Berlin is one of Europe’s most energetic, vibrant, cosmopolitan and creative cities and is the capital and largest city in Germany. It has had a fierce and eventful past and has overcome the challenges of rebuilding itself since unification.
It’s mid-March and there is a distinct feel in the air that Winter is fading away and the Spring season is very much among us.
I arrive at Tegel International Airport in Berlin courtesy of British Airways and the flight was smooth and took approximately one hour and forty-five minutes from Heathrow.
I am getting ready to make my onward journey to the Adlon Kempinski Hotel, one of the finest luxury hotels in Berlin and probably one of the most prestigious addresses in the German capital. This incredible hotel has seen difficult times and was bombed in the war and was only restored to its former glory in 1997.
The hotel has welcomed over the years a collection of dignitaries, politicians and star-studded guests, from the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Albert Einstein and Her Majesty the Queen. It’s no surprise this outstanding hotel is a firm favourite with an array of VIP’s around the world.
I am greeted by my awaiting driver from the concierge department from the Adlon Kempinski Hotel, his name is Miller and he proceeds to take my bag and show me to the waiting, slick, black, Mercedes-Benz limousine.
Miller is amiable and very knowledgeable about Berlin and advises me on all the hotspots I should explore whilst in the city. My transfer from the airport to the hotel was luxury at it’s very best, smooth, serene and seamless.
A very warm welcome is bestowed upon me once I arrive at the Adlon Kempiniski Hotel, the sort of reception reserved for celebrities and global superstars. Once I am in the lobby of the hotel I am greeted by a delightful smile from a graceful lady dressed in a bright red designer suit. Her name is Julia and she is part of a fabulous team known as the “Ladies In Red”. An elite guest relations squad who are there to ensure all Adlon guests are catered for at the highest order from the beginning to the end of their stay.
Julia showed me to my suite and explained everything in a warm and attentive manner about the hotel, it’s history and what I could expect from her and her team in the coming days with regards to service and attention.
My home for the next few days was a dazzling Pariser Platz Suite which is approximately 80sqm and comes with a separate living room and bedroom, Kingsize bed, working desk, flat screen TV, I-Pod docking station, and has a breathtaking view of the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
A complimentary bottle of champagne, an assortment of fine chocolates and an exquisite large fruit platter that could easily feed a small family are appealingly presented in the suite.
The décor and interior design of the suite is gorgeous and is the creation of London’s Ezra Attia Associates and Sweden’s AB Living Designs.
The Pariser Platz Suite is warm in appearance, stylish and inviting. The floor and door borders are made of valuable limestone, whilst the walls and doors are a combination of plush mahogany and cherry furnishings. The bathroom is finished in a black granite, vanities, pale marble, bathroom, bathtub and a separate standalone shower.
A personal safe, well-stocked mini bar, multi-purpose plugs, and PC-access points complete the equipment and accessories within the suite.
I really liked the technical functionality of the suite too as the electronic key card system turns on the lights and air-conditioning when it opens the door. Everything within the suite can be controlled by a simple handheld device making it easy and a pleasure to use.
The Adlon Kempinski Hotel has a fantastic selection of three sublime culinary venues to choose from. They are the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, two Michelin stars, run by the talented Chef Hendrik Otto serving the very best of traditional and modern German dishes.
Restaurant Quarre is a brasserie-style restaurant offering excellent international specialities prepared with regional ingredients. I was fortunate enough to dine at Quarre for lunch and I thoroughly recommend the Königsberger Klopse which is German meatballs in caper sauce, mashed potatoes, beetroots and capers.
And last but not least the blissful Sra Bua by Tim Raue, serving the finest modern pan-Asian cuisine executed with local seasonal produce.
I really enjoyed Sra Bue and thoroughly recommend the dish No sushi, hamachi, tamari which is part of a six-course menu. My waitress Lily who served me at Sra Bua was fantastic with her kind and thoughtful recommendations and fabulous service throughout too. The Sra Bua restaurant Manager Stefan was brilliant and very hospitable during my first class dining experience too.
During my stay at the Adlon Kempinksi Hotel I couldn’t resist the famous culinary trademark of the Adlon-Currywurst. The ingredients are secret but the taste and flavour of this famous Berlin cuisine is a sheer joy and a must try.
That evening my culinary journey continued to the much talked about VOLT restaurant which is headed up by gifted Chef Matthias Gleiss and his team and can be found in an old substation Kreuzberg built in 1928 at the Landwehrkanal. It’s an uber cool eating house with exposed brickwork and hanging lamps with a bright shiny metallic finish. The service throughout the evening was flawless and the menu was superb which is based on regional products serving modern, regional German cuisine.
I went for menu number one, a five-course menu which consisted of the following; Octopus which was marinated, then pan roasted, the Lamb’s Lettuce which was blanched then pureed using butter, onion and apple cider vinegar. Next was the Pheasant and black Salsify, sautéed and braised, followed by the Flat Iron of Beef which was seared then sous vide at 55°C for 50 minutes and for dessert a delicious apple marinated, ice cream with cinnamon, broth, gel, malt crème Brulee. In short, VOLT is definitely one of Berlin’s finest restaurants and the dining experience was nothing but exceptional.