive Daniel Grothues started his supper club two years ago as a way to try out new recipes and cook for others. Inside his very cool Prenzlauer Berg apartment, his meals cover everything from nostalgic inspirations, like a Lego-themed cake, to top chef recipes, to plays on flavors he tries on travels abroad, such as his take on the Cronut.
Fresh off the heels of their final dinner, the bow tied hosts of RollinRestaurant bring this one-month event. Because Nordic food is so-hot-right-now, go get a taste when this pop-up takes over Mulax every weekend in November w/ their menu of all things smoked, pickled & cured. And these adventurous dudes are likely to cook up another exciting project after the Mulax dinners wrap, too, so if you can’t make it this Autumn, get on their list & stay tuned.
If you want to go into a complete stranger's home and have them make food for you, then the following are just for you...
Metti una sera a cena
One of the oldest supper clubs still running in Berlin, this dinner is hosted by two Italians who work by day as visual artists and designers (they launched the Marc Andersen label) & by night serve cucina Italiana in their Berlin apartment. You can expect updates on Venetian classics -- squid ink, risotto with radicchio, cannoli -- at this bi-monthly event.
New Yorker Deborah Tomassini-Buechner started this event last summer in homage to the flavors she was missing from back home, w/ dishes like seared cod with hazelnut sauce, black truffle custard, and chipotle guacamole. She hosts up to 12 in her Schöneberg home, but really specializes in romantic dinners for two, so if you want to go all out, this is the place to do it. Get on the mailing list stat to book for her upcoming baller truffle dinner.
One of the newest supper clubs to hit the Berlin scene, this dinner launched in late September after being inspired by friends Thyme Supper Club and Fisk & Gröönsaken. Their name is taken from the Finnish word for butter, and you’ll find plenty of it in dishes like Oxtail Celeriac Lasagna and the Finnish Mämmi muffins with vanilla creme, along with wines from Languedoc (FYI, that’s in France). Semi-monthly dinners of five courses are planned for up to 10 diners in their Wedding apartment.
Fisk & Gröönsaken
Husband-wife Jan and Melanie grew up together in a tiny Northwest German town, where they both developed a love for food. This is a real passion project for the couple, who work as a biologist (Jan) and librarian (Melanie) in their “day” jobs. They share their foodie love through semi-monthly five-course dinners, often spiked with ingredients made from their family’s garden, like preserved black walnuts.
Although this supper club’s been on a bit of a hiatus, they are gearing up for a comeback. Run by two gal pals, German-Persian Sophie von Oswald and New Yorker Samantha Garfield, they’ve put on a variety of fun cross-cultural menus in the past -- old-school American w/ bagels, lox & pastrami, and a One Thousand and One Nights-inspired feast w/ slow-cooked duck. Keep your eye on their site to catch news of an upcoming fall dinner.
While Kantstraße over in West Berlin offers some great options for Asian chow, these clubs let you get the insider scope.
Phoebe in Berlin
This French-trained chef could have her own restaurant, and she did in Taipei for more than a decade. But here in Berlin, she’s happy w/ Phoebe in Berlin, her French/Chinese supper club. She cooks several times a month, and you can expect either French classics such as rib eye steak w/ porcinis or traditional Chinese specialties like slow-cooked pork w/ broccoli. Phoebe is also currently at work on a book about Berlin & she’s a bit of a food/travel expert, so make sure to tap into her smarts during an after-dinner drink.
Host Ashlee has already built up a reputation in Berlin as the “Dumpling Diva”, so we know she knows a thing or two when it comes to Chinese eats. Her new supper club, which means “to eat a meal” in her native Chinese, offers a monthly 12-course menu of the flavors of her childhood -- braised pork belly, Chinese dumplings -- for up to 20 peeps.
Outside the Box
Most supper clubs follow a general concept, but these themes branch outside the basic supper club structure into even more awesomeness.
This new-ish club focuses on high-end tea parties. It sounds rather pinky up, but former pastry chef-turned lawyer Astrid Sophie Fleisch is an insanely skilled sweets maker, giving more than enough reason to get your butt to her parties. Pull out your bow tie and think Great Gatsby-type affairs, with fine china and fancy cakes, often hosted in parks, her Wedding apartment, or an upcoming art exhibition.
Tabula Rasa: The Green Vs the Greek
Want a taste of Top Chef-style competition w/ your dinner? Get it at this supper club, which pits hosts Julia and Julia against each other
to claim their name for foodie battles. The resulting three-course meals are judged by the dinners, a variety of both veggie and Greek food (go figure). And 1/3 of the recommended donation goes to charity, which means you get a great meal & you’re doing something good for humanity. Go you.
I Shot the Sheriff
This brand new club is more speakeasy than supper w/ an emphasis on the drinks. From the founder of Speisenklub Neukölln, this event launches in October & promises a menu of mixed shots, like Sour Plum vodka or Green Walnut liqueur w/ honey & cinnamon. The monthly event will be open to up to 30 booze hounds & will follow Speisenklub’s MO, using galleries, shops, and cafés as locales.
We love a rare steak like the next guy, but Berlin’s got a great veggie scene going on, and a supper club is a damn fine way to get a taste. Just... just trust us.
Former DJ Sophia spun her successful blog Oh Sophia into this supper club in 2012, serving up to 40 people her vegetarian/vegan cuisine. The meals also work around playful themes like monochrome colors (red bread w/ dried tomatoes), Herbalized (rosemary crème brulee w/ sweet pesto) & Fake It Easy! (pineapple “fries” w/ raspberry “ketchup”). This Munich transplant regularly spends time back at home and in Vienna, hosting dinners in these cities as well, so keep your eye on her site if you like to supper club while traveling.
There is veggie and then there is raw, and this Kreuzberg supper club is raw. Native German Boris is a US-trained raw chef & he knows how to perfectly not cook a meal. But this isn’t hippie-fueling bean sprouts, no, instead it's innovative dishes like sushi, where parsnip & celery root create a rice-like texture.