“Combining good with good” is the motto of Sebastian and Jelena, the two owners of FRAI, which opened at Kantini just a few weeks ago. Their menu offers something for everyone – whether vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, clean eating, low-carb or Paleo. “Here you can put together your own dish, depending on what you fancy eating at the time,” Sebastian tells us.
What might sound like a relatively simple idea to begin with was actually three years in the making. Jelena, who has always worked in gastronomy, continues: “Even just finding the suitable premises in Berlin took us more than two years, which makes us all the more delighted that we now finally have our own eatery at Kantini. Berlin is a cosmopolitan city and this open-mindedness is reflected in our menu. And wherever possible, of course, we make sure that our ingredients are sourced locally from the region.”
Sebastian, who spent the last ten years working in the advertising industry as an art director, begins to philosophise when I ask him the question of what he’s inspired by. We talk about the increasing wish for regional ingredients, the culinary diversity around the world, existing food trends, sustainability, keeping up with changing times and simplicity. And also about the links between the human psyche, nutrition and community.
“Our mission,” according to Sebastian, “is to prepare healthy food. Our two chefs Benedikt and Chris are very experienced and make everything themselves. Chris, who is a vegetarian himself, knows exactly what’s he’s doing,” he smiles.
“The best thing about FRAI, if you ask us, is our open-mindedness towards our guests. We’re not about food dogmatism or strict diets. It’s much more important to us that every guest has the opportunity to eat food that is both delicious and healthy at the same time, whether fish or meat, vegetarian or vegan,” says Jelena.
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” British author Virginia Woolf once wrote. A maxim that Sebastian and Jelena have really taken to heart here. And not as a mere empty promise on their meu, but in all aspects of everything they do. A good reminder that we should all listen to our stomachs more often!