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NOMU — SAKE BAR & RESTAURANT FEIERT DIE KULINARISCHE TRADITION JAPANS

NOMU — SAKE BAR & RESTAURANT FEIERT DIE KULINARISCHE TRADITION JAPANS

The stars were aligned and luck was on her side when Sarah Stein fell in love with a small vacated space she found in Wilmersdorf and reimagined it as Nomu, a contemporary sake bar and Japanese restaurant. Born and raised in San Francisco, Sarah grew up surrounded by top notch Asian foods and fell in love with Japanese cuisine and libations – so much so that she became a certified sake sommelier and shochu adviser. If you are a sake connoisseur yourself, you will immediately notice the traditional sugidama (cedar ball) hanging in the window when you arrive at Nomu. Sake breweries in Japan hang this ball of fresh green cedar branches to indicate that production is underway. The cedar slowly turns brown, reflecting the maturation process of the sake. When it turns completely brown, customers know the sake is ready.

Inside, the entire ceiling is covered with square masu cups made from Japanese cypress wood and oversized origami-inspired lights. From every corner of Nomu, you sense Sarah’s love and respect for Japanese craftsmanship: from custom-made ceramic wares and the two norens (traditional fabric dividers) hanging in the doorways to the handmade happis (kimono-style jackets) worn by the staff. This attention and care is also reflected in the standard of the sake and food. The selection includes over 30 handcrafted sakes, ranging from fruity and earthy to sparkling and sweet. They’re hand-selected by Sarah and many are sold nowhere else in Europe. Just ask sommelier Yurina Yokoi for recommendations or opt for the sake pairing with the seasonal six-course Omakase (chef’s tasting menu). Chef Shinya Matsumoto uses his decade-long experience to create delicate and authentic fare that includes difficult-to-find ingredients like ginkgo nuts, myoga, edible shiso flowers and kinome (Japanese pepper leaves). Dishes include octopus carpaccio with wasabi sauce, ankimo (a monkfish dish), lightly charred wagyu nigiri-sushi using imported Tanba-gyu beef, mackerel oshizushi (pressed sushi rolls), and uni tempura. The innovative menu is topped off with exceptional service and an intimate atmosphere that epitomizes Japanese hospitality. If you are looking for an authentic Japanese spot in Berlin, you’ve found it.

Text: Rei Matsuoka / Photos: Rene Riis & Yuto Yamada

Nomu Sake Bar, Ludwigkirchstr.3, 10719 Berlin–Wilmersdorf; map
Wed–Sun 18–22h

@nomusakebar

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FINE-DINING FROM UKRAINE: KYIV RESTAURANT MIRALI TAKES OVER HORVÁTH FOR A CHARITY DINNER

FINE-DINING FROM UKRAINE: KYIV RESTAURANT MIRALI TAKES OVER HORVÁTH FOR A CHARITY DINNER

Kreuzberg meets Kyiv: Michelin-starred restaurant Horváth is teaming up with Ukrainian fine-dining restaurant Mirali for a special charity dinner next Tuesday (10.05.2022). To help raise funds for those affected by the war, Hovárth’s head chef Sebastian Frank and his team are making way for Mirali Dilbazi and his team from the Kyiv eatery. The collab is something of a meeting of minds: “I’ve heard a lot about him. I would have preferred to get to know his cooking under different circumstances, but we are happy to be able to assist him in this way,” says Frank. You will be able to sample a dinner from the visiting chefs, with all proceeds donated to Ukrainian drinks retailer Good Wine which provides 400 ready-cooked meals a day to people in Kyiv. On the seven-course tasting menu is a selection of seasonal Ukrainian cuisine with matching wine and drinks. All Horváth’s employees will forgo their wages in order to support Good Wine and fund the purchase of food for the meals. If you want to join for this memorable night, you can book your table online.

Text: Alison Musch / Photos: Mirali, GoodWine & White Kitchen

Horváth, Paul-Lincke-Ufer 44a, 10999 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
You can reserve seats for the Charity Dinner on 10.05.2022 at 18h30 online.

@restauranthorvathberlin
@mirali.restaurant

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BAR NORMAL — PRENZLAUER BERG BISTRO FOR NATURAL WINES AND PERFECTLY-CRAFTED CUISINE

BAR NORMAL — PRENZLAUER BERG BISTRO FOR NATURAL WINES AND PERFECTLY-CRAFTED CUISINE

With its unpretentious bar food, excellent natural wines and contemporary art, Bar Normal is a Prenzlauer Berg highlight. During our visit, our neighbor’s Tuscan bean stew with burrata looked so good we had to order it right away. The beef short ribs with pumpkin and spicy relish were also a hit: tender, fragrant and beautifully plated. This elegant simplicity permeates the whole bar, which is warm and welcoming but understated, with minimalist yet comfortable seating. As for the menu, you could call the range of flavors European Fusion: Dutch bitterballen as a starter, French lemon chicken for main, and truly incredible deep-fried churros for dessert. There’s a wide-ranging natural wine list, and the service is attentive and friendly. The painting of the dreaming horse above the bar? That’s by Leonie Specht, we learned upon inquiry. It feels very Berlin, unshowy and yet surprisingly good. With this new wine bar, owner Van Anh Le manages what only a few have done: an excellent bistro without frills – in other words, completely normal. Leonie Specht’s art can be seen until 01.05.2022. A reservation is highly recommended.

Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Gehardt de Koekkoek

Bar Normal, Oderberger Str. / Kastanienallee, 10435 Berlin–Prenzlauer Berg; map
Wed–Sun 18h30–23h30

@barnormalberlin

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JÄGER & LUSTIG: FRESHLY-CAUGHT GAME, HEARTY GERMAN CLASSICS AND VEGGIE DISHES SERVED IN COZY COUNTRY-STYLE SURROUNDINGS

JÄGER & LUSTIG: FRESHLY-CAUGHT GAME, HEARTY GERMAN CLASSICS AND VEGGIE DISHES SERVED IN COZY COUNTRY-STYLE SURROUNDINGS

With more and more fancy and eclectic dining experiences popping up in Berlin, I sometimes yearn for solid, traditional German dishes. Jäger & Lustig in Friedrichshain offers just that and more: it is one of the few places in Berlin focused on wild game meat hunted in the surrounding forests of Berlin and Brandenburg. On the menu are flavorful fresh meats such as venison, rabbit, duck and wild boar prepared in authentic German style. The relaxed candlelit interior has a cozy mountain lodge restaurant feel, with dark ceilings and wood wall panels in muted earth tones decorated with rustic deer antlers and taxidermies. Outside, half of the space is a beer garden – perfect for a pit stop after work for a quick drink and some snacks – while the other half serves the same dishes as the restaurant. The location has seen many phases: in GDR times it was known as the only wild game restaurant in East Berlin, where elites would hunt and bring their kill to be served later that day. After the wall came down, the venue housed a number of businesses including a gallery and a heavy metal music venue before reopening as a restaurant in 2019.

As well as German staples such as Königsberger Klopse, Berliner Leber, Jägergulasch and Brandenburger veal schnitzel, the menu features yummy vegetarian options including seasonal white and green asparagus. One of the specialties is Sunday roast (Sonntagsbraten), but make sure you come early: when it’s gone, it’s gone. Everything here is made in-house and chef Sven Jahn uses his own grandmother’s recipes, lending the menu a touch of home cooked authenticity. Though vegan and vegetarian diets continue to increase in popularity, game meats are making their mark in the culinary industry for their health benefits (lower cholesterol, higher Omega-3 fatty acids) and flavor. All this goodness is served up in style by manager Ansgar Niklas for a feast that’s fit for the hungriest of hunters.

Text: Rei Matsuoka / Photos: The Dude for Food

Jäger & Lustig, Grünberger Str.1, 10243 Berlin–Friedrichshain; map
Mon–Sat 12–0h, Sun 12–22h30

@jaegerundlustig

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NY-STYLE BAGELS, CHALLAH AND BABKA — DELI CLASSICS AT MASHA’S

NY-STYLE BAGELS, CHALLAH AND BABKA — DELI CLASSICS AT MASHA’S

If you’re looking for an authentic New York taste experience right here in Berlin, Masha’s Bagels & Delicatessen has to be high on your list. Founder Alex opened this “Modern Jewish Deli” in July 2021 after starting to miss the delicious, freshly baked bagels she knew from her former NYC neighborhood. The selection at the Treptow cafe includes the classic salmon and cream cheese as well as more adventurous sweet bagels with peanut butter and jelly, and even vegan tofu and rocket. Alex bakes everything herself, including Jewish babka cakes and challah bread, with partner Nick in the kitchen to help make the perfect bagels. If you are one of the (surely rare) people who doesn’t like bagels, I’d heartily recommend the grilled cheese sandwich which consists of a trio of cheeses on toasted challah braided bread along with the surprising addition of homemade kimchi. As for the name Masha, it is a dedication to Alex’s grandmother, whose nickname was Masha or, as they say in Brooklyn, “Marcia”.

Text: Annika Hillig / Photos: Sophie Doering

Masha’s Bagels & Delicatessen, Bouchestr.15, 12435 Berlin–Treptow; map
Wed–Sun, 9–16h

@mashasbagels

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