Burger-hungry at Ostkreuz? Fuck McD’s, get a BBB.
Berlin’s burger scene is all grown up. Gone are the frozen patties, and those new-wave hipster half-burger joints that appeared in their wake have all turned vegan and moved to the country. Now, thick, proper, meaty, greasy, but somehow noble burgers have taken their rightful place on the Berlin food-chain, and BBB Berlin is a great edition to Ostkreuz’s burger landscape.
Opened in early 2017, BBB Berlin straddles the corner of Sonntagstasse/Neuebahnhof Strasse, in Ostkreuz’s most desirable restaurant location. Bathed in sunlight, the burger joint spills out onto the street. The man-mentals of Annemirl-Bauer-Platz park peer on hungrily as satisfied diners take tremendous bites of excellent burgers.
The open-plan interior is all industrial and rich, tan leather, mixing US diner with Berlin cocktail chic. The seating is arranged in booths, allowing groups of friends a private intimacy without hiding them from the hustle and bustle of the restaurant’s busy atmosphere. The service is three levels up from the ‘pay up and wait for your number to be called’ burger joint standard. Attentive, professional, welcoming… the whole team are cool dudes and withstand our nonsense with grace.
BBB Berlin can seem like a much fancier restaurant at times but never loses its relaxed, burger joint charm.
It’s all about the beef.
Burgers can be both delicious trash and a gourmet snack, but to truly be a burger they need to have that indescribable burgeriness that we all know and love. Many upmarket burgers miss the trick, but BBB Berlin understand it deeply.
It’s their beef – they use three types of whole beef cuts, which are ground in-house daily. The majority of their meat comes from top-quality entrecôte, which they mix with other cuts chosen for their flavour and fat content. This fat is essential for the taste, texture and caramelised sweetness of the beef patty, and is an ingredient that’s often overlooked, especially in the yuppier circles.
BBB Berlin’s beef could be used to make high-end steaks, but that they use it to make burgers is sublime overkill.
We choose the ‘Butcher’s Burger’, served with smoked bacon, rucola and a red wine/caramelised onion jam and the ‘The Sainte’, another beefy burger that’s topped with Sainte-Maure de Touraine goat’s cheese, a mustard aioli and fig jam. You can tell by reading these ingredients that the BBB guys’ve invested some time in their burger menu – especially when you consider all sauces and jams are, like the patties, homemade.
Whilst loaded with toppings, BBB Berlin manages to keep the beef patties the stars of their burgers – through the meat they choose and the fact they’re unafraid of seasoning. Rare in Berlin, you can also choose how you’d like your patty cooked. Well-done (obviously).
BBB Berlin offers more than is expected.
Aside from their burgers, BBB Berlin also offers a strangely full menu of alternatives, ranging from herring fillets to a vegan stew. We order a selection of side dishes to accompany our burgers and are surprised to find that they often outshine BBB’s main offerings.
Take these breaded and deep-fried green beans, for example. The result of a kitchen experiment that even BBB’s chefs admit they’re surprised at how well they turned out. Crispy, savoury, seasoned with spices and served with a chipotle aioli for dipping… green beans might just be the new Süßkartoffel Pommes.
Their sweet chili and sesame hot wings are more of a return to normal burger joint fare, but with style. And these winged dudes are sweet, spicy and with a delectable fried crunch.
Back out in the left-field, BBB Berlin also make a decent hummus. This smoked aubergine dish, accompanied by hummus, a tomato salsa and flatbreads for dipping, is rich, nutty, and 100% not a standard burger joint side dish.
But… did we get drunk?
That’s a good question, and we were getting worried when our gracious hosts offered us water (sparkling and otherwise). But don’t worry, gentle reader, for it also transpires that BBB Berlin has a shit-hot cocktail maker on staff.
Their Cold Turkey cocktail has a frankly hilarious ingredients list: bourbon, Aperol, Kahlua, maple syrup and lemon, yet they manage to balance out these disparate flavours into a drink that is at first pretty harsh and boozy, but then works itself out to being refined and gentlemanly.
Okay, this review’s been a bit too glowing so far. For objectivity it’s worth saying that BBB’s burgers aren’t 5€ burgers. That ship has sailed. Although they do have some decent lunchtime offers and their burger prices do include fries. Secondly, their burger buns are certainly decent but no one makes burger buns like the Bekarei.
Forget it, go to BBB Berlin.