Storefront City Destinations

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TRAP Berlin

WHERE: Gärtnerstraße 15, 10245 Berlin, Germany
RUNTIME: 40 minutes
PRICE: €40 per team (2-4 ppl)


Your heart and mind race as the ticking of the bomb continues its haunting tone, tucked away in one of many locked metal crates. You look for the next clue, guess the next puzzle, think through any possible option for escape. You’re trapped.

Alicia: I remember sitting in my junior high computer lab (too many years ago) creating a haunted house version escape the room game, a point-and-click game requiring players to explore and analyse their surroundings in order to escape from imprisonment (my inspiration being the amazing game Myst merged with the heightened anticipation of haunted attractions). I have a fond memory of programming a skeleton to shake its bones and then there was the terrible difficulty of getting a different sound to play at each click. Anyways, what does this nostalgic door into my past have anything to do with TRAP?

TRAP, located at the back of Szimpla Cafe, is a real-life version of an escape the room game, but it’s not the first of its kind. Hungarian Parapark is well known for their Real Escape puzzles and experiments, and games of similar sorts have spread across Europe and are also really popular in Asia. We recently read an article on these games popping up in Hong Kong, with an intent to give youths a healthy outlet to reduce stress and tension and to explore a world detached from reality.

Despite the global expansion of escape the room games, before TRAP I had yet to experience what all of the fuss was about. I usually have quite a knack for puzzles, growing up with a family addicted to games, and always a fan of a logic puzzle or two. So, with this in mind, but still not really knowing what to expect, I was very excited to experience 40 minutes of in-your-face, now-or-never “figure your way out or else” mayhem. Stressful, scary? Yes, but oh-so-fun!

Adam: Searching for clues, rustling through boxes, trying to think as quickly as we can, Team Storefront tries to solve the multiple mysteries that surround us. I don’t want to give away too much, because that’s part of the fun, but be ready to test your knowledge – general and specific – as well as push your logic to the limits in this hair-raising experience. TRAP is the latest incarnation of a phenomenon of so-called “escape the room” games that involve immersive environments and puzzle solving skills.

TRAP itself originates in Hungary, where it’s multiroom puzzles have been challenging friends, families and co-workers to work together towards victory. For me, the concept behind TRAP is fascinating because it creates wonderful environments in which to learn, expand and experience the thrill of discovery and compatriotship. For a rapidly isolated and urbanised world, TRAP is a respite that allows communal escapism, and the improvement of logical reasoning skills. No doubt Vulcan has had such games for centuries…

The Berlin version is currently housed in one room and so is not yet as expansive as its Hungarian counterparts. However, a multiple room version is in development and sounds like it will be a fantastic adventure once launched.

Final Thoughts: TRAP Berlin is innovative and exciting – unfortunately, our skills were not up to it and we were blown to smithereens before solving all the problems. Thankfully, if you are having real trouble making it through one of the puzzles, your friendly host Balázs Lukács will give you some clues, but not enough to spoil the fun. We’re very excited for TRAP Berlin’s proposed expansion as we think it will make the puzzle solving all the more immersive.

P.S.: If you can’t make it to Berlin, test your own puzzling skills with the classic game Myst, which Alicia mentioned. Come on, get retro!


WHAT: Glass
WHERE: Uhlandstraße 195, 10623 Berlin, Germany


Credit: 'Glass'

Credit: ‘Glass’

A single elegant note graces you upon sitting at one of the stylish black tables, its white sheen reflected in the beautiful glass candle-holders, the themed glassware and, of course, the statement piece glass mirror in the center of the space, a rippling of metallic silver creating an organic and natural vibe to this comfortably trendy atmosphere, complete with exposed industrial chic ceiling. The envelope simply states:

“No pleasure is temporary, because of the impression it leaves behind is permanent.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832

And so our journey of pleasure and sensations began in a glass cube brightly nestled in the southeast of Charlottenburg.

Adam: To dine at Glass is to be immersed in the art of food. Berlin itself, so entrenched in history, has embraced art as an intrinsic part of its 21st-century identity, whether that art is visual, performance, alternative or, in this case, culinary. Playful, modern and trendy, Glass is the perfect location for that special Berlin meal that encapsulates this city’s imaginative spirit and bright international future. Offering both a regular and vegan menu of 6-8 courses, Glass provides a leisurely and unforgettable dining experience.

Our multi-course extravaganza began with a decoratively plated canapé of gougères and yuba upon a square of slate. The gougères of baked choux pastry and delectable cheese combined the sensations of brittle crunch and airy fluff, while the cheese added a warm comforting centre. Yuba is a traditional name for tofu skins, each a spindly crisp in a whimsical shape. This perfect introduction to the dining experience made us eager to proceed and discover what other delights awaited us.

 As the empty slate was whisked away, a spoon of veal cheek appeared, served upon a porcelain ringlet. Enjoyed best in one bite, a burst of flavour met my palate: cream and parmesan encased in a ravioli that allowed one to experience the dish in a meaningful way.

Credit: 'Glass'

Credit: ‘Glass’

My next course consisted of veal tartare and artichoke with olive oil and cognac. With perfect juxtaposition of salt and sweet, the fine cut veal was enjoyable in easy mouthfuls, its line presentation across the plate encouraging one to read the food from left to right. Next up was the onion soup, a real treat: deconstructed with brioche and comté cheese, the soup did not overwhelm the baked elements, allowing for their integrity to be maintained. The shallots, central to the dish, were sweet with hints of vinegar, whilst the puree of soup itself was perfect – not too creamy. A modern spin on an ancient classic.

I have always been rather hesitant about foie gras, the next tasting phase on the Glass menu. It can be sourced so as to be incredibly fatty and then there is the issue of how the birds producing it are being treated. Neither of these are issues at Glass, whose humanely sourced, blood orange infused delicacy can be spread upon the provided toasts with ease. Fennel and hazelnuts provide added texture, whilst full blood orange slices give a nicely contrasting sweet and bitterness of fruit and rind. A mellow and delicious dish.

Credit: 'Glass'

Credit: ‘Glass’

My main course, however, was one of the most creative and thoughtful plates I’ve ever eaten. 30-Days “Dry Aged” Black Angus Rumpsteak in Tokyo-style demonstrated a beautiful fusion of cultures. Think American steakhouse meets Japanese virtuosity and you’ll start to understand. With juicy flavour seared into this perfect cut, Asian-style jus and brittle pickled vegetables, this steak is a veritable playground for the senses. Sophisticated, adventurous and highly recommended.

I accompanied this meal with the Hahn Riesling / Weingut Toni Jost (2012), a beautifully subtle and refined compliment to a delicious, exciting and memorable experience.

Alicia: Glass is a fascinating venue offering guests a beautiful experience touching each of the senses, and is much like a walk through a modern art gallery, yet with a much more inviting and comfortable atmosphere. The menu is evocative, inviting you in but keeping you in suspense, anticipating each dish and keeping you wanting more after the last mouthful passes your lips.

The oyster began my sensual journey through the looking-glass, fresh shellfish accompanied with flavours of beetroot, lavender and passionfruit. For Chef Gal Ben-Moshe, this dish is inspired by the sultry experience of a kiss. The taste and textual confusion of lipstick and passion summed up in this melange of vivid colours and intense sensations.

The next dish, the Müritz-Trout packed a less powerful punch than the rest of the menu, but I appreciated it’s subtle nature and playful textures. A fresh piece of raw trout sat atop a lightly pickled cucumber and ratte potato, along with a smear of horseradish and a delicate shaving of fried onion. The nutty ratte with its smooth and almost buttery texture played against the crunchy onion and the silky fish. My wine for the night, the Von der Fels Riesling / Weingut Keller (2012) paired wonderfully with this dish, especially with its notes of peaches, apples and grapefruit.

Glass’s Stadtgarten has quite a loyal following, inspired by the gardens at Tempelhof Field, and perhaps the most beautifully illustrated dish of the night with a variety of colourful vegetables, fresh flowers and even pumpernickel-edible earth. The peppery flowers added a liquorice-like punch to the salty/sweet earth, the gently acidic blood oranges and the earthy and buttery vegetables. This dish was quite an adventure, but still reflected a bit of comfort as if one was roaming through their small garden, tasting the freshly picked products of Mother Nature.

The standout dish of the night was indeed the South American inspired Octopus with garnet yam, ‘popcorn’ quinoa and sweet corn. To put it crudely, it was basically a popping party in my mouth, and was the most fun my mouth has ever had with food. There was the popping and light crunch of the ‘popcorn’ quinoa and the meaty and salty quality of a beautiful seared octopus, whose tentacles popped right along with the quinoa. Add the sweetness of the corn and the spice of the lightly seared peppers and you get a wonderfully balanced and creative dish that continues to be fun throughout each bite.

Credit: 'Glass'

Credit: ‘Glass’

As if this wasn’t enough food and beauty and adventure to take in, after our last main dish our table was cleared and we were left a single silver sheet, the chef’s modern fine dining take on your every day picnic blanket, a beautiful metallic accompaniment reflecting the glass sculpture in the middle of the room. The chef himself made his way to our table, bringing along with him signs of the ultra-modern food movement.

A fog of liquid nitrogen flowed across our table, and a variety of sweets were spilled strategically along the silver mat, including Snickers powder, caramel popcorn, perfectly flamed marshmallows, ground up oreos and homemade gummies. To go along with the chef’s ‘spilled picnic’ motif, there were also peppery edible flowers, crunchy chocolate ‘caviar’ and of course, the frozen chocolate mousse resulting from the nitrogen. This is the restaurant’s famed ‘Candy Box,’ a Mad Hatter experience – a playfully delicious disaster. Spoons collide in a race to capture a piece of salty and crunchy popcorn, and mouths tingle with sensations from the powders or from the cold mousse in its slowly melting state. I would go to Glass time and time again to try the ever-changing menu, and to forever experience this whimsical dessert that leaves a smile on your face for the rest of the night.

Final Thoughts: Open a mere seven months, Glass and Chef Gal Ben-Moshe have made a lasting impact on the Berlin culinary scene. Chef Ben-Moshe comes from prestigious background, working in London’s Maze and Chicago’s Alinea, bringing to Glass his new take on fine food in a modern, more casual setting. Ben-Moshe attentively visits the table for each course, explaining his inspiration behind the dish in a way that makes you feel at home. A very special restaurant in contemporary chic building, Glass is perfect for that unique Berlin date or for those who want to experience this poetic city through perfect cuisine.

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