Cookies Cream, the vegetarian restaurant that had accompanied the club in Mitte for a while, already made quite a name for itself as one of the fanciest spots to eat out in Berlin. What about Crackers, the new in-house project which is decidedly not vegetarian or vegan?
The concept of the restaurant is fairly easy to grasp: it’s fancy, but not out of bounds. It’s the parallel non-veggie restaurant with a far bigger vibe, although there’s still plenty of intimacy. All in all, the whole spirit is to engage with others. It’s as close as you can get to dining on a dance floor, which doesn’t surprise – after all, the venue used to be the legendary Cookies club, now re-built into a restaurant. Mitte is finally grown up, with no trace of the debauchery past.
The bar in the back already waits for the first patrons to switch from dessert to drinks, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, DJs heat up the place until people start dancing on the tables. In theory.
As for the food: everything we’d ordered was prepared to perfection, and although the meals were easy to understand (no frills, no ornaments – I appreciate it!) and delightful to look at, they were not reduced in complexity. In fact, my steak was so on point, I wouldn’t have had it any other way; so was the Ceviche we had as entrée and the glorious dessert, for which I’d gladly return everyday, a hazelnut paste on a golden spoon or: a fancy way of eating Nutella.
Crackers was hyped before it was even opened, but the restaurant definitely delivers. It’s a recommendation for a special evening that may or may not turn into a wasted, drunk night out; or a tipp if you’re trying to take your friends from abroad (i.e. not Berlin) out to a very unique environment with a modern, classic culinary menu.
That being said, the atmosphere and the crowd it caters to is pretty homogenous. It’s an upper middle-class restaurant, neither fine dining nor comfort-food, which means it attracts mostly after work patrons, tourists and people who’ve worked in a start up for the past 10 years. Although it’s good in theory, the practicality of Crackers feels a bit alienating. I can well imagine that a restaurant like this will have a hard time to form real character – or a real community. The food is way too standard (which is not to say that it’s bad1) to become a franchise in Berlin, and so is the setting and the vibe. Unlike the Cookies club and the Cookies & Cream restaurant, two institutions that set the tone for the rest of the city to follow, Crackers can’t compete with the big names (such as Grill Royal or Borchardts) in terms of Fine Dining, but also doesn’t seem convincing to those who like to treat themselves to the occasional night-out.