A hole-in-the-wall gem, Tsu Tsu specializes in classic Japanese karaage fried chicken (and its vegan equivalent) on lively-yet-leafy Graefestraße. Despite opening right in the middle of the pandemic, business has been going well for owner Kazu who, attracted by the city’s music, moved from Tokyo to Berlin. Although Berlin was new terrain, running a restaurant was not: Kazu’s family have a background in gastronomy. His version of “JFC” comes with a little more crunch than the traditional Japanese version thanks to a special batter developed during dozens of tasting and tweaking sessions. It had to be perfect: in this era of food delivery, it’s vital that the fried pieces retain their crispness on the outside and juiciness on the inside. The menu is small and concise and hits all the right spots with the likes of Japanese beer and edamame. Tsu Tsu’s combo of dashi-onigiri rice balls and takuan (pickled daikon radish) is a no-brainer, but our favorite has to be the chicken nan-ban bowl over rice. Incidentally, the restaurant’s name comes from the Japanese letter ツ (pronounced tsu), endearingly used by many Westerners as a happy face to spread smiles during lockdown. Tsu tsu = double the love, and digging into our crispy fried chicken, we certainly felt it.
Text: Rei Matsuoka / Photos: Sophie Doering