Café, restaurant, aperitivo bar and cinema: MINI (Italian but at the same time “Berliner”) is the place to go, no matter what the hour
Lard and mushrooms, truffle butter, parmigiano and gunciale, gorgonzola and almonds. It is barely 4 p.m. and you have been reading only the bruschettas’ toppings on the menu when your mouth starts watering. At that point, to keep on reading the rest of the menu would only mean hurting yourself. Still 3 hours to go before dinner time and it is not even the right time to eat, but it doesn’t matter: duty calls. And so, let’s read on: homemade wheat flour burned ravioli with radicchio and mascarpone, caserecce (a type of pasta) with artichokes and pecorino cheese, duck ragout tagliatelle, buckwheat gnocchi with taleggio cheese and mushrooms, homemade pulled pork with baked potatoes, cauliflower flan served with milk bagnacauda, burrata with figs and roasted tomatoes served with homemade focaccia. In case you were wondering, we are at MINI – Wine, food, and Cult movies: restaurant, café and event located in Kreuzberg. The managers are Italian, Daniele (from Mantua) and Elena (from Milan). They have decided to create a small point of reference for those who love good food and nights with music and movies.
Read this article in Italian by clicking here.
From Lombardy to Berlin
“In Italy we used to cater for musical events, but we needed a change” reveals Elena. “Even though I was born and raised in Milan, my mother is originally from Chiavenna (province of Sondrio) and this is where I used to spend my weekends and summers, among these beautiful green areas. I fell in love with Berlin on one field trip, cycling around, just a few kilometres away from the city centre. Here I found a lake surrounded by a wood: the Schlachtensee. Not to mention when I saw a fox crossing the street…I think that the atmosphere here in Berlin is different from the one in any other European city. This is why I feel home here, even though I have been struggling with German since when I arrived in 2013”. Daniele had come to Berlin to visit a friend and then he decided to stay “indefinitely”, especially after meeting Elena.
“In Milan, I took a course for sommelier and I started working as bartender. This was my very first job in Berlin and in the meantime, I tried to save some time to study German. Nevertheless, we soon started to feel the need to create something ours: working in gastronomy breaks your back in any case, so you might as well do your best and start your own business. We started by hosting at our place “public viewings” followed by theme dinners, until after much searching we found the perfect location to open our place. It is MINI in name and in essence, but it is exactly what we were looking for. We decorated it paying attention to every single detail and, since when we opened in February 2018, we are taking care every day of what we offer to our clients. And we are hopeful they appreciate this.”
MINI to eat
“Our menu changes every 2-3 days and there are no permanent dishes” explains Elena. “The only exception is the homemade porchetta. The meat (back of pig) is delivered here by a distributor of trust in Brandenburg and I personally prepare it and cook it, right here at the restaurant. We try to make everything by ourselves, starting from bread and focaccia. The only foods we offer, which are not made by us, are sardines and foie gras de mer, and only because it would be crazy to do that. The type of cousine we offer is the typical cousine from northen of Italy, with some elements from Tuscany and Liguria, such as farinata di ceci (a special type of chickpeas flour pie), ribollita (a soup made with bread and vegetables) or testaroli. We get the ingredients by our distributors of trust or we import them ourselves from Italy: every time I come back from Milan, I pack the slinzega, a particular and tastier type of Bresaola.
Daniele, on the other hand, takes with him from Italy the mustard made by his mother. “This is not the only help we get from my mother: from time to time she recommends a recipe, such as cauliflower flan. Our wines come directly from Italy as well, including Valpolicella and Amarone from Veneto and also Barbera and Grignolino from Piemonte and much more. The bottles can be even bought to take away and we are planning to sell very soon bulk wine too, using the “bag in box” technique. We are really proud of Ginrosa, a product we sell which is a bitter aperitif drink originally made at the end of XIX century in the homonymous historical bar in Milan. We are the only ones in the entire Germany who have it. It is served shaken, with an orange zest.”
MINI to see, to watch and to listen
“We are both obsessed with movies and that is the reason why we created those Mini Supper Clubs. On Tuesdays the restaurant is closed so, once a month, we organise public viewings with dinners and the menus are all inspired by the movies we screen. These movies are the typical pop-culture movies from ‘80s and ’90 such as “the big Lebowski” or “The Goonies”.
The dinner (reservation mandatory) includes generally 4-5 courses, a welcoming drink, wine and an after-meal drink and it costs 40€ more or less. But there’s more: on some Saturdays we organise aperitivo nights with live music and Spritz for 3,5€ while, on Sundays, our brunch includes a hot meal and some sweet tastings for 10€. The Italian touch is given by the Mimosa drink (spumante wine and orange juice), for only 3€. During Christmas time we try to bring to Berlin the the “Oh bej! Oh bej!” craft market tradition from Milan (“Oh bej!” means in Italian “how nice!”). This year the market will take place from 7th to 9th December 2018”.
Mini – Wine, Food & Cult movies
Translation edited by Euridice Comuzzi