Skykitchen, Restaurant, Berlin, Germany
Alexander Hoppe has Richard’s deer. Which is funny because a few days before I finally made it to Skykitchen Berlin, I visited Richard, another Michelin star restaurant in Berlin, and there was no deer there – see here my review about Richard Richard, Restaurant, Berlin
Not that you should get the impression that I go exclusively to starred restaurants, but Berlin makes it quite easy, given that there are a total of 21 restaurants with altogether 28 stars – more than any other city in Germany and currently in 12th place in the world, and in Europe coming in right after Paris, London, and Brussels at number four! This said, I do not think that restaurants are necessarily better just because they have a star. There are many I’ve visited in past years they would easily get one from me, if I were a tester. But there are many cities and places in world that Michelin does not even test. And since I’m not ruining the career of a chef or a winemaker because I may not like what I’m served, with my recommendations you can take them or leave them. A friend from Los Angeles recently visited Brawn in London (Brawn, Restaurant, London) and enjoyed it very much. It is not listed among the almost 80 restaurants with a star there. And it’s certainly interesting to see how different all of the Berlin Michelin star restaurants are – or what makes them similarly unique on the other hand. This kind of field research is best done in my current hometown.
Skykitchen is special, no question. Firstly, if you’re staying in or live in the west part of the city of Berlin, Skykitchen’s location it is more or less in the diaspora. For someone who comes from Zehlendorf, this is almost a trip to Frankfurt / Oder, a city on German-Polish border. For people who live in Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg or Weissensee, it is in an unusual direction (not toward Mitte), but relatively close, namely on the Landsberger Allee, near the Velodrom and the old slaughterhouses. But the name then clearly holds the promise: you dine on the twelfth floor of the surprisingly well-appointed hotel Vienna House Adel’s Berlin. From every seat you can look out over the cosmopolitan city of Berlin. Super cool, great view, really! The atmosphere of the restaurant is very pleasant, modern but not over the top, all a bit dark, even cozy in a sense. A structure standing in the middle, into which you can see through a few windows, houses the kitchen, so, the actual center of the action. But you’ll be so mesmerized by the views of the illuminated city and the TV tower in the distance that you won’t bother to watch the cooking in any case. For example, in Nobelhardt & Schmutzig (Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Restaurant, Berlin (2. report)) or at Layla (Layla, Restaurant, Berlin) it’s the other way around — since you can’t see much out of the windows, you therefore watch the cooks work and you listen to Billy Wagner’s explanations of his newest wine discoveries. Although outside the city vibrates, I very much enjoyed the prevailing peace in Skykitchen very much. The noise level is pleasantly low.
The menu is pragmatic. Basically, there are about 15 different choices, which you can – of course, in a certain predetermined order – choose from. I find that extremely pleasant, not only because often four or five courses are enough. Also since sometimes you want to be able to choose something from the vegetarian menu to try, but then what you are faced with in many other restaurants is that – for whatever good or bad reasons – you must keep dogmatically to one menu selection. Anyway, flexibility is not a foreign word here, The products, ingredients, preparations, and combinations have a lot to do with Berlin and Brandenburg, but are pleasantly not so much driven by “great organic”, “great alternative”, “great regional regional” – prepared and presented in a very classic way.
Very good sauces and broths, perfect crayfish, char on Spreewald cucumber or just the deer! Perhaps certain dishes lack finesse, one or the other, which could make it more extraordinary but without which Alexander Hoppe would have to give up his style.
For example, the dessert with salted milk and honey from Berlin was a bit disappointing– somewhat boring and uninspiring.
As I said before, you’d think that you wouldn’t concentrate so much on the food in Skykitchen — because of the great view. But that’s actually not the case: at the latest when the sommelier introduces himself (by the name of Jacub Koszielniak) and when one has a first glance at the wine list, it becomes really extraordinary and exciting. It’s funny to think how well the location of the restaurant, in the east of the city, fits the geography of the wine selection — and the origin of Jacub, namely Danzig.
With two exceptions, we drank only two wines from countries east and southeast of Germany: Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and yes, be amazed, even from Poland. Let’s be honest: who of us would have ever picked a wine from Poland? Everything, but not wine from Poland. I don’t like the wines from the Czech Republic, or perhaps a better way to put it: I’ve never had a wine there that really convinced me. And then … a journey through the unknown wine regions seems to us (well, wine-wise I know Slovenia and Austria quite well) — and?
It works! Not that I drank the very best wines of my life, but just the surprise itself of these discoveries is huge, and for me clearly the highlight of the evening. I still can’t believe it, but the best and most interesting wine came from Poland. The name is Solaris, from a winery called Turnau.
And now comes the hammer: 40 km south of Szczecin, so northeast of Berlin! You just do not want to believe it, it’s almost on your doorstep. I’ve been scouring the internet now, and this is no fairy tale. (https://www.winnicaturnau.pl/de). I will go there in spring and report back. I’m full of praise for their courage! This is an intrepid, farsighted and truly rare selection of wines that broaden the horizons. Even though I’m not an expert, I think that you could complement the menu with wines from Slovenia, Hungary, and maybe even Romania. Great! To make a long story short, venture out on a trip to East Berlin, the food is at least as good as the view, and if it’s foggy, then go on a wine trip. If you are as brave as the restaurateurs, let’s get into the wine recommendations – even if one of them may be a wine you (think you) don’t like.
(the picture of interior has been take from http://www.dreimeta.com/skybar/ – I hope this is ok)