A Dutch Bistrofication of Berlin
Claim to fame: A Dutch take on urban Berlin bistro-cooking
Reason to go: The best bitterballen outside of Holland
To look out for: Buy one of Lode’s leftover loaves of bread and eat it for breakfast the next day
It was love and German girlfriends that lured Lode van Zuylen and Stijn Remi to Berlin, but it was the love of cooking together that kept them in this creative capital. In 2016, after having worked several years in the Markthalle Neun (Lode as baker at Sironis, Stijn as chef at Big Stuff BBQ), the Dutch culinary duo decided to team up and open their own eatery in Kreuzberg where they now welcome diners to their refurbished restaurant, serving fine cuisine with a relaxed slant.
Located directly off the canal, the venue merges both contemporary Dutch- and Scandinavian design elements while charming its guest with beautiful, warm colors and an open kitchen. Positioned right at the upper end of the modern bistro scale, just beneath where fine dining starts, Lode & Stijn offers a dining experience that mixes innovative takes on bistro classics. Take for instance the coarsely chopped, breathtakingly delicious beef tartare that is served on toasted sourdough bread with a sauce of romaine salad and mussels. Dutch staples such as bitterballen are so perfectly crisp and pleasurable that I question the existence of a better version, even in Holland. The aforementioned, sublime sourdough bread counts as one of the best items on the menu, much thanks to Lode’s substantial baking experience from places like Tartine Bakery and Sironi. Working with the region’s finest produce as well as choice purveyors from select European places enables them to serve dishes like dried, Dutch “Ruthje” tomatoes with sheep’s cheese and cold tomato consommé, and smoked mackerel with crumbled blood sausage and potato salad. Both dishes allow the ingredients to shine and are guaranteed to make you forget all worldly problems.
While Lode is in charge of the kitchen, Stijn takes care of the front of house and is also the establishment’s sommelier, his small but fine selection of bottles focuses on natural wines from the old world. The service is very attentive yet Berlin-relaxed and in case you don’t manage to snag a reservation, you can always drop in for a few snacks and some wine at the bar. Although Lode & Stijn’s opening was hugely hyped, these two chefs have not only managed to deliver from day one, they significantly improved their cooking during the first months of the restaurant’s existence. Though we believe the best is yet to come here.