Barkin Kitchen – The kooks of Berlin cuisine

Barkin Kitchen as featured on indieberlin

A curious name, no doubt. And a mysterious one. To explain, we went to Barkin Kitchen boss Antonio Rilling: unsurprisingly, he’s crazy about his job.

Turns out it’s so you get ‘Bar’ and ‘Kitchen’ into the same name. Two places you want to be. And it’s also ‘barking’ – because they like to get loud and loose every now and again.

But it’s not easy to put into words what’s so special about Barkin Kitchen. Maybe the best way to start is taking a look at the foodies Rilling’s already been mixing with. Once he’d left his role as event manager for FluxBau, he teamed up with chefs Frederik Jagla and Iannis Ritter. Now, whether as caterers, pop-uppers or exclusive dinner club hosts, they’re there for just one thing: to bring people around the table.

Cocktail pairings and a New Year detox

Barkin Kitchen Bild von schön eingedecktem Restaurant / indieBerlinTake for example the Food Pairing Diner at the Gallery Weekend. Eighth stories high in Neu West Berlin, Barkin served up a luxurious five course meal. But instead of your usual wine pairings, each dish came with an accompanying cocktail, giving everything on the plate a complement in the glass.

Meanwhile in September, they took Berlin to Barcelona, working with Spanish chefs to run the two-day pop-up Berlin Abroad. And there’s also the now traditional Detox Dinner every January. After the end-of-year feasting comes the new year’s fasting: in this case, it’s more like an ambitious take on vegetables, herbs and general Vitamin C.

What even is a superfood?

Spending time with Antonio and Frederik together, you realise that it’s no accident they found each other. When I was with them, they were jointly railing against the disconnect between price and value in modern food. Ordinary products get a “superfood” sticker slapped on them, and prices soar; but people won’t pay out for fairly produced, antibiotic-free meat.

Barkin Kitchen Team am Tresen / indieBerlin

Then there are the guests who leap on a filet steak, turning their noses up at a braised lamb neck or cheek, without even knowing how much of the menu they’re missing out on. It’s an educational undertaking that luckily isn’t lost on the more curious punters. You see, Antonio and Frederik share a both passion for quality and a penchant for the unknown, using ingredients that don’t always make it to the fine dining spotlight.

Root vegetables get a chance at glory

It’s this curiosity which gave rise to Barkin Kitchen’s monthly series, each event taking on a different theme. Quince fans had their chance back in November. This month it’s all about root vegetables, little-celebrated Cinderellas that suddenly get their pumpkin carriage to two big events: The Feast – Roots Edition invites you to a raucous night at a long banquet table, while Supper Club – Roots Edition will be more refined affair.

Article by Holger Badura. Translation by Jem Bosatta. Photos by Markus Braumann.

Student small fry, country boy in the big city, with inky fingers and a travel guitar.

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