Berlin Vol 5.2: karaoke, wine and lots of food

Sunday 9th April 2017

After a bit of a lie-in, we headed back to Kreuzberg to have a second attempt at getting doughnuts at Brammibal’s. We arrived much earlier this time (at about midday) – I’m not sure we could have handled them being sold out again – and found plenty of doughnuts waiting for us. Since this was our second attempt, we decided to get more than just one doughnut each, so we got two boxes of four between us. I went for one that was white chocolate and coconut and another that was hazelnut and salted caramel. I can never pass up on salted caramel. 

None of us were actually particularly hungry at this point so we decided that instead of force feeding ourselves and wasting them, we’d take them with up on our trip up to Prenzlauer Berg. Since this was a Sunday – and the sun was out – we were spending the day in Mauer Park, which is one of my favourite things to do in Berlin. That’s because, on Sundays, not only is there a flea market but there’s a karaoke session from 3pm (weather permitting). This wouldn’t involve me actually singing (there’s not enough alcohol in the world that would give me the guts to do that) but the stone amphitheatre where it is held gets packed out by spectators – both locals and tourists. It’s a bit like the X Factor auditions. Some people are amazing, some are awful and some just really get the crowd going.

Since we would be arriving pretty early we decided to go for lunch first. One of my friends had been to a place called Bun Bao that was within walking distance of the park. I’d seen her pictures and they looked amazing so we decided to head there first.

On arrival, we sat at one of the bright blue tables outside. Annoyingly, it was a lovely day but all the seats were in the shade so we were actually a tad chilly. I ordered a lemonade with pineapple juice and mint and the original ‘One and Only’ bao bun burger (basically a really big bao bun), which came stuffed with pork belly, onions, pickled radish, carrots, cucumber, coriander and roasted peanuts (€7.50). My friends had the vegan and veggie options. We had to wait a while to place our orders. Then we had to wait a while for our drinks. Then we had to wait even longer for our food. We were getting edgy. But everything was absolutely incredible. There are no words to convey how incredible. I’d wait days for another one of those if I had to.

Unfortunately the delay meant that we didn’t arrive in Mauer Park until about 3pm. By this time the amphitheatre was already packed out so we had to forage for a patch of ground to sit on. We’d picked up a beer each on the way for roughly €1 each. We should have bought more – I bought a second from one of the guys with a cool-box who sell beer there and it cost me a whole €3.

Although karaoke starts to get set up at 3pm, the actual singing didn’t start until about 3.30pm. As we were right in the sun and sitting on the ground, we only stayed for a few songs. There was a cute kid singing acapella, an older chap – who was obviously a regular – who got the crowd going with a German version of My Way and a girl who sang some Abba and another who did Queen. At first, I didn’t really have a great view so I couldn’t really see much of what was going on. Then some people moved so I stole their patch of ground, from which I could actually see who was singing.

We cracked out the first of our Brammibal’s doughnuts while we sat there. I had my coconut and white chocolate one. It was nice but admittedly not the strongest flavour and quite bready.

Afterwards, we left the karaoke for the flea market. We wandered around it for a short while and found some matching bracelets to commemorate our trip. Because we’re cool like that.

Bracelets bought, we left Mauer Park and found somewhere close by for some vanilla chai tea lattes and then headed back to our flat. I didn’t mean to nap this time but it was inevitable. I just love a good nap. In fact, I’m increasingly finding it hard to get through the day without one. That night, we planned to go to a bar called the Weineri. I’d been before and was happy to hear the place was still going. Basically, you arrive and pay €2 for a wine glass, then you help yourself to wine throughout the night and, when you leave, you pay what you think is a fair price (they suggest €2-€3 per glass).

My friends had googled vegan restaurants in the area so that we could get dinner first. They found a Vietnamese place called Soy near Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. We didn’t make a reservation and arrived to find several tables filled but thankfully we didn’t have to wait. This was probably the best vegan food I had on my trip.

I’m a noodle girl through and through so I ordered the Bang Canh Hap (€9.50) which consisted of udon noodles with tofu, seitan, “various vegetables” and soy sauce. It was delicious. To be honest, I didn’t really need the seitan and I’ve never been a massive tofu fan – I would have been happy with just the noodles and veggies covered in soy sauce – but I actually didn’t mind the tofu here. Either my tastebuds are developing or this was better than average tofu. I washed it all down with a lovely “minzshake” (€4.30) which was coconut milk mixed with pineapple juice and mint.

Once we’d finished eating, we citymapper-ed how to get to the Weineri. We realised that the bar was actually closer to Rosenthaler Platz than Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. I suddenly remembered I’d made the same mistake on my last visit as well. Admittedly this wasn’t really much of a mistake. It was only a 20 minute walk. Or we could have got the U Bahn. This also wouldn’t take long but would involve a change. Since we were feeling full and super lazy we decided to get an Uber to the bar. I know that’s kinda bad but between the four of us it didn’t cost very much each.

We arrived to find the Weineri relatively busy but were able to grab a table. The place had a buzzy vibe and it felt like we were sitting in a quirky, busy living room. Still, we only stayed for a couple before leaving to head to bed.

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