Hans im Glück – Fairytale food or just a burger in Berlin?
BY TOM STEPHENSON
Unlike most meals over the weekend this was unplanned. There had been no scouring of Time Out, or Trip Advisor trawling, but rather a snap decision made under a bridge in Berlin. Minutes later I’d found myself perched on a high seat next to a well, in what can only be described as a fairytale forest with a garnish of burger bar.
The menu read well, still following the theme rigidly with scrawling writing and fairytale drawings, and with an impressive fourteen burgers to choose from. But it wasn’t the choice that delayed my decision; no there was something else. I felt like I was sitting on a simple torture device. No electric shocks, or water boarding, but just a mild discomfort. A creeping irritation. We moved seats.
I ordered the ‘Wilder Westen’, which came with BBQ sauce, cheese and crispy onion, while my accomplice opted for the ‘Hans im Glück’; a Parma ham, Parmesan and balsamic beef burger. We ordered a side of fries too and added a guacamole dip.
Admittedly the service wasn’t speedy, but it came with a smile and the understanding that my German is about as good as Kanye West’s people skills. This, combined with a buzzy lunchtime crowd and about one hundred floor to ceiling birch trees, gave the place a comfortable but energetic atmosphere.
The burgers arrived and looked good. The meat itself perhaps a little thin compared to Byron, or Honest Burgers, or one of the other three thousand London burger joints that have sprung up in the past two years, but other than that good. The quantity of guacamole accompanying the fries was impressive too. I often feel restaurants treat guacamole like some sort of semi-precious material, which clearly it is not. Although I regularly pay an extra 70p for the stuff in a burrito, it doesn’t mean I don’t do it without quietly cursing the innocent staff member serving me, or considering some kind of boycott before realising how much I’d miss it.
All in all it was a tasty burger. But that was all. With all the fairytale features surrounding me I guess I had expected some kind of magic, a story to tell, but instead got a pub anecdote that I might recount if I remembered it the next day.
Perhaps the interior of Hans im Glück, with all it’s bare bark and fantasy charm, had inadvertently stolen the show from the food. Would the same burger have shone if served in a garage in Grantham? Possibly.
The Berlin restaurant, one of 20 across Germany, is on Friedrichstraße and admittedly I wouldn’t hesitate to go again. Yes it might not have led me on a journey to an enchanted land but it was a good lunch.
I’d make sure I sat in the right seat next time though.
Friedrichstraße 101, 10117 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 20679063