Kushinoya, Japanese Fried Food, Charlottenburg
September 25, 2011 14 Comments
Don’t think I am unaware that I am not fulfilling my self-declared duty of being a Foodie in Berlin, I am. (Truthfully, I was made aware by my husband who said. “What’s up with your blog, you haven’t posted much about Berlin lately.”)
I have plenty of new places that I have been eating at and want to share. It’s just that I’ve been travelling a lot. Then, when I returned to Berlin, it was like someone spiked (is spiking as I type) the weather god’s drink. It’s glorious, opera glorious (as in, am inspired to burst into song). That godawful humidity that plagued us all summer is gone to be replaced with honey hued sunshine and baby blue skies. It’s hard to stay in doors with weather like that and walking around Berlin the last week or so, it seems everyone agrees.Kushinoya was a tip from a Japanese girl I met at a wedding in the Cotswalds a couple of weekends ago. It was one of those rare occasions where instead of squirming in vain for a conversation topic which would then fizzle out and die in a matter of seconds, we found ourselves gushing animatedly within minutes. The common thread, food. She is Japanese, lived in London for a while , then moved to Köln with her husband. She misses great food, I miss great food.
“How is the food?”
“Meh.” (BTW Margue, I’ve totally stolen that expression from you, it is so great at expressing a disappointment so profound, you can’t even be bothered to extrapolate on the subject. Genius.)
“We have a restaurant in Berlin that we love!” she enthused.
“Hold on, let me get a pen…”
Fried food on a stick?
Fried food son a stick! (Kushiage)
Yes please. Especially when it’s had the Japanese treatment, dainty, non-greasy, impossibly crispy breadcrumbs. And rules. Except in this context, rules are fun! (I’ll come back to that one in a second)
I sat down across from my girlfriend. My view of her impeded by the stack of rectangular ceramic plates. You can order up to 30 fried sticks. We went for 10 and were pretty sated but being greedy, I ordered another 3. Which in hindsight was a good thing, because stick number 12 was fried breadcrumbed cheese on a stick. If this is all sounding a bit Elvis to you, it’s not. The food is bite sized and light. The wall of ceramic plates is distributed once you order. You get one large plate with 6 rectangular depressions. Then a smaller plate, also with 6 depressions. 5 of which have sauces in them. Things like, salt and pepper, garlic flavoured soy sauce and mustard. Those are the fun rules I was talking about. The sticks come out two by two and are placed in different depressions in your large plate, you then find the corresponding shape in the sauce dish and dip.
All the while Miles Davis is playing, the light is low. The service is discreet, they have a special way of moving plates around noiselessly. The restaurant is mercifully untrendy and refined. It’s a bit like a beautiful pair of leather knee-high boots that I’ve had for about 10 years, they clearly are not following any recent trend which instead of compromising them actually make them even prettier, because they transcend all that silliness. (Cue scene in the Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep – that woman can do no wrong in my eyes – gives a withering monologue on the cerulean blue sweater that Anne Hathaway’s character is wearing. No, but you know what I mean right?)
I won’t give away the dessert but let’s just say, the orange coloured one is the bomb! And although it’s probably not necessary, make a reservation, that way your table will be adorned with the prettiest origami possible (which I think, you get to keep!).
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