I had a meal last night, a meal I would not have expected to find in Berlin for a while yet to come. And I had it in Charlottenburg.
I was invited to the evening by Gal Ben Moshe‘s PR agent, Regine. I know Regine personally, her portfolio of clients is enviable – her firm does PR for Tim Raue for example. When I write this to Gal, he replies “She does PR for Tim Raue. But she also does PR for me.” His confidence, his directness – part of it reminds me of my good friend Ilanit who comes from the same part of Israel as Gal. The other part, well the other part makes me wonder “Is this night going to be as good as he believes it to be in his mind?”
And you know what? It is. It absolutely is.
Gal came up with the name Glass 3 years ago, later, when he saw this location which had previously been a gym with blacked out windows. He knew this was where Glass would be. A kitchen had to be built. It’s small, with a central island where the chefs come together for plating.
“Hmmm.” I wonder aloud “This makes me think of Grant Achatz’s kitchen.”
“Alinea? Yes, I worked there.”
“You worked at Alinea??” I retort, incredulous. How has this guy worked at Alinea and not even mentioned it? Again that confidence. One that can only mean he is not going to try to prove he is good by association, he is going to let the food speak for itself. “How do they do that crazy dessert that is plated on the table and moves? Is it magnets?”
“The tables tilt.” he explains “And yes, magnets are used.” In fact the tables at Glass are the same as those at Alinea. Same manufacturer.”
We are invited to sit down in the dining room. This time, I have been allowed to bring a guest and my date for the evening is Marguerite. Next to us is Ashley, a wonderful photographer based in Berlin and Saleema of Brocade PR. We are a riotous group as we realize we have much in common (chief among them, a love for BBC Radio 4’s desert island discs). The noise stops with the arrival of each new dish.
There is a sublime ravioli of oxtail. Nestled like a shy creature in the concave recess of a large spoon. The cucumber vichyssoise is refreshing, the quenelle of cucumber in the middle: tantalizing. There is hamachi so fresh, Saleema exclaims out loud that the last time she had fish this good was in Tokyo. Duck from Bresse, tender and gamey paired with Recanati, an Israeli wine, made from grapes that are not artificially watered. Next comes a vegetable dish- a palette of vibrant colours perched upon Gal’s own version of ‘dirt‘. The crimson petals of pansies (thank you Marguerite) add an unexpected and delightful sour note.
I get up often and every single time, I return to find my napkin folded neatly on the table. It’s refreshing to be able to eat such beautiful food unencumbered by tablecloths and pomp. To have young attentive staff. It’s the next step Berlin has to take. Towards quality and innovation with food. Stepping into the future to join cities like London, Paris and New York where fine dining, good dining, is not solely the bastion of the stuffy well to doers but is available and desirable for anyone who considers themselves to be interested in culture and beauty.
Look – it just rocked my world last night. And here are two facts that are going to render you speechless. First, you can order the wine, all the wine, by the glass. Second, all this can be yours for €45 (6 courses) or €59 (8 courses). In Berlin. And one more thing…the menu changes daily.