überlin

Kaizoku Feast Club

by James Glazebrook

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It’s been a while since we’ve been to good supper club, and this was very good supper club indeed. Kaizoku Feast Club is run by the people behind the Japanese Curry pop-up of the same name, a couple of expats who are determined to bring authentic Asian flavours to Berlin. For their first feast, they invited us to sample a selection of hard-to-find dishes based on Szechuan cuisine, all washed down with local microbrew.

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The epic tasting menu was designed to showcase the full range of this particular Chinese cooking tradition, and did it with aplomb. We had pork, beef, even ginger poached chicken presented in triplicate, each time with a different delicious sauce (for the completists, those were classic red oil, fish fragrant and Szechuanese pepper and sesame dressings), and everything was gorgeous, from the roasted red peanuts that whet our appetites to the rice dumplings in sweet honey soup that closed the door on our stomachs.

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Kaizoku Feast Club lives up to its name, so anyone who wants to dig into healthy portions of Asian awesomeness should like this Facebook page for sweet, sweet updates.

Jung Grün & Blau

by James Glazebrook

Jung Grün & Blau dining table

Don’t call it a supper clubJung Grün & Blau is something else entirely. The private dining experience is the brainchild of wunderkind chef Dylan Watson-Brown, who began cooking at the age of 14 in a French restaurant in his hometown of Vancouver. Still just 19, Dylan has already gathered experience from some of the world’s best restaurants, including RyuGin – a three-starred Michelin restaurant in Tokyo – Noma in Copenhagen and New York City’s Per Se, Daniel, and Eleven Madison Park. Dylan’s newest endeavour is less grand than those internationally-renowned kitchens, but no less admirable: to showcase the fresh flavours of seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, selected for taste, rather than to support some on-trend sustainability philosophy.

Jung Grün & Blau Dylan Watson-Brown

Dylan treated us to an epic 17 course meal, made up of small servings that combined no more than a handful of ingredients, and focused on bringing out the true taste of each. His dashi soup (the basis for miso) contained not much more than herbs grown in his apartment and carrots that were bursting with character – a shock for someone raised in the English tradition of boiling vegetables until they lose all colour and flavour. Zoë summed up the Jung Grün & Blau experience perfectly, as she whispered between mouthfuls of egg yolks and Japanese rice cracker, “it’s like I never tasted egg before!”

Jung Grün Blau dashi soup

It would be impossible to pick highlights from the carefully-sequenced, meticulously-prepared menu, as each dish was greater than the last, prompting 17 different notes-to-self: “this is the best thing I have ever eaten.” But our taste buds were particularly delighted by kid (baby goat) tartar – which tasted surprisingly similar to the juiciest parts of tuna fish – and the first cherries of the year, salted and sprinkled with a snow of goats cheese – a super-fresh ingredient which was also served separately with a drizzle of olive oil, produced by an ex-punk who raids the abandoned olive farms in southern Spain. Presented in handmade ceramics from Kreuzberg’s Mariannenstrasse and complemented by wines brought back from a recent trip around Germany, the fine food on offer at Jung Grün & Blau makes for an intimate and incredibly satisfying dining experience. Kudos to young Mr Watson-Brown and team!

Jung Grün & Blau kid

Jung Grün & Blau duck

Jung Grün & Blau herbs

Jung Grün & Blau egg cracker

Photos by Zoë Noble Photography.

Krauted Haus

by James Glazebrook

Mexican food in Berlin is, depending on who you ask, either substandard or just good enough. While it’s certainly better than the city’s attempts at other international cuisine (especially the curry), we hear complaints that even Berlin’s best isn’t that authentic. That’s why we were so excited to be invited to Krauted Haus supper club’s special ¡Ay, Chihuahua! event.

Krauted Haus James

While I would have been happy with the best (or biggest!) burrito I’d ever eaten in my life, the other gourmands in attendance asked a little more from the multi-course neo-Mexican tasting menu. Conversation around the table in the hosts’ cute apartment touched on other restaurants and supper clubs in Berlin, and expectations for this one were running high. The menu and margarita in front of us seemed to signal promise.

Krauted Haus margarita

Fortunately, the food didn’t disappoint. While the dishes that opened and closed the meal – pink gazpacho of watermelon, cucumber and almond, and pineapple custard – proved to be acquired tastes, the meaty mains at its heart were triumphs. My taste buds were pricked by the drunken grilled shrimp with beans, greens and abodo sauce, and Zo’s pigged out on the pork belly: Asado de Cochinillo served with delectable corn crepes and grilled banana. Chilli sauce was brought to the table for heat freaks like myself, while the dark chocolate vodka chillis (genius!) and salsa that accompanied the nachos already came with plenty of kick.

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So ¡Ay, Chihuahua! was pretty ayiyawesome. If we had to criticise anything, it’s that we didn’t see enough of the Krauted Haus team itself. We “know” Samantha and Sophie from Twitter and share mutual friends, so it would have been great to get them out of the kitchen for a chat. Our favourite supper clubs have been the ones where the hosts have been around to explain – and in some cases, enjoy – the food, and even though Sophie’s parents were entertaining, they were no substitute! I guess we’ll just have to come on another night to get to know the girls – and their great food – better 😉 Follow them on Facebook for more details.

Krauted Haus guests

Zuhause Supper Club

by James Glazebrook

Zuhause Supper Club table ware

And the award for Berlin’s booziest supper club goes to… Zuhause! From the cocktail we were handed when we first arrived – vodka, homemade ginger tea and mint – to the bottles of delicious wine that kept arriving at our table, this most informal of dinner parties was kept well lubricated. In between serving restaurant-grade dishes, paired with said free-flowing wines, Canadian expat Kristi and her Irish beau, professional chef Dave, were the hosts with the mosts – both in and out of the kitchen.

Zuhause Supper Club table menu

And man, do they know their way around a kitchen. My menu highlights weren’t the obvious choices, but clearly reflect my English roots. We love a good cheese, and the Bleu de Bresse that made up the sixth and final course was just that. And I was ecstatic not only to find two meat dishes, but that the first was the very same Asian take on a Scotch egg I’d been drooling over on the Zuhause website that afternoon – served with miso butter, spring onion and the ubiquitous white asparagus. The lemon curd that cut through the dessert of strawberry tart and fresh meringue was just like my Grandma used to make, a tasty trip down memory lane.

Zuhause Supper Club cheese course

Zuhause Supper Club Asian Scotch egg

Zuhause Supper Club dessert

Zoë’s favourite dish, as ever, was the lamb – a tender cut of Irish fillet – while we both lapped up the shallot and chive tortelloni, and the opening fish course of octopus, fennel, grapefruit and melon. But the food was only half the fun, with the intimate setting of the host’s typische Berliner apartment, the hosts themselves and their solid gold “banter” making for a night to remember… brain cells permitting. Like Zuhause on Facebook to join the party!

Zuhause Supper Club Irish fillet steak

Zuhause Supper Club pasta

Zuhause Supper Club fish course

RollinRestaurant at Stagger Lee

by James Glazebrook

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We’re relative newbies to the supper club experience, having only been to RollinRestaurant, and only once before, but even we could tell that this one was going to be special. Arriving at Schöneberg’s old timey saloon (and Mixology Awards Bar of the Year) Stagger Lee, we were greeted by our hosts Björn and the Pauls, looking dapper in black tie. They introduced us to a grand first course of gold-flecked oysters and champagne cocktails, and our eight fellow guests.

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For this exclusive edition of RollinRestaurant, the guestlist was scaled down from the usual 40+ to just ten, and the menu expanded to seven courses, each matched to a cocktail created by Stagger Lee’s resident mixologist Jakob Etzold. The latter’s genius was in taking a key ingredient out of each dish and applying it to the drink, for example, taking the dill that topped our tartare of mussels and adding it to his mustard martini, The Log Lady.

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I’ve included the menu below for your perusal/envy, but here are our highlights of a pretty highlight-packed meal. This dude’s personal favourite was spiced pork belly, accompanied by the awesomely-named peak black ale Dark as the Dungeon. As I sipped my single malt whisky, blended with homemade sugar, bitters and a smokey, dark ale from Bavaria, I remember thinking, this is how kings used to dine in, well, Game of Thrones times. “For sheer nom nom”, Zoë’s chosen the dessert, salted chocolate creme, and to drink, the Fräulein – a rum schrub topped with wild berries.

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As ever, RollinRestaurant combined fine dining with warm company, and we feel privileged to have been guests at their most special supper club to date. You need to get in on this, so join the mailing list and cross your fingers for a place at their next event. I’m salivating at the mere thought of it…

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RollinRestaurant at Stagger Lee menu

Rollin Restaurant

by James Glazebrook

We love Rollin Restaurant, but the name of this Berlin supper club makes us want to holler Limp Bizkit lyrics. “CHOCOLATE STARFISH MOTHERFUCKAZZZZZZ!!!!” Um… Anyway, the meal that kicked off our weekend didn’t contain any sea creatures, chocolate or otherwise, but rather four carefully constructed courses based on the theme “Wild at Heart”. Twenty lucky applicants and their guests enjoyed a delicious meal of chestnut cappuccino, baby elk carpaccio and deer fillet steak, followed by toffee cake, pear and mousse. We’re no foodies, so we’ll leave the in-depth analysis to Borris Berlintourist – let’s just say that the meal ommed all our noms.

Friendly table companions who forced us to speak German, charming hosts who are also gifted chefs and the smart surroundings of The Naked Lunch in Mitte, made this a night to remember. Rollin Restaurant is so popular that we only made it in on our third attempt, and it more than lived up to our pent-up expectations. Watch their Facebook Page for event announcements, and be ready to pounce to secure a much sought-after place at their table.

A Wild Weekend in Berlin

by James Glazebrook