WORDS BY TERESA KÖSTER
Exit: Gesundbrunnen, Berlin-Wedding. Just ten minutes on foot, between Humboldthain and industrial buildings, the Berliners can expect an impressive piece of architecture: the Lobe Block – a “brutalistic hanging garden of Babylon”. Dreamed by project initiator Olivia Reynolds and architect Arno Brandlhuber, PAHR is built in the former no man’s land between the bustling parts of Wedding and the Mitte district.
Strong, straight lines define the concrete terrace house, tall windows invite the light and visitors in. The external staircases at the back leads straight into the most diverse cosmos of small labels, start-ups and other companies (the Lobe Block sees itself as an exhibition and studio house in which people live and work), while on the ground floor you enter PAHR. A place you’ll likely want to stay.
Founded by Jessica-Joyce Sidon and Caecilia Baldszus, PAHR is a “restaurant and platform for creative experiences” that opened this September.
PAHR is far more than just a restaurant; while there is quality coffee, weekday lunches and weekend brunch served, the cafeteria and bar is also a place for art exhibitions, video installations, film screenings. You can also expect to see live acoustic sets and a range of workshops here.
There is a clear clear love beyond food, that stems from art, to music and design too. The architecture’s decision is in favour of simple, clear forms and is continued in the furnishing of the large space. Jessi and Caecilia have worked primarily with designers and friends to create the space. The kitchen and heart of the main room is clad in pink marble, the tables come from Tatkraft in Berlin-Reinickendorf, the ceramics on them from R-EH, who are also at home in the Lobe Block. On the wall hang two large-format oil on fake-fur on canvas works by the artist Peter Klare. One is inevitably reminded of Meret Oppenheim’s famous for work “Le déjeuner en fourrure”.
The menu is as well thought-out as everything else. While the finishing touches are still being made, no two days are the same at PAHR; the menu features a daily changing, seasonal and vegetable-focused lunch and everything is put together according to season and availability.
“Our approach is simple. When the two of us aren’t talking about food, drink or travel, we’re dreaming about it – so what if we team up and create a place inspired by our favorite restaurants and most memorable journeys around the world, right here in Wedding?” (Jessica-Joyce Sidon & Caecilia Baldszus of PAHR)
For the café, a couple from Berlin provide the enjoyment: The coffee comes from the Coffee Circle, also located in Wedding, and the baked goods from Kreuzberg, from where the Albatross bakery delivers its popular croissants, bread and co. daily by bicycle. For breakfast, for example, they make delicious early sourdough by Albatross with homemade compote and Kardamom labneh on top.
For lunch and bar food there is targeted cooperation with small producers from the region. Most of the vegetables come from querfeld who sell “ugly fruits”, saying vegetables that are not “beautiful” enough for normal sale, and the meat from Forsthaus Strelitz. The local products are enriched by targeted searched and found specialities from all over the world. With these, the dishes become really special: Golpar from Iran or Za’atar, a spice mixture imported from Israel, are often added and also Labneh can often be found on the menu. The Labneh is homemade by Caecilia and served with e.g. tahin, cardamom or lemon. The result is dishes such as rice noodles, Persian rice with saffron, portobello mushrooms, feta and pumpkin tahi; red cabbage with raw chocolate, potatoes, lemon mayonnaise, cranberries and dill or dill potatoes for a change. Tasty times in promise!