Berlin and Tim Raue

Berlin is a big city.  We came for a few days to see Josh (who is here for the month studying) and go see Documenta in Kassel.  Josh had been to Berlin twice before but once when he was much younger so he is truly exploring everything from a totally different set of eyes.  We spent the day together doing some serious walking.

We jumped on the metro to go out to the Neukolln neighborhood.  The public transportation in this city is amazing.  NYC could take a few lessons here.  This neighborhood is the supposed new hip neighborhood but what that really means is the youth is moving here because the prices are still low.  We had an iced macchiato before making our way to Tempelhof Park in this friendly coffee shop.  A Copenhagen vibe with more grit.

Tempelhof is a sight to see.  Tempelhof was designated as the main airport in 1923.  By 1927 the airport terminal was built and in the 30’s the Nazi’s did a massive renovation.  In the 1950’s the main building was one of the biggest in the world.  All flights stopped in 2008 in and out of Tempelhof.  It is now an incredible park.

Needless to say, there is a tremendous amount of history here and a lot of controversy around to or to not develop the property.  It is used for recreation from music festivals to bike riding and everything in between.  It is their Central Park.  It is amazing.

We walked into Kreuzberg to stop by Voo, a store always worth stopping by when in Berlin.

Then on to lunch.  Josh has been sampling the middle eastern food that is in abundance in Berlin.  We went to a place he likes called Doyum Grill Haus.  The hummus as thick and delish.  They pour a spicy paprika oil over it that takes it to another level.

We also had the lamb and eggplant with bread to sop everything up.  Perfect lunch.

We got a train to Mitte and did a little shopping before heading to the Future Gallery.  I wanted to get there because we had purchased a Jon Rafferty from them a few years back.  This is the exhibit they had up from the artist Rube Grilo.

This past year we watched the Chef’s Table show that featured Tim Raue.  Food saved him and if you get a chance it is a worthy episode.  So it was fitting that we had dinner there together.  I am not a huge fan of the tasting menu that the chef’s put out in the star chef restaurants.  We used to do them often particularly when this trend started but when in “rome” you must.  Each dish is about the flavors.  He is heavily influenced by Asian cuisine.  This first group of tiny appetizers was all seasoned with Asian flavors.

First out was the scallop.  A marinated and steamed scallop over a stock of elderflower and rice vinegar with tiny pieces of green melon, apple and cucumber, and lemongrass.

Second was the pikeperch.  They brought it out in a container that had steam coming off of it.  Ends up it is all for show and has zero to do with cooking the perch.  That kind of stuff is all about the entertainment which I am definitely not into.  The pikeperch was steamed with a bit of butter, spring leeks and ginger.  Then they pour a 10-year aged soy sauce over the top when served.

Third was the langoustine.  This is fantastic.  A deep fried crispy langoustine covered in a wasabi mayonnaise and deep fried green rice.  The stock is made from fish stock, mango and carrot.  I could have eaten a tray of these.

Fourth was the sate chicken.  This was also a huge winner.  In one dish is the salad of mango, cucumber, red onions, mango, and peanuts.  Tiny bites that burst in your mouth.  In the other dish is the chicken leg marinated in rice wine and a broth of peanut and butter.  I literally picked up the bowl after eating the chicken and drank the broth.  Powerful flavors in small bites and a small portion.

Fifth was the dong po pork belly.  Red-cooked pork belly braised in a star anise stock with kumquat and pomelo, watercress and watermelon with pomegranate jelly and a mash of green radish.

Sixth was the signature dish of the house, Peking duck.  You have the crispy duck breast with five spices, apple, and leek with a five spice wafer in one bowl.  A duck liver terrine with pickled cucumber and ginger cream in the other. And last a broth from the tongue, heart, and stomach with winter melon and bamboo mushroom.  I happen to love Peking duck.  I really like how he used each piece of the duck to create a full dish.

Seventh was dessert.  This was the best of the desserts.  A burnt banana pudding.  It was rich with tiny pieces of burnt bananas at the bottom.

There was also a macadamia nougat and passionfruit caramel roll marinated in quince, passion fruit, and saffron.  I don’t love passion fruit so it wasn’t my thing.

There is always the last grouping of tiny treats at the end.  Nothing here was that interesting but it is part and parcel of how the chefs do these meals.

We had a great time particularly with the two bottles of Reisling.  We have been returning to Berlin for years.  The food scene continues to evolve in the city.  It is good to see and certainly taste.