Swiss Institute Sticking it to stereotypes featured

If you came here looking for multi-purpose pocket knives and smooth alpine chocolates then you came to the wrong place. This Swiss Institute is all about art, and always has been—ever since their humble beginnings in a two bed Swiss townhouse on West 67th Street in 1986.

After a lengthy spell in a loft space in Soho from the mid 90s through until 2011, they finally managed to upgrade to some street-level digs worthy of the art work that they’ve been consistently displaying.

With the change in surrounds also came a change in MO. Whereas formerly the institute was all about showcasing Swiss art and artists to a primarily Swiss audience, they’ve now become committed to looking beyond the perma-neutral state’s borders; morphing themselves into an innovative international venue that provides a forum for artistic dialogue between Switzerland, the rest of Europe and the US.

Unsurprising, then, that they’ve adopted an all-embracing approach to different mediums as well—from the paintings, illustrations and street art of Nicolas Party to the sculpture and installation work of Amy O’ Neill.

Beelitz Heilstätten Nazi ghosts and socialist ghouls featured

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big… creepy abandoned hospital. The notorious Beelitz complex has a grizzlier history than we would care to go into, suffice to say it’s worth Googling. The huge military hospital counts among its patients both Hitler and Honecker; so it’s already crossing into the stuff of nightmares. There are over 60 buildings in various states of distress, from dwellings that would make a Berlin squatter wince to parts that have been painstakingly restored and are still in use today.

Wandering round these remarkable buildings is a full day out. Nature taking its course has given some of them a beautiful make-under: red brick facades are cloaked in overgrown branches, while old paint curls and flakes into curious new shapes on the interior walls. This is irresistible bait for Hollywood, hence Beelitz has featured in both The Pianist and Valkyrie. The more dilapidated houses have ceilings falling through, under threat of further collapse at any second—so tread carefully, twinkle toes.

The site itself is a breeze to get into (just walk in off the road) but some buildings are boarded up, which just makes them all the more tempting. Going by day with a torch and a companion would be wise. To be found, there’s also a disused U-bahn station, railway tracks, and probably a few lost souls, for all your post-apocalyptic novel fantasy needs.

The Goodhood Store Up, up and away featured

When The Goodhood Store first opened its doors in 2007, it was heralded as having an innovative approach to fashion retail rarely seen outside of Japan. In the same vein, they went on to open the Goodhood Life Store, Goodhood Creative and launch ‘Goods by Goodhood’, their own in house label. That’s a lot of Goodhood. All this expanding has, unsurprisingly, seen them outgrow their original location and they have opened a new flagship store, along with its very own cafe. The new store incorporates womenswear, menswear, kidswear, homeware and any other ware you can think of, all under one roof. The same attention to detail and charm that made the brand successful in the first place is still apparent, both in their own collection and their curated offerings—exclusive lines by the likes of Opening Ceremony, Building Block and Monocle are available here. The cafe, meanwhile, serves up healthy grub and single origin coffee, providing a relaxed community vibe to this colossal retail space. With whispers of taking the brand outside of London, it seems the sky’s the limit for Goodhood.

Cevicheria Peruvian tongue twisters featured

Dresdener Straße is both the cool older brother of Oranienstraße and the prosperous uncle to Kottbusser Tor. With a wine bar, a whisky club and a cocktail speakeasy, Dresdener does serious drinking and it does it with aplomb. Until 2014, however, the serious foodies were left out in the cold. Neighbouring eateries Gorgonzola Club and Mercosy aren’t half bad, but they aren’t great either—Cevicheria, on the other hand, is all that and then some.

The Peruvian delicacy ceviche, as you might have guessed, is most definitely their thing. (That’s fish cured in citrus juice and spiced with chillies, by the way). It’s all as fresh as anything and goes down with a zing to end all zings. Whatever you do, don’t skip the starters: the fish carpaccio with mango salsa and prawns is the stuff dreams are made of. The mixed ceviche main is a solid introduction to the taste bud-stretching possibilities of this cuisine, and why not finish the job off with with a frothy pisco sour or two? Oh Dresdener Straße, you’re too good to us.

Holybelly Aussie rules coffee featured

Inspired by the café culture of Melbourne’s sunny streets, Holybelly brings its own rays of sunshine to rue Lucien Sampaix, just off the Canal Saint-Martin. In great company alongside Bob’s Juice Bar, Holybelly takes care of the early-risers with expert flat whites from 7am, complete with one of those leafy designs on top that mean it must be good. If ze man isn’t demanding you at your desk quick-snap in the morning, why not take one of the two-person booths, stow your belongings in the box under your seat, and tuck into some fluffy pancakes with maple syrup or a hefty plate of hashbrowns, eggs and fried mushrooms. Ingredients are fresh from the market every day, the pinball machine awaits challengers to its high score, and the coffee beans come from a local Belleville roastery. Bonus feature? Holybelly’s staff are as friendly as they are hip—and yes, that really is saying something.

De Wasserette As sure as eggs is eggs featured

Imagine if you will a café, positioned not only on a bustling square but on a corner that is bathed in sunshine all afternoon long. Now picture this in the heart of De Oude Pijp and you’re getting close to the café par excellence that is de Wasserette. Bestowed with the natural gifts of a good location and sunlight, customers have a degree of expectation when they stroll in to this revamped old laundrette…

Great coffee being an absolute minimum, it is duly supplied by a unique special blend and a Kees van der Westen Spirit machine which shines proudly like a Ferrari V12 engine on the back wall. The food, however, is where de Wasserette exceeds all expectations. There is plenty for those on a health kick: granola, fruit and yoghurt are yours from as early as 7:30am. But as nice as they are, you’re going to suffer the pain of watching all manner of great eggs and giant sandwiches be devoured all around you.

The eggs benedict have developed something of a cult following in these parts, and the sourdough sandwiches are equally something to be reckoned with. If you want a recommendation, allow us to point you towards the open-armed embrace of the avocado, chicken and pancetta sandwich topped with lashings of parmesan and truffle mayo—because, bacon and cheese understand you like no one else can.

Footnote: the de Wasserette owners have opened up Bar Mash just across Gerard Douplein square for your more booze-infused cravings.

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