La Lucha – Agave in Berlin
Sometimes I meet very nice people at the bar counter. Max Paarlberg, for example, I met at the Coda Dessert Bar last year in August. We talked about his new project to open a Mexican restaurant with traditional Mexican spirits. La Lucha is the brainchild of Max and opened its doors in April. I wasn’t as quick as Speedy Gonzales, the fastest mouse in all of Mexico, but I finally made it and spent an amazing night there.
If you want to have tasteful modern Mexican food and artisanal agave spirit perfectly balanced with great hospitality, this place is a must.
First of all, I fell in love with the interior. A lot of pink, colourful tiles and an area painted in a warm green colour, combined with tasteful decoration and many plants. The atmosphere is open, warm, welcoming with a bit of an industrial charm. The chairs reminded me of my school days and I would estimate that La Lucha has a seating capacity of 100 people. There is also a nice outdoor area to enjoy some of the rare summer evenings in Berlin.
Modern Mexican food is the main focus of the venue. They serve traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist. It is not a new invention, it is the style of cuisine that is already very popular in Mexico. Mexico’s traditional cuisine is the first ethnic cuisine in the world to be recognised by UNESCO on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
La Lucha isn’t only a restaurant, it is a combination of both restaurant and bar. You can enjoy a full dinner with drinks, a small dish or just a drink at the bar counter in front of an amazing selection of agave spirits.
I met Max at a place where they pair desserts and drinks. Here, he is combining spicy flavourful Mexican food with the unique and aromatic flavour profile of agave distillates. Other bars have tried a mezcal theme too, but this mixture is a success.
Right at the entrance area the bar welcomes you with more than 120 bottles of agave distillates. A perfect way to get more familiar with the agave distillates is to try one of their flights. You can have tequila and mezcal flights, but also the lesser known other agave distillates like Bacanora, Sotol and Raicilla. The flights are served on a tray with a glass of sangrita to relax the taste buds. I love bars in restaurants. It is easy to spend a whole night there, as I did. Some friends visited me and we shared some of the dishes and pitchers of the delicious Margarita. The food was fantastic, authentic and aromatic. Far away from the boring so-called Mexican food you find in many places.
The drinks are tailored to the whole concept and made with love. They are traditional with an extra twist reflecting the whole idea of La Lucha. The idea to serve the authentic flavours of Mexico in a modern way and in a relaxed ambience. Sharing food, sipping high-quality drinks and swing and sway to the right music.
The Pina Colada comes in a playful smiling coconut. A rock solid concoction with three sorts of rum. I opted for the nicely balanced Sangre Y Humo: Vida Mezcal, grapefruit and Fernet Branca rounded off with cinnamon syrup and a salty rim.
Finally, the best of all: The lovely staff. The hospitality was amazing, they smiled all the time and seem to love what they do. It was a wonderful night and I am looking forward to coming back. Mezcal, good cocktails, and delicious Mexican food is always a good idea.