We had an ominous beginning with Kimchi Princess. We made reservations on the weekend of 24th-25th of September. Got into the car, stomachs rumbling, thinking half an hour from Mitte to Kreuzberg was entirely reasonable. 2 hours later after driving to the far ends of Berlin and still not being able to take a right and dizzy with hunger we ended up at an upmarket Italian called Adnan in Charlottenburg picking over an enormous oval sized pizza.
We called some local friends to find out the reason for the chaos. “What? You’re out?!” they laughed at us. “It’s the Berlin Marathon. No one leaves their house by car this weekend!”
What I really craved (that night and on a daily basis) was spicy food, variety, texture and a bit of fun. That’s what you get at Kimchi Princess. It’s not the best Korean food I’ve ever had but it’s pretty good, really good-by Berlin standards (I often find flavours here dulled down).
The Bibimbap is generous, with rice that is well cooked and forms a satisfying crust at the bottom. There are a lot of vegetables, not enough meat and a fried egg with a runny centre plopped on top of it all. It comes with 4-5 dishes of Kimchi and pickles. The vinegary daikon with black sesame and the sliced cucumber kimchi are my favourites.
Kimchi Princess makes me think of a Wagamama gone bad, like a fuzzy little Mogwai that get’s splashed with water and turns into a Gremlin. The bench seating is there but it’s dark wood and entirely more basic, without the central legs that makes Wagamama benches so easy to slide in and out of. More than 2/3 of the lighting is red neon, which makes you feel like you are in a nightclub not a restaurant (also makes it hard to take pictures). And it’s smelly, oh so smelly, all that meat frying around you, no extraction. You leave imbued with meat and kimchi aroma, to the point that it would be an imposition to the other viewers if you went to the movies afterwards.
The service is odd, not unfriendly but a little bit distracted. As a table of six on Saturday, 4 of us got our Bibimbap after 20 minutes and the two that had ordered the BBQ had to wait another half an hour. Another time when it was just the two of us we waited 45 minutes for our Bibimbap. I guess the rule of thumb is go hungry but not starving.
Stingy bibimbap meat portions, smelliness and service aside, Kimchi Princess is fast becoming one of our regular dinner haunts. It’s a great place to go with a group of friends, the Korean eating style lends itself to informal group eating.
If you go on the weekend, it’s best to reserve. Oh and expect to wash your hair after you get home.
Skalitzer Strasse 36 / Ecke Manteuffelstrasse
Berlin – Kreuzberg
Tues-Sun 18:00 – 23:00 (not open for lunch)
T. (0)163 4580203