The Berlin

The younger generation may not know that the City of Kitchener used to be the City of Berlin. Godmother S, healthy in her nineties, explained that the name changed during the first World War due to the anti-German movement. The Berlin, which opened at the end of 2015, was a highly anticipated addition to Downtown Kitchener. Its chef & owner, Johnathan Gushue, has a resume and story that naturally drew interest.

First Look:

The restaurant is long with an open-concept kitchen at the back. With a combination of exposed bricks, dark wood and ultra high ceilings, the place felt effortlessly grand. They also had round tables, which was a rare sight at non-Asian restaurants and I love it!

 

I enjoyed watching Julia & Julia.

Taking photos from their second level made me feel a little sneaky.

  

Herb wall designed by Living Fresh.

On the Table for Maple:

Starters –

Smoked Trout ($16)

Poached Egg & Greens ($16)

Spice Quail ($17)

Mains –

Elora Hen ($29)

Beef Chuck Steak ($35)

Atlantic Salmon ($29)

Desserts –

Dark Chocolate Mousse ($12)

Cracked Meringue ($10)

Coal Roasted Pear ($11)

Thoughts:

  • Why do restaurants serve cold bread?!
  • Egg could not have been poached anymore perfectly
  • Salmon was overly salted, the only unsatisfactory part of the meal
  • Steak was the obvious winner
  • How could they have ran out of duck by 6pm for dinner service?
  • Creamy heavenly house-made ice cream with interesting flavours
  • If you ever see milk jam on the menu you need to get it!!

  

Smoked trout with fennel, blood orange, basil and toasted almonds

Maitake mushroom and hazelnut ragout, slow poached hen’s egg, ragusano, dandelion greens and sour dough bread crumbs

Spiced quail, radish, celery and apple salad with goat yogurt and brown butter vinaigrette

Charred beef chuck steak, creamed salsify, coal roasted onion, crushed herb sauce

Elora hen, savoy cabbage, baby white turnip and bacon in a spice broth

Atlantic salmon, french green lentils, black kale, dried cranberries, toasted leeks and almonds

Dark chocolate mousse, marmalade ice cream, blue basil ice cream and pomegranate

Cracked meringue, ruby beet and cardamom ice cream, vanilla cream cheese and pink grapefruit

Coal roasted pear, milk jam, fennel ice and yogurt parfait

Verdict:

The mains were comparatively “regular” as the starters & desserts brought excitement to the table. The decor has obviously been thoughtfully crafted. They change their menu daily so do not expect to be able to order the same items as I did! The Berlin makes me look forward to the next meal there to see what else is up their sleeve. Being able to have “Langdon Hall quality” food at a fraction of the price is also a plus.

 

P.S. Speaking of history, did you know that Kitchener started the first blue-box recycling program in the world?! How amazing is that?!

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