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Travel & Places

TOP 5: GUIDE TO COFFEE IN BERLIN

September 10, 2016

coffe-berlinhappy-baristas-berlinHi guys, Nick here. While I’ve been behind the scenes on many a LedByLucy shoot and watched many great drafts develop from the sidelines this is my first actual solo post (intimidating!). Doing a post on here has always been something Lucy and I would talk about but the right idea never came along until now. Coffee is a huge passion of mine and while I don’t get into it in a geeky way (trust me, I have plenty of other geek moments over other things) I always seek out the best coffee places in new cities we visit and enjoy experiencing quality cups from people who know their craft.

The Berlin Coffee Festival arrived on our doorstep recently and so it seemed like a perfect time for me to jump in and write a post about the coffee shops I love in Berlin. All these places were all reppin’ at the festival and the experience was one which further stoked my passion to seek out great coffee. So, with no further ado, here are my Top 5 Favourite Coffee Shops in Berlin.

1. Silo

Silo is my regular place. I go there almost every weekend and get their amazing flat white or cortado. They use coffee from Fjord Coffee Roasters and the quality is just unbeatable.  I have never had a bad cup in 13 months and I see this as nothing short of small miracle. It’s also a known favorite of super-star DJ Richie Hawtin when he’s in town playing Berghain (which is just around the corner) and they do a super awesome breakfast too.

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2. Five Elephant

Five Elephant is often listed in the top coffee places in Berlin and frequently the best coffee place in Kreuzberg. The cafe is welcoming and the staff really know their stuff – they also speak German and English willingly. They change their blends pretty frequently and always like to talk you through their new products and make recommendations. Tip: The cheesecake here is legendary. Seriously. It’s utterly unreal.

3. Double Eye

This place is an institution. They recently celebrated their 15th Birthday and it’s easy to see why they have been a success for so long. This place is unlike many of the frequnetly touted third wave coffee shops in Berlin with their raw cut, treated wood furnishings and totems to hipster-dom (mounted fixie bike on the wall, anyone?). Double Eye resides in the somewhat sleepy, residential area of Schöneberg yet commands a loyal following from all around Berlin. Tip: Grab their ‘Super Spezial’ – a cortado style small cup with a double shot of coffee sandwiched by normal latte-style foam on the top and super-sweet Vietnamese-style condensed milk underneath.

coffee-festival-berlin

4. Happy Baristas

Happy Baristas is another regular spot for me and sits just beyond Ostkreuz station. The place (which you can see in the first two pictures in this post) is really tastefully-decorated, the food is also pretty awesome. They took part in the Coffee Festival and hosted cuppings (which are kind of like ceremonial tasting sessions), and a special coffee cocktail menu. They also have really friendly staff. Highly recommended.

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5. Father Carpenter’s Coffee Brewers

In a somewhat poetic circularity, this place is very tied to my number 1 choice, Silo. They both use Fjord Coffee Roasters for their brews and have a similar sensibility in great breakfasts and infallible quality. This place is located in Mitte, not too far from Alexanderplatz station and sits within a really beautiful courtyard which they share with another favourite brand of mine, Nudie Jeans. They have a main restaurant and a take away shop if you’re in a rush (warning: it gets busy on a weekend so get there early if you want breakfast).

Edit: Ok, so I had to come back to this post and add one in here. I found this place just as I was finalising the post and it quickly became a favourite weekend spot for me. I was struck by the friendly service and range of beans at Tres Cabezas (http://www.trescabezas.de/) on my first visit. Their regular roasting and variety of coffee has made this place a real point of interest for those who love fresh brews and high quality. In my view it’s not just one thing that makes this place great, it’s the whole package – be sure to try out the freshly baked Portuguese tarts too as they are life-changing.  Me and Lucy first found out about Tres Cabezas from their suppliers at the Berlin Coffee Festival who took us through a cupping of all their brews. They gave us a really insightful and passionate account of what they strive to achieve with their beans and what makes a great cup of coffee and this quality is so apparent when you take your first sip. The owners also opened a place in Mitte called 19grams which serves all their great coffees as well as some delicious-looking breakfasts I can’t wait to try.

coffee-tasting-berlinAs you can see, me and Lucy really enjoyed the festival (it was held at Markthalle Neun – our local food market hall). We got to learn a lot about roasts, what makes a good blend and the way in which roasters and traders judge quality and supply great coffee to our favourite shops. While Lucy didn’t drink any coffee (she did enjoy a good sniff, though) she was similarly enticed by all the aromas and expertise that goes into the perfect cup.

Suggested Post: Five Beautiful Things To Do In Berlin

Travel & Places

Restaurant Review: The Artisan Bistro, Chelsea

July 31, 2016

negroni-food-blogger-oystersartisan-bistro-reviewLedByLucy-Chelsea-Bloggerlucy and nick-malbec-artisanartisan-bistro -lemon-soleledbylucy-food-blogger-chelsea-london

OK, so I am just going to put this out there…this is one of the best meals that Nick and I have ever had. Now, I know that’s a bold statement, but here’s why:

So we are in London, the sun is shining and we walk though beautiful Chelsea past all of the incredible homes with black and white tiled porches and arrive at The Artisan Bistro in high spirits. The staff there make us feel like a king and queen, they really take pride in their work and act like they actually want you to be there (which isn’t always a given – I’m looking at you, Berlin).

The owner has a passion for wines and was keen to share his knowledge with us. He explained that it is imperative that the perfect meal is accompanied with the perfect drink.

I love really dark, smokey and stereo-typically ‘masculine’ cocktails, because of this waiting staff will often bring a round of drinks over and hand mine to Nick! In keeping with this tradition, I tried the owner’s favourite cocktail ‘The Artisan negroni’ and Nick had a glass of Malbec, which he very much enjoyed (as you can see from the picture).

The concept of the menu is to present the finest European dishes, sourced from all corners of Europe for quality. For example the oysters were sourced from Colchester and the lemon-sole came from Irish waters.

I absolutely loved the rock oysters, the lemon sole was gigantic (see picture above) and the chocolate souffle was that delicious that we devoured it without even thinking to take a photograph – oops.

The exceptional level of service is strengthened by the fact that the owner is also the manager and oversees everything in the Bistro, giving it a very personal feel. Next time I am in the UK I would love to go back, it was such a special experience.

Suggested Post: Nhow Berlin Review: A Sunny Lunch Date

Travel & Places

DINNER AT DON GIOVANNI, MANCHESTER

June 22, 2016

Don Giovanni-manchester-review-cocktailDon-Giovanni-blogger-review-ledbylucy-1manchester-food-reviewledbylucy-food-review-manchesterDon Giovanni -fishDon Giovanni- manchester-review

Sophie is my favourite buddy to go for shopping, lunch and cocktails with. We call them our Gossip Girl dates and I miss them so much when I’m away! The general rule of thumb on a Gossip Girl date is that you get dressed up all fancy, order loads of naughty food then go shopping after a cocktail or two and encourage each other to buy extravagant things with words of encouragement like: “you earned it” and “it’s nice to treat yourself from time to time”. You need those kind of days out occasionally, right?

We were invited to try out Don Giovanni in Manchester which recently had a £400k makeover to celebrate its 31st birthday. We were seated in a sunny window booth which was nice and private for catching up, Gossip Girl style.

As it’s an Italian restaurant, we chose an Italian cocktail, the Aperol Spritz, which was gorgeous and so refreshing. To start I chose the caprese (buffalo mozzarella with cherry tomatoes and basil) and Sophie went for the bruschetta Al Funghi (sauteed mushrooms topped with dolce latte cheese). We both had fresh fish for our main which the friendly waiter prepared for us. Finally, for desert Sophie had ice-cream with an espresso shot poured over it (which she adored) and I had strawberries and cream.

I can’t wait for our next Gossip Girl date, but Sophie really needs to start watching Pretty Little Liars so I can sign my texts with -A rather than Gossip Girl xoxo

Suggested Post: Nhow Berlin Review: A Sunny Lunch Date

Travel & Places

THE SHIP TAVERN REVIEW: IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR SHAKESPEARE

March 27, 2016

LedByLucy-English-PubWhenever I’m in London I usually head to the funky bars to find my friends. But after being away from England for so long I was craving traditional taverns and wanted to see scenes of red telephone boxes and cobbled streets a plenty.
Que The Ship Tavern in Holborn which dates back to 1549, is one of London’s oldest pubs and is rumored to have played host to Shakespeare himself. If only the walls could speak, I’m sure they have a few stories to tell.

LedByLucy-Oysters-LondonTheShipTavern-London-ReviewThis place is the opposite of a touristy chain and it oozes original character. Located up a little cobbled street and surrounded by huge buildings, you need to know it is there to find it. With its slanted walls and crooked wooden beams, it looks like something from a Harry Potter film which sprung up out of the ground by magic.
Downstairs the pub was full of jolly locals and suited bankers enjoying tankards of real ale. Upstairs is an intimate dining room with a crackling open fire serving ‘proper’ pub food. Exactly what I wanted.

Here is what I ate from the a la carte menu:

  • Pan-fried halibut, basil mash potato, poached duck egg & blood orange hollandaise
  • Dorset rock oysters, merlot vinegar & shallots
  • Cheese board

london-food-review-LedByLucyledbylucy-london-food-blogThe food does the talking at The Ship Tavern, Everything is clearly made from scratch and is just so tasty! I have cut out refined carbs and refined sugar from my diet, so a lot of pubs are just out of the question for me. But I had ample choice on the menu. If I wasn’t on the diet, I would of totally ordered a pie. They looked soooo good and smelled delicious.

This is the place to go if you are in London and looking for an authentic experience in a traditional pub with delicious food.