Small is the New Big


Berlin is booming. Berlin is one great big giant construction site. New apartment buildings are shooting out of the ground on every corner, one investor is overbidding the next one. Everyone is murmuring the g-word. And every once in while, when we take the time to really look, in all this explosive expansion-madness we find a little treasure. A valuable little gem with history and character. Like the Musikbrauerei in our direct neighbourhood in Prenzlauer Berg. Surrounded by homogenous town houses, this 120-year old brick building is evidence from another time. The catacomb-like rooms of the former brewery are raw, undecorated, without frills, naked. This makes it the perfect location for the concert of the ensemble mini on June 10th. The mini orchestra, comprised of 20 musicians, opens reduced, minimalistic perspectives on classical music. Great symphonies don’t have to be bombastic and expensive in order to sound good. This principle, established by Arnold Schönberg 100 years ago, is being carried on by the young British conductor Joolz Gale with his ensemble mini. Young musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker dare to confront slimmed versions of opulent compositions – without distorting the essence of the creation. On June 9th they will be playing an influential symphony in intimate surroundings: Mahlers tenth. This last, unfinished symphony is a very personal piece and, in a way, builds a bridge to the situation of the Musibrauerei, which stands tall while modern architecture tries to overrun it. While writing his tenth in 1910, Gustav Mahler found out about his wife’s affair with the architect Walter Gropius, which plunged him into a deep crisis and strongly influenced his further work. His desperation was reflected in his oeuvre. What remains is a creation full of expression and strength, as if made for this place. As they say: „Where there is song, you can safely stay…”. And that’s what we’ll do.
Late Night Konzert: Mahler 10, ensemble mini |  June 9th from 10 pm | Musikbrauerei Berlin | Tickets for 20 € (incl. beer) or 15 € (reduced)

Chez Maurice


We were having dinner at our favourite restaurant right around the corner in Bötzowstraße 39. A middle-aged lady in a colourful suit – also a regular guest, like us – was sitting at the table next to us with her companion. They were having an animated every day conversation while we were intensely studying the minimalistic menu of Chez Maurice. Minimalistic meaning that, besides appetizers such as tuna tartar in asparagus emulsion, onion soup au gratin or warm goat’s cheese, there are only 6 dishes you can order. There’s beef, fish, two creations from white meat and a vegetarian dish. As well as the all-time favourite black pudding with apple slices glazed in thyme caramel, onion jam and mashed potatoes. The lunch menu even includes an inexpensive two or three course meal with seasonal ingredients fresh from the market. There’s really no point in stressing yourself to order the right dish – they are all cooked to perfection, beautifully composed, gloriously simple and yet so refined.  Chez Maurice was originally a wine and delicatessen shop when it opened in 1997 to offer imported wines from small French vineyards at reasonable prices. In the meantime, the dining area has grown a bit, but the nostalgic décor is still covered in wine bottles – no trends, no chichi, but a whole lot of substance. The atmosphere reminds us more of a meal with friends in a not-so-hyped Parisian district than of visiting a restaurant in the traffic-calmed area of Prenzlauer Berg. This is how it’s done! In the end, the good food, phenomenal wines and the perfect evening have made us feel full and happy. The lady from the next table apparently feels the same. She takes her leave with an elated “bye-BYE!” directed at everyone in the room. After a few minutes, she comes rushing back in. She’s forgotten something. Some documents she had had locked away in the counter. It happens. She has a good laugh about her own forgetfulness and waves cheerfully, before she gets into the black Audi waiting in front of the door. No bodyguards, no hype, no stress – just “Maurice”, Angela Merkel and really good food. We’ll be back.
Chez Maurice | Bötzowstraße 39, 10407 Berlin | open daily 6-11 pm, lunch special: Tue-Fri 12-3.30 pm, Sat 12-3 pm |

Kategorien: Places | Autor: | Datum: 18. Mai 2016 | Tags: , , , , Keine Kommentare