After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many new enterprises became accessible to the deprived citizens, and as a result Berlin came to be a complex mix of the different cultures that were allowed to flourish.
After November 1989, many new underground establishments began to open, and a whole new culture started to grow in Berlin. The art scene, nightlife venues and restaurants took over and made Berlin an attractive destination for curious people. This new and trendy culture is seen all over the city, and Berlin went from seeming grey and suppressed to a colourful and appealing place. Many old East Berlin neighbourhoods are now trendy and modern, filled with cafés, bars and street art.
Berlin may be a capital of Europe’s art and clubbing scenes, but when it comes to food, it still lags well behind restaurant-obsessed cities like Paris and London. There are a few standout Michelin-starred restaurants and plenty of cheap kebabs and currywurst stands, but not much in between. In the last few years though, a few ambitious chefs have opened small, modern bistro-style spots that celebrate local organic ingredients. The success of farmer-driven places like Lokal and Little Otik have proven that there is a growing appetite for upscale seasonal comfort food.
What makes Katz Orange especially compelling, beyond its name (which means orange cat in German, and was inspired by the owner’s trip to a Peruvian shaman who owned such an animal), is that it is helmed by the young and ambitious German chef Daniel Finke, who applies his knowledge and skills to both deceptively simple meat dishes and innovative vegetarian ones. The small, well-focused menu, simply printed on brown paper, features about a dozen appetizers and entrees under two categories: seasonal and classics. It’s best to sample from both.
One recent entry on the seasonal side, a raw shaved-broccoli salad, is a love letter to cruciferous vegetables, richly layered with roasted almonds, a sauce of umeboshi (pickled Japanese plums) and an intense broccoli purée. For the restaurant’s signature entree, slow roasted pork, the kitchen uses only the choicest cut of organic pork neck. It is cooked sous vide for 12 hours and then placed under a salamander broiler to create a crunchy caramelized crust. Served with a flurry of seasonal vegetable side dishes like sautéed mushrooms and a ginger cucumber salad, the pork dish has more umami allure than a streetside kebab at Mustafa’s in Kreuzberg.
The interior of the restaurant is far from decadent, but they held back in terms of personal style. Old furniture is mixed with new and the look is completely their own. You’ll see everything from a trendy wall of New Yorker magazine covers to vintage furniture and accessories, and traditional Moroccan pillows.
The colour orange, is seen in our collection in different ways. We’re working with two shades of orange which are the lead colours of the collection. The two types of orange refer to the hope that was in the minds of the German people after the fall of the Wall. The sunlight was seen as a symbol of freedom and happiness when the Berlin Wall was dismantled, and the East Berliners once again saw a future worth fighting for.
These underground places have helped Berliners to find their joint values and sense of national unity again. The restaurants, bars and street art became a means of departure from the past and formed Berlin into the city it is today. Berlin has been through one of the most exciting developments of anywhere in Europe, if not in the whole world. That’s what inspires us the most.