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CELL: FINE DINING DELIGHT IN NINE STEPS

CELL: FINE DINING DELIGHT IN NINE STEPS

Oyster, sea buckthorn, spirulina, buckwheat koji. Clams, rutabaga, buckwheat, yuzu. Char, rutabaga, lardo, mustard. The nine courses of young Russian chef Evgeny Vikentev’s “Time Steps” menu (and its vegetarian equivalent, “Roots Religion”) on offer at Cell on Uhlandstraße not only read like poetry; they also present as carefully-composed works of edible art that surprise and delight. The concept is neat: each dish — well-portioned, paced and presented — adopts one element from the preceding one. Vikentev (of Hamlet & Jacks in St. Petersburg) and his international kitchen transcend geographical borders to showcase their culinary creativity and dexterity. A pairing of six wines – chosen by sommeliers Pascal Kunert and Henriette Dreger from the extensive list, which focuses on German and French winemakers, is recommended to accompany the evening. The atmosphere — with its plush, warm-toned textiles and linens — sets a chic but laid-back tone that’s elevated by the impeccable service. Come on a special occasion when you have someone to treat. This is fine dining at its relaxed, playful best. (Text: Anna Dorothea Ker / Photos: Anna Dorothea Ker)

Cell, Uhlandstr.172, 10719 Berlin-Charlottenburg; map
Tue-Sat 18-21.30h

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SIMSIM — DELVING INTO LEVANTINE CUISINE & CULTURE

SIMSIM — DELVING INTO LEVANTINE CUISINE & CULTURE

The corner spot on Husemannstraße – previously home to the iconic GDR-era Restauration 1900 – stood empty until two Palestinian brothers opened their authentic and hospitable eatery at the end of 2018. Simsim (“Sesame”) presents an elegant array of Levantine cuisine, taking inspiration from the fine ingredients and culinary traditions of Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. The tapas-style dishes — best shared among family and friends — include interesting and flavorful modern adaptations of savory classics such as hummus, tabbouleh and lamb. We recommend Muhammara (walnut and red pepper dip), Wara’enab (stuffed grape leaves), Arnabeet Mekle (cauliflower marinated with lemon) and, if you have room, the Halawet Jibn dessert, made from semolina, mozzarella and pistachios. The love the kitchen team has for their culture and their cooking is mirrored in the cozy interior of the restaurant, making for a delectable heart- and belly warming experience. Breakfast and lunch menus to follow. (Text: Jasmin Tomschi / Photos: Pamina Aichhorn)

Simsim Levantine Eatery, Husemannstr.1, 10435 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg; map
Tue-Thu 17-23h, Fri-Sat 17-24h, Sun 17-23h

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ZEITREISE IN EIN JAHRZEHNT DER DEKADENZ: GRILL ROYAL

ZEITREISE IN EIN JAHRZEHNT DER DEKADENZ: GRILL ROYAL

Love it or hate it, the cult status of Grill Royal in Berlin’s culinary and celebrity circuits is undeniable. For the ritzy steak house’s 10th birthday, Distanz has published a new coffee table book in German and English which pays tribute to its legacy. The publication features candid photo series showing guests at various stages of their meals (and after) taken by the likes of Maxime Ballesteros and Robert Rieger. Interwoven is a feature on the establishment’s history, a conversation about wine with sommelière Andrea Kauk and co-owner Moritz Estermann, a highly technical tribute to meat and many more juicy tidbits. If you haven’t yet stepped foot inside, we can guarantee that by the time you’re through with this book, your fingers will be itching to dial the reservation line — that’s +49 30 2887 9288. (Text: Anna Dorothea Ker / Photos [clockwise]: Maxime Ballesteros, Robert Rieger, Pamina Aichhorn)

Grill Royal, Friedrichstr.105b, 10117 Berlin-Mitte, map
Daily 18-23.30h
“Grill Royal — The Place People Love to Hate” (Distanz, 2018), available here.

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BOMBAY CAFÉ BUNTY’S — A NEW ERA FOR INDIAN CUISINE IN BERLIN

BOMBAY CAFÉ BUNTY’S — A NEW ERA FOR INDIAN CUISINE IN BERLIN

In the 19th century, the city of Mumbai (then Bombay) heaved with grand dining rooms run by Parsi emigrants. Nicknamed Bombay or Irani cafés, they served diverse traditional dishes, each with their own signature flair. This is the concept of Charlottenburg’s new haunt, Bunty’s, which opened in October 2018. Owner Suhasish “Bunty” Chakraborty and head chef Rajbir Singh have designed the menu to read like a culinary journey through the Indian subcontinent, adapting to market availability, seasonality and dietary preferences. We began with delicately spiced housemade chai and a fresh mango lassi before indulging our taste buds in an extravaganza of rich spices, textures and flavors. Our main course featured battered kale served with tamarind chutney, mint yoghurt and pomegranate, followed by marinated fish steamed in banana leaves and a South Indian hopper (a thin, crispy pancake made from rice flour and coconut milk) with vegetable curry. The service here is as warm as the food is satisfying; the interior embodies a pared back elegance. We’re calling it: Bunty’s is single-handedly ushering in a new era for refined Indian dining in Berlin. (Text: Anna Dorothea Ker / Photos: Pamina Aichhorn)

Bombay Café Bunty’s, Knesebeckstr.18, 10623 Berlin-Charlottenburg; map

Tue-Fri 12-23h, Sat-Sun 17-23h

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MOLECULAR MADE MODERN: HAUTE LEVANTINE CUISINE AT PRISM

MOLECULAR MADE MODERN: HAUTE LEVANTINE CUISINE AT PRISM

Since Glass closed in early 2018, food critics have been waiting with bated breath for Gault Millau-awarded Israeli chef Gal Ben-Mosche’s next move. The answer is Prism, and the concept consists of the same trademark quality and creativity made a notch more accessible. Don’t be fooled by the dramatic interior and theatrical lighting — the service here is friendly. One of Germany’s top 50 sommelières, Jacqueline Lorenz is as affable as she is knowledgeable; particularly impressive is her range of Middle Eastern wines. The smoky Château Ksara Chardonnay Cuvée du Pape 2015 from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley superbly balances with the first round of the (fairly priced) “social menu” (all eight dishes presented as sharing plates over three courses): Armenian cucumber with sesame, labneh and sumac, chopped liver with foie gras, apple and onion and yellowfin tuna with okra, purslane and jameed. And to finish? The evocative “olive oil, mandarin, almond” dessert embodies the finesse and vision of this talented young chef. (Text: Anna Dorothea Ker / Photos: Ben Fuchs)

Prism, Fritschestr.48, 10627 Berlin-Charlottenburg; map

Thu-Mon 18-24h

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