EXPERIMENTAL POP-UP CONCEPT
EXPERIMENTAL POP-UP CONCEPT
Three foodies mix delicious ingredients, pop-up locations and surprise menus. Why? Discover Rollin Restaurant.
In big cities like Berlin supper clubs open – with more or less fuss – about every now and then. But since the passionate fans of Berlin’s Rollin Restaurant are food bloggers and culinary aficionados and facing the news that the pop-up restaurant makes a guest appearance at the Supperclub Summit in London, LOCALSPOTTER couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk to one of the founders.
Rollin Restaurant’s motto is: Come to places you don’t know, to eat food you haven’t ordered, together with people you have never seen before. This promise it WYSIWYG – the pop-up restaurant’s location, new at every time, is revealed 24 hours in advance, the crew offers a surprise menu and the guests might only know the person they are bringing. Booking is exclusively done online, strictly ”first come, first served” with tickets usually selling out within 24 hours.
Rollin Restaurant founders are Paul Fritze, Björn Schmidt and Paul Nonnenmacher. We spoke with Paul Fritze, an avid networker, event manager by training, highly present on social media and an author of a food and travel blog.
Paul, why does a food aficionado feel the urge to cook in an unfamiliar kitchen instead of, say, throwing a big dinner party for his friends?
But it’s exactly what we’re doing, throwing dinner parties for our friends! The initial need was the search for more space and the wish to offer our guests an experience they’ve never had before – dinner at a place they wouldn’t normally go to. So we started small, with a few friends and a 5-course to 10-course meal. Then we thought: we can use a fancy name and host more people! And since Björn, Paul and I are good networkers we’ve invited fellow food bloggers and Berlin friends to a fabulous dinner. Afterwards, the guests started asking, “When will you be hosting this the next time?” It wasn’t even planned! But we then knew we had fun doing it, we had menu ideas and we had great potential locations.
Are there chefs who are particularly inspiring to you?
René Redzepi (Noma, Copenhagen) is simply genius. It would be beyond amazing to have the chance to cook with him. Grant Achatz (Alinea, Chicago). Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck, Bray). Interestingly, all three have been trained in molecular gastronomy but don’t rely to this knowledge only. They pursue a culinary approach one could maybe call “nerdy” – look where the food came from, what was growing on the ground next to it or what has an animal fed on. What’s good together in nature must be good together on your plate. What if I tell you that chanterelles are perfect with blueberries because they share the ground? Actually, blueberries are a great company for herring as well. That’s pretty amazing. Nerdy, as I said. [laughs]
And how have you guys learned cooking?
We’re just really into it. We enjoy cooking very much. Björn, the Swede in our team, always looks out for something new that he hasn’t tried before. No molecular gastronomy though. We prefer re-discovering old cooking methods: pickling, smoking, steaming, salting. We shop basic foods only.
Is there some dream location for the Rollin Restaurant, like an exotic beach or a distant city?
We’re actually really happy with what Berlin’s got to offer. And we’re totally excited to be in London this year (editor’s note: check the links section below for details). Plus: it’s really our hobby, we don’t make money with it, so an exotic location’s only feasible if sponsored. We work at the same company, Audible, and the Rolling Restaurant is our shared hobby.
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If a Berlin visitor asked you for the city’s best bakery, weekly market, steak house, elegant restaurant and bar, what would you advise?
Bakery: SoLuna, Gneisenaustrasse 58, offers the best sour dough bread ever. Weekly market: Winterfeldmarkt (winterfeldt-markt.de), you have to look for farmers’ stalls as opposed to some wholesale companies but then it’s totally worth it.
Steak house: Bebe Rebozo, Heidestraße 54 – has no website, only a Facebook fanpage with a mobile number and the entrance is tricky to find at first. The menu is very interesting – just a selection of fabulous steaks, oysters and for dessert: crème brulée.
Fine restaurant: Katz Orange, Bergstrasse 22, absolutely outstanding – run by the former Tim Raue sous-chefs.
Bar: Stagger Lee, Nollendorffstr. 27—this bar is definitely among Germany’s top five bars; I’d say the second best – after Le Lion in Hamburg. It offers the best drinks in town and the saloon/salon inspired style, this is the parting of the ways: saloon or salon, but anyway it’s amazing, not from this Earth.
These are fabulous for a culinary trip off the beaten path, thank you! Speaking of which: do you think we still have “insider’s tips” in the age of web 2.0?
Everything that’s not online is an insider’s tip I think. Until the day the happy guests start tweeting, posting, reviewing it on Qype – you name it. You could of course artificially suppress this just for the sake of keeping it secret but why should you?
If you could have a dream list of people for a dinner night, whom would you pick?
[Pause] I can’t and I won’t answer to this one, no way! It’s impossible. I might have said it would be family – my dad, my girlfriend, my sister. Or I might pick the favourite chefs. But then, how do I seat them? No, I can’t pick three people. A perfect dinner is not just a menu and a bunch of guests. You have to take care of everything: place the table talk, check the music, plan the decorations, select the guests… Whenever a dinner is perfectly nonchalant and amazing I assure you: somebody has planned it A to Z! [laughs]
Londoners, there might be tickets left: Edible Experiences
Berliners, find out the next events at the Rollin Restaurant homepage.
Paul’s Food Blog (German)
Björn’s Food Blog – Two Scandinavians in Berlin
—by Nath Fedorova
Photos: Sebastian Lang; Michael Treutler