“Hey look at th- AAAAHHH”. Whoops. We mistook one of the waiters for a ninja again. Upon descending the stairway leading into the underground maze called Zen Kichi near Friedrichstraße, you can’t help but feeling like Alice entering Wonderland. With the light dimmed down low, the path is surrounded by bamboo stems and dark woodwork while the encircling walls are largely covered by mirrors, creating the illusion of an endless fairytale forest that could house anything from ninjas to unicorns. Can’t say we’ve ever seen anything this cool before.
The harmonic interior was designed by Motoko Watanabe, the masterbrain behind Zen Kichi. While she’s responsible for the concept and the lion’s share of the work, her husband Shaul Margulies is the muscle in their tag team. Both Zen Kichi New York and Zen Kichi Berlin have been handbuilt by Shaul and just a bunch of helping hands!
The place stands out from your usual dining experience. Apart from stunning visuals and the intimate atmosphere the 35 separées create, there’s another thing that’s bound to leave you speechless: the dishes. Forget about your european-style sushi, Zen Kichi offers some culinary delights largely unheard of in this part of the hemisphere. We don’t want to give away too much, but be assured: Zen Kichi will take both you and your taste buds on a heavenly journey straight to Japan.
The culinary team is putting up a huge effort to serve you nothing but the best ingredients available. While the taste is japanese, the menu features many international treasures. We had fish from Alaska, apple-fed pork from Brandenburg, beef from Ireland and a fine selection of Sake from Japan, handpicked by Motoko herself. She’s also a Sake sommelier, so expect nothing but the best Sake in town.
Summing it up, Zen Kichi adds a promising new facet to Berlin’s culinary world. It’s not only a vivid experience for your tastebuds, it’s also a journey to another world of cool.
Here’s a short selection of the dishes we had:
Apple-Fed Pork Kalumi – original pork belly with simmered egg in a traditional sweet-dashi broth
Bamboo Tsukune Chicken – Japanese chicken meatball on bamboo served with soft egg dipping sauce
Hijiki – Japanese seaweed simmered in sweet sake and soy sauce
Grilled Saikyo Black Cod – Alaskan Black Cod in Zenkichi’s original Kyoto miso marinade
Rocksalt Jidori Chicken – Simply grilled free-range chicken with sprinkle lemon
Organic Beef Tataki – Organic filet mignon (rare) thinly sliced and lightly seared: served with ginger garlic soy sauce