Rebels with a Cause: Parlour Dinners in Germany

Remodelista

We love a rebel with a cause: In this case, the rebel is German designer-turned-chef Laurin Hackney, and his cause is bringing random people together over a home-cooked meal.

Hackney, along with furniture designer Travis Broussard, began serving drinks and small meals at a rogue daytime cafe in Berlin inspired by the leisure of a beer garden. When patrons began asking for evening meals, their higher calling—The Parlour Dinners—was born.

Soon, Hackney found a prewar apartment in the Mitte neighborhood of Berlin and began inviting 30 guests into his living room every Thursday night. At first, the dinners were comprised of friends, then friends of friends, and eventually the evenings featured his desired motley crew. Guests sit on furniture designed by Broussard, at places set by Hackney's girlfriend, and dine on food prepared by Hackney himself. But The Parlour is not a place for avant-garde cooking. "I’m not a professional chef, so I’m not interested in serving something people have never seen before. In fact, I prefer to make something they have eaten at least once in their lives and can easily relate to." The Parlour is filled with Broussard's rustic, conceptual furniture designs, all of which are for sale. At dinners, he commonly takes orders for lamps, tables, and art installations.

Of course, supper clubs like Hackney's are not always fully legal, and The Parlour Dinners has had its detractors. After a year in the Berlin flat, The Parlour Dinners had been forced to move. Hackney has yet to resume the supper club, but says, "Thanks to you for celebrating with us, dining with us, for lovely discussions and cheering times. Signed, The Parlour Dinners—Still Cooking for Love!!!"

Photography by Ailine Liefeld and via Bettery Magazine.

Chef of The Parlour Dinner in Repose, Remodelista

Chef of The Parlour Dinner in Repose, Remodelista

Above: Amateur chef and rogue restaurateur Laurin Hackney.

Dining Room at The Parlour Dinners, Remodelista

Dining Room at The Parlour Dinners, Remodelista

Above: The Parlour Dinners supper club in a prewar apartment in Berlin.

The Parlour Dinners Dining Room with Lantern Pendant Lights, Remodelista

The Parlour Dinners Dining Room with Lantern Pendant Lights, Remodelista

Above: One of Hackney's biggest joys is watching diners become friends; in a small, intimate setting, he says, "You're forced to talk to strangers whether you like it or not."  

Simple Purple Flowers in Glass Jar Vase, Remodelista

Simple Purple Flowers in Glass Jar Vase, Remodelista

Above: A pallet wood table and glass jar vase play off the glamor of an antique brass candelabra.

Pink Flowers in Simple Glass Vase, Remodelista

Pink Flowers in Simple Glass Vase, Remodelista

Above: Furniture designer Travis Broussard uses the variation inherent in reclaimed materials to create a striped wood table.

Arranging Flowers for Tablescapes, Remodelista

Arranging Flowers for Tablescapes, Remodelista

Above: Hackney's girlfriend prepares flowers for the evening's simple tablescapes. 

Simple Rustic Dining Room of The Parlour Dinners, Remodelista

Simple Rustic Dining Room of The Parlour Dinners, Remodelista

Above: The dining room functions as a showroom for Broussard's furniture—still available from Travis Broussard.

Simple Rustic Place Setting with Dish Towel and Wood Charger, Remodelista

Simple Rustic Place Setting with Dish Towel and Wood Charger, Remodelista

Above: The simplest table settings often achieve more than their fancier counterparts.

Stack of Wood Cutting Boards and Kitchen Towels at The Parlour Dinners, Remodelista

Stack of Wood Cutting Boards and Kitchen Towels at The Parlour Dinners, Remodelista

Above: Wood cheese boards serve as chargers and kitchen towels as napkins. 

Ceramic White and Blue Food Storage Jars, Remodelista

Ceramic White and Blue Food Storage Jars, Remodelista

Above: Blue and white ceramic jars hold noodles and rice. 

Magnetic Knife Rack Holding Pot Lids, Remodelista

Magnetic Knife Rack Holding Pot Lids, Remodelista

Above: A clever dual use for a magnetic knife rack; pot lids are always within easy reach. 

Rustic Swag and Bread at The Parlour Dinners, Remodelista

Rustic Swag and Bread at The Parlour Dinners, Remodelista

Above: A swag of dried flowers and wheel of bread are among the rustic decorations. 

Simple Wood Dining Table with Black Industrial Pendant, Remodelista

Simple Wood Dining Table with Black Industrial Pendant, Remodelista

Above: During the rest of the week, the space functions as Hackney's home and a sometime gallery and event space.

Visit another striking setting that doubles as a supper club in Alice in Wonderland in Australia. Heading to Berlin? Have a look at our hotel, restaurant, and shop recommendations in our Berlin City Guide.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on May 3, 2012 as part of our Renovation and Reclamation issue.

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