Fischers Fritz, 2* Michelin Food, Mitte

In anticipation of dinner at Fischer Fritz: I gave myself a manicure, bought myself a new dress and dusted off my vintage Chanel shoes.

I need not have bothered.

And I will tell you why.

My perception of restaurant dining is an equation that goes roughly something like this price + food + interior design + cutlery + service.  Price point is the first and key determinator because it sets up expectations.  If you are being charged €4 for a sandwich or €65 for lobster two ways, it’s safe to say, your satisfaction threshold will be vastly lower for the first option.  (A few weeks ago, a friend and I donated some cakes to an event here in Berlin and everyone swore up and down that they were the best cakes they had ever eaten; nothing tastes quite as delicious as a freebie!)

Expensive lobster, a €110 4 course tasting menu (€150 for 6 courses) add to that 8+ waiters, heavy silver cutlery and a water menu and I was anticipating some superlative food.

But the food turned out to be much like the dining room itself which featured grand chandeliers, wood-paneled walls, plush carpeting and table flower arrangements of large red roses with their stems cut off in bronze coloured bowls, in a word: old-fashioned. Read more of this post

Restaurant Tim Raue, Kreuzberg

I understand now why I thought that Uma at the Adlon, Kempinski was a bit average (see what I thought of it here).  Because when Tim Raue left to open his own place, he took all the kitchen staff bar two. And most of the front of house. And the guest data base (making an educated guess here). And most importantly, himself.

The new place, behind checkpoint Charlie and across the street from trendy Sale e Tabacchi is technically Kreuzberg but feels like Mitte.  The interior looked cold and sober in the images I saw on the internet, like a Swedish airport business lounge from the 50′s.  In reality, the felt fabric on the swivel chairs and banquette, the warm hued American walnut tables and the soft lighting all make it comfortable, elegant and contemporary.

It’s a large restaurant, I would guess 200 sqm, but it doesn’t feel cavernous.  The furniture language changes ever so slightly as you move around, breaking up the linear monotony.  It was a far cry from the very “Asian” feel of Uma which feels almost Disneyfied.  As you go down the stairs to the bar and toilettes, there is a wall crammed full of chinese type porcelain and the women’s toilet has a bright red laquer table and Yue Minjun paintings (pricey paintings these, his piece Execution became the most expensive work ever by a Chinese contemporary artist, when sold in 2007 for £2.9 million).*

The  kitchen is huge, with glass fronted fridges, visible through a large glass window from the Krug table.  The restaurant recommends it for parties of 4 or more and there is no extra fee levied for sitting there.

I liked the choice of waiting staff (apparently the domain of Raue’s wife).  They are all real people, no waifish vacuous aspiring actresses, models or singers here, thank god!  Great attention to detail, young, attentive but not intrusive.  Our dinner companions were delayed flying in from Vienna, so we killed an hour chatting with our waiter and filling up on Berlin restaurant gossip and the pickled vegetables, spiced nuts, and sesame dressed field lettuce salad.  I was struck by how much they adore their head chef, I had the impression that they would walk into a burning building if Raue asked them to. Read more of this post

Uma, Berlin

On Friday, my hubby treated me for dinner at the Chinese restaurant UMA.  Everyone get’s so excited about this restaurant so I was really looking forward to it.  

Being…well, having been a Londoner that ate regularly at the likes of Hakkasan, Yauatcha, and the lesser known but equally excellent Dinnings - Uma had some big shoes to fill.  

First impression - get rid of the leggy blond in tight plastic leggings and knee high boots that sneers at you when you dare to enter into her lair.  No, I know, they need her there to scare away the riff raff.  Except that night I was  the riff raff having come straight from playing with my daughter in the park, with sand wedged between my toes, no make up - the list of fashion misdemeanours is too long to continue but you are getting the picture right?  

And this is definitely the kind of place that you need to get dressed up for and change from your day bag to your evening bag (Ha! as if I have one).  To prove this point, a gaggle of twenty something women strutted in looking like they had come straight off the set of Sex in the City.  There was 80′s girl with a short crop and off the shoulder blue dress.  There was a “romantic” one with her hair twisted jauntily on the side of her nape, a bilious white blouse and high waisted black skirt.  And a tan barbie - I mean girl - tan bare shoulders shimmering with sparkles.  Note to the wise, take a little time to dress up so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb.  

Although my husband made a good point - it’s cooler to be dressed down because it implies that you visit these kind of restaurants all the time so you don’t feel you need to make the effort.  A bit how celebrities are always papped shopping in flip flops and torn shorts.  

We were seated behind the horse under that glass atrium.  First criticism is that the atmosphere may be nice at night but as these days it’s getting dark at 10 pm it’s rather disconcerting to be eating in such bright light.  Second, there is no music so I could listen in on other people’s conversation and vice versa.  

Atmosphere is paramount but ultimately I am interested in the food.  What did I think? It’s OK.

We had:

steamed edamame with maldon sea salt (sadly-my favorite dish of the evening, really sour and salty)

raw marinated salad of fennel with algae and apple (beautiful to look at but tasted medicinal)

japanese pizza with tuna and wasabi (Yuk! Thin potato pancake slathered with 1 mm of mayonnaise, and decorated with slices of ginger? and a few cubes of tuna - and it’s expensive!)

lobster spring roll (OK, nothing really exceptional here, it could have just as well been a bit of langoustine a waste of lobster if  you ask me)

black cod with miso and leaves of shiso (120g / 220g) (no crispy top, the flesh was eerily mushy and the sauce zig zagged on top added nothing)

shabu shabu of bison filet   (three pieces of succulent tender meat, delicious, the accompanying sauce is on the sweet side)

steamed rice  (shameful, reminiscent of Uncle Ben’s boil in a bag)

a chocolate dessert (fine)

a hibiscus flower dessert (very pretty, very small, very average)

Apparently Tim Raue has left to open his own place so that may have contributed to the less than stellar performance.  A kitchen without a head chef is just like an army with no general - it doesn’t work.  And who knows, maybe Tim poached the best people for his own place.  Or maybe they were just having an off day.  All those guides can’t be wrong can they?  

So I will certainly try it again.  

And if you go - don’t get suckered into ordering that Japanese pancake!

Address: Behrenstraße 72
10117 Berlin
030 1117333


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