Hallmann & Klee is located in Rixdorf, an remote corner of Neukölln with the pleasant vibe of a small, German village. The location and its initial incarnation as a breakfast and lunch joint in 2016 with seemingly low ambitions made me stay away until 2018. When I finally did visit (for dinner), it didn’t take long for me to understand that I had been missing out. This wasn’t just the hip breakfast place I had envisioned. No, Hallmann & Klee is a remarkable neighbour restaurant with good vibes lurking around every corner.
“Hallmann & Klee is a remarkable neighbour restaurant with good vibes lurking around every corner.”
You could go as far as calling Hallmann & Klee the ultimate neighbourhood restaurant. You can have breakfast, lunch, coffee and dinner in all its variations. Come for a breakfast bit, stay for a light lunch and stick around for coffee just before you order a proper three-course dinner with a splendid glass of wine. Hallmann & Klee is all of that. Five days a week, this restaurant functions as social and gastronomic focal point of the area around Böhmischer Platz.
“You can have breakfast, lunch, coffee and dinner in all its variations.”
Owner, Sara Hallmann, grew up in Southern Germany working on her uncle’s farm and this shows in every pore of Hallman & Klee. Whereas breakfast and lunch constitute simple and lovely versions of modern, German food (bread/spreads/eggs for breakfast and salad/soup for lunch), it’s really in the evening, when dinner is served, where the gastronomic ambitions of Hallmann & Klee become tangible. A three-course menu is offered as a part of a small but very fine à la carte menu that mixes seasonal fare with bistro classics. Seasonal dishes tend to be more refined, like a plate of spinach with Périgord truffles (also poached egg, butter, whey…sensational!) or seared chicken breast with artichoke cream I had in the winter. Other items, like the steak tartar and french-style steamed mussels, are never taken off the menu and act as a comforting refuge for simple urges that don’t extend towards three courses. Be advised though, pastry chef Nike is a prodigy, responsible not only for a spectacular offering of freshly baked bread and baked goods throughout the day, but really also for spectacular dessert creations on the dinner menu. Thick cream with blackcurrant sorbet, dulce and liquorice-dusted popcorn? A dessert good enough to make it onto the menus of many Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany.
“A dessert good enough to make it onto the menus of many Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany.”
A meal at Hallmann & Klee is a thoroughly enjoyable affair with refined, yet heartwarmingly comforting food. Just really solid and honest cooking. It’s however the staff’s sincere sense of hospitality that push this place from “great” to “exceptional”. Sarah, a trained chef who used to enjoy hiding from guests in the kitchen, has in her roll as restaurant owner of Hallmman & Klee grown into an exceptional restaurant manager. Her utterly disarming and friendly demeanour, along with her very likeable mix of natural and classical wines, can light up the darkest winter night. Hallmann & Klee is a restaurant full of positive, female energy with a very conscious sourcing policy on ingredients. Good food drink served by nice people. And I wish I was living next to it.