self-consciously creative city such as Berlin was never going to ignore the
urban trend of innovative dining concepts, especially given its burgeoning
restaurant scene and associated foodie culture. On the contrary, it’s been
difficult to move sometimes for clandestine
supper clubs, pop
up bakeries and revitalised market
But none of
the city’s innovative concepts quite match the grandiose ambitions of Pret-a-Diner, a dining
experience that brings together Michelin-quality food with high-end
contemporary art and live entertainment in unique locations.
was formed in 2011 by Berlin-based catering company Kofler & Kompanie; and though
it has bounced around Europe a bit since then – making appearances in Frankfurt,
London, Munich and Monaco – its real home is Berlin, where it comes home to
roost regularly, occupying abandoned
coin mints, roller-skating rinks or secret riverside locations.
current incarnation, which has just been extended until 9 March, is based in
the Opernwerkstätten, an
abandoned props factory whose Berghain-esque dimensions lend it
a quintessentially Berlin air. In one vast room, contemporary artworks by
former street artists including Iceland’s Katrin Fridriks
and local legend XOOOOX are hung on the venue’s distressed concrete
walls, while the live entertainment ranges from electronic and beat box DJs to
real stars of the show are the chefs Michael Kempf, of Facil restaurant fame, and Matthias Schmidt,
who just received his second Michelin star at Frankfurt’s Villa Merton Restaurant.
Their specially concocted menu, named Backstage, is served in the main room, where
the centrepiece is a bar piled high with scaffolding that serves cocktails in
sealed bags with rubber ducks floating inside.
aside, the food is delicious and often novel – then again, for around 60 euros,
it should be. The three-course menu features one regular dish, a 20oz fillet
steak, in addition to such changing concoctions as ox-cheek paired with cod. While
not perhaps the kind of evening you’d do regularly, Pret-a-Diner works hard to
impress its guests and, for the most part, manages to achieve that goal.
Paul Sullivan is the
Berlin Localite for BBC Travel. He also runs/writes slowtravelberlin.com