I had been looking forward to eating at Henne for literally months! I read about it in the Lonely Planet guide to Berlin and the quirkiness of a place that served just chicken intrigued me to no end. It must be really good chicken! If they have managed to keep their doors open for 100 years and haven’t caved in and offered a vegetarian option or some pork (in the land where pork is king).
We arrived at the corner restaurant (Kreuzberg), went through the double doors under the red neon writing (think the same font Metalica uses). Inside, Henne is almost reminiscent of a British pub with green tiles and Scottish looking Tartan tablecloths. Even for a 6 o’clock seating, we had to call and reserve in advance. The old-fashioned interior made me all the more excited.
The menu has 4 items, 1/2 a chicken, vegetable salad (cabbage with green pepper) and potato salad (potatoes smothered in mayonnaise) and Boulette (don’t know what these are as we didn’t order them). There are more beers on offer then there are main dishes here. We ordered immediately, 1 and a half chickens – two potato salads, one cabbage salad.
Then we waited. And waited. And waited. Little L became extremely squirmy on her high bar stool as she pointed her fat little finger at other people’s chicken dinners. When our chicken finally arrived 40 minutes later, we attacked it like a pack of hungry wolves.
Half way through eating the chicken, once my blood sugar had stabilized, I noticed the charred back bone. “Hey, you think this chicken is deep fried?” I asked my husband, who although not a foodie is the veritable poultry king as he would eat chicken every night of the week if I let him. “Ya, I think so. And it’s weird that there is no sauce, just a piece of bread.”. It’s true, the chicken came with a doorstop of white bread and nothing else. It was well salted through out, almost over salted – which makes me wonder if they brine the chicken (something I always do with my Christmas turkey). That was it, just salt and crispy fried chicken and the sides (I think, go for the cabbage because the potato one goes totally over the top with the mayonnaise.).
It was a nice evening and I love the feel of the place but the chicken fell a bit short. In the back of my mind, I had pictured Henne like a German version of Coliba Haiducilor (The Outlaw’s Hut). Which is this incredible restaurant in the Poina Brasov mountains in Romania, where the waiters bring a slow roast chicken to your table, impaled on a sword and enveloped in a blue fire (they douse it with alcohol and set it alight). Then they cut it open on a wooden board at your table, bones crunching, juices sputtering. The skin is crunchy not because it has been deep-fried but because it has been slowly spit roast so that the fat has rendered leaving the skin brown and crispy. You tear into that chicken with your hands and alternate between it, the fresh garlic sauce, potatoes, pickled vegetables – frankly whatever is within reach because it is all so good.
Henne is a charming little place that serves fried chicken and coleslaw, the beer is good and they have outside tables that are a must in the summer. But really if you want to try some outstanding chicken you need to go to the Outlaw’s Hut or give Thomas Keller’s Lemon Brined Chicken a go.
10999 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
Tel.: 030 614 77 30
Tues – Sat from 19.00
Sunday from 17.00