Donnerstag, 17. September 2015

Korean Food Stories at Gong Gan

I am an admirer of the fine selection of Asian restaurants from the Western side of the city, especially Kantstrasse, but when it comes to genuine Korean restaurant I was told to rather go on the other side of the Berlin. And, as usual, I take the recommendations of my friends very seriously, but for various reasons, I delayed with putting it into pratice. Only the rain and hunger brought me a couple of days ago at one of the outdoor wooden lego-like tables of the Gong Gan restaurant on Schwedter Str. 2. 
The menu choices are relatively limited with medium prices. It has a breakfast option for around 6 EUR. which includes various European toasts. 
Too late for a toast, I wanted to seriously start the investigation of the state of the art of the Korean food in Berlin with something original. Like the famous Bibimbap, that was brought to me relatively fast, but with metal chopsticks which is not necessarily my choice no.1 in hygienic terms. Warned to 'mix up' the content, I had a look at the ingredients: rice, tofu, shreds of carrots, finely sliced onions, salad, hot sauce, some crest, ruccola (ingredient which I bet is not part of the original recipe). It went out good, with the green leaves balancing the hotness of the sauce. The original bibimbap also has an egg on the top, and various sorts of bean pasta too, and used to be served on the eve of the lunar new year as a mixture of all the leftover found in the house. It is mostly known in the meaty variant. The overall impression was good and healty, but not unforgettable.
What left unforgettable memories to my palate was the gree hot macha tea. Original green tea, served moderatelly hot, sugarless and with that original taste that I only remember from my genuine foodie Japanese adventures. Most probably, from now on I will look for a long time for this taste. 
Design-wise, the place looks from inside as a crowded antiquities shop, but looking for my outdoor bench seems like an interesting place to explore. There is also a lego corner, where I assume is enjoyable for everyone's inner child. The ambiance was pleasant, with nice service and jazz musical background from the 1920s. 
Gong Gan is open daily between 9 and 19 from Monday to Thursday and between 9 and 22 from Friday to Saturday. Although not sure if I will be back soon, at least this restaurant opened the series of what I hope to be many other tasty reviews of Korean food in Berlin.

Mittwoch, 16. September 2015

Berlin has its own museum of architecture

With the beautiful autumn in full bloom, and some vacation days to be completely on my own, I discovered that I don't need to travel too far away to discover new things. All I have to do is to take a metro till, let's say Senefelderplatz, cross the street and go up to the stairs of the whitish buildish with a big written sign: Pfefferberg on it.
In just a couple of seconds I was in a little piazza created on the first open air floor, on the precincts of a former brewery, Pfefferberg, one of the many beer Berlin brands at the beginning of the 20th century. In 2000, the entire complex of building went throgh a radical reconstruction work and turned into a complex made out of different houses with different destinations. In addition to the old brewery, there is also a theatre, an Italian restaurant, architecture bureaus, conference spaces... 
There is also a boutique hostel, Pfefferberg hostel, with 24/7 reception and bar, stucked between the typical brewery reddish buildings. As the complex is one step away from the main street, I suppose that the guests of the hotel can get a lot of silence in the middle of an usually busy part of the city. 
From a house to another, there is a lot to see and to photograph. There are enough many people around, many of them curious tourists - like me.
As usually in Berlin, a bit of green can change everything, especially the serious attitude of the buildings, testimonies of the fast forward industrial revolution from the beginning of the last century. 
In one of the houses, I discover an interesting photo exhibition about the former Red Army locations in East Germany, a project of two Italian artists: Stefano Corso and Dario-Jacopo Lagana. Included as part of the events organised this week for Berlin Art Week, it offers some historical insighs about a historical stage that most probably will be soon forgotten. 
But one of the reasons why I am right now around is that I wanted to visit the one and only Berlin's Museum for Architecture Drawings. Opened in 2013, the builing is bordering the Christinenstrasse side of the complex. When I saw it the first time, I was dramatically surprised, for the clear contrast of volumes and style with the rest of the area. It is made of several blocks of cast raw concrete, in a permanent game of regression and progression, with a glass penthouse on the top reflecting the sky. The relief of the facade gives a certain old air to the ensemble. 
Upon entering the lobby, you feel you are in an old English club, with the wooden panels walls and the many interesting architecture books. The foyer is supposed to function as a library, with two of the four floors used as exhibitional spaces. The rest has the function of offices and archives, the property of Tchoban Foundation who is curating the museum. 
This week, there is still running an exhibition of drawings of American architects, among which Lloys Morgan's Waldorf Astoria, the imaginary worlds of Achilles Rizzoli and some plans by Frank Lloyd Wright. The game between natural and artificial lights creates a special ambiance in the building that can inspire creativity and a much longer stay.
As I am about to leave, I spotted the Swedish group of girls on the opposite corner of the building, that keep doing their own drawings of the construction. Envying them for their talent - and patience too for spending such a beautiful autumn afternoon working their assignments - I promise to return for a new exhibition. After all, it is never too late to return to my own architecture childhood dreams. Berlinl is the city of all possibilities, isn't it?