Recently, we got a new restaurant partner in Kreuzberg – the Spanish restaurant „Faro Berlin“. To make sure we know what we are recommending to our guests, we had Spanish food ourselves. Here’s our review of our gourmet experience:
At lunchtime, we enter the restaurant/bar FARO at Schlesische Straße in Kreuzberg. It’s only 10 minutes walking distance from our hostel. As soon as we enter, a nice waiter welcomes us with a Spanish accent and we choose a table. The restaurant is really rustic, cozy and simple at the same time – there is a wooden bar, a comfy sofa lounge and a restaurant area. We sit down and soon after, Kai -the owner of the restaurant- arrives. The drinks menu is big and the Spanish beers and the local Kreuzberg beer are quite tempting. However, as we are here on a business purpose, we order non-alcoholic drinks.
To get a good overview of the choice of food at FARO, we decide to surprise ourselves and let the cooks create something that represents the cuisine of the restaurant. We are actually happy about not having to decide what to order. While we are waiting for our food, the waiter brings us pickled olives, homemade bread and aioli (Spanish garlic dip). The journey of tastes begins. And Kai tells us his story.
Kai founded FARO in September 2013 in the neighborhood “Wranglerkiez”. He sensed that the district missed a Spanish bar with Spanish food because more and more Spanish people are moving to Berlin, especially to the alternative parts of Berlin. Kais connection to Spain comes from his work as a teacher at a Spanish-German school in Berlin. There, he teaches both German and Spanish children and constantly improves his Spanish skills. When Kai opened FARO, he quickly received regular costumers who he already knew from his work at the school.
For Kai, it is very important to bring Berliners and Spanish people together and he says that “Spanish people should feel at home in Berlin”. The German newspaper Die Welt describes FARO as a “home for Berliners and Spanish people” and nominates it “bar of the week” in November 2013 . In fact, at FARO, you really feel like you are in Spain because most of the employees are from Spain and Kai is talking to the cooks mostly in Spanish. Kai tells us about his Andalusian cook Juan whose father was a fisherman and who therefore knows everything about preparing fish and seafood. The cooks at FARO have a lot of freedom as they can try out different things and also cook their own traditional family recipes.
After a short while, the food arrives. At least a part of it. We are having “tapas” which are traditionally shared amongst friends and are eaten bit by bit as a side dish with drinks. First of all, we get a mouth-watering platter with a choice of Spanish ham and cheese. As well, the cook serves us one of his own creations: potato-calamari-salad with caviar and sprouts – a very yummy and fresh piece of art. While we are enjoying the food, Kai tells us where the Spanish custom of eating tapas derives from:
Once upon a time, there was a Spanish king who went on a walk along the beach. After the walk, he felt like having a good beer at the beach. However, sand blew through the air and almost flew into the kingly beer. That’s when a very clever servant got the idea to lay a slice of ham on top of the beer. Like that, the Spanish tradition to eat something small along with the beer or wine (=tapas) developed. Anyhow, that’s one of many legends.
The next small dish arrives – fried eggplant gratinated with cheese in a delicious spicy-sweet sauce. Next comes deer meat in a cross pastry in spicy sauce and prawn in garlic-chilli-oil. We are totally stunned by the delicacies and mixes of tastes. Kai tells us that everything you can prepare freshly is really self-made by the cooks at FARO. For him, fresh ingredients are really important in order to create authentic Spanish flavors. Besides tapas, you can order Tortillas at FARO (Spanish omelet), daily changing lunch dishes for 5 € and a huge choice of cocktails. So, you can either eat yummy lunch or you can sit and chat while having drinks and tapas in the evening. Soon, there will also be Spanish breakfast at FARO – the cooks are currently working on a concept.
Furthermore, there is entertainment at the restaurant: every Tuesday there is live jazz music from international musicians and once a month, FARO hosts a flamenco evening. Also, the games of the World Cup 2014 are going to be screened at the restaurant.
Full and happy, we want to say goodbye to Kai and his team when he stops us and says: „Stop, there’s going to be dessert for you!“. Even though we are more than full, we can’t resist and soon after, we are surprised by a delicious “crema catalana” (Spanish caramelized dessert cream). With an espresso on the side, our happiness is complete.
After our visit at FARO Berlin, we are sure to come back to the restaurant in our private time and to recommend the place to our guests.
from Norma (bloggerin and receptionist at Industriepalast)
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.