EDIT: Jung, Grün & Blau was a temporary project which closed its doors in October 2013. You’ll find its successor Ernst HERE.
Jung, Grün & Blau is a private restaurant in Moabit, which just opened it’s doors to the public. An opportunity for a stunning dinner experience by a spectacularly mature 19-year old chef and his crew, this project is sure to be one of the most sophisticated, simplistic and exiting food experiences in Berlin right now.
One day, a guy called Dylan contacted me, wondering if I would like to come by and visit his new, private eatery. I remember the email clearly as it made a lasting impression on me. It was not your average request, it was a thorough summary of the chef’s culinary history and style, emphasising how he needed to tell his whole story in order for me to understand his concept. After I finished reading, I had to go back to the beginning to make sure I hadn’t misread the first sentence. Was I drunk or did he really say that he’s only 19 years? Nope, that’s indeed what he claimed. Which is a bit hard to grasp considering his achievements so far: He started his cooking career in a French restaurant in his Canadian home town when he was 14 years old, moved to Tokyo after his seventeenth birthday and started working as the first white chef at Ryugin, moved on to New York to work in kitchens like Per Se, Daniel and Eleven Madison Park, took a job as a Pastry Chef at Ryugin Tokyo and then spent three month at infamous Noma in Copenhagen. A typical chef resumé? Maybe for a 30 year old, but not a 19 year old, we’re talking about some of the world’s most famous restaurants. I felt deeply intrigued, replying immediately. And that’s how I got to experience the story of Jung, Grün & Blau.
Behind the project are Dylan, Maria and Sam. All aged under 20. A couple of months ago Dylan moved to Berlin to live with his lovely girlfriend Maria and start his own culinary project. Along came his old friend Sam and the project Jung, Grün und Blau was born. Occasionally they have other friends helping out. Why the move? Because he felt restrained in the restaurants he’s been working at. The dinners were chosen to take place in a spacious open kitchen space in Moabit, which has been decorated with a beautiful dining table and set of chairs. The open kitchen is right next to the table and you will be able to watch your food being prepared and plated in real time. And this is not just any home kitchen, equipped with sweet toys like a Paco Jet and a steamer this crew is able to crank out food on a very high level. The guys even experiment in growing their own herbs in the space, which then are incorporated into the menu. The row of windows leaves you a great view on the neighbourhood and on a hot night the huge window doors open up the whole space.
Jung, Grün & Blau is a supper club style-like concept where small parties of up to 6 people are served a contemporary menu based on seasonal and regional produce accompanied by German wines. Menus are conceived by chef Dylan and the foundation is contemporary French with strong, Japanese influences. The result is a 15+ course dining experience which seeks it’s equal in Berlin when it comes to something I’d like to call sophisticated simplicity. Dishes are often just small bites, which look very simple, but the true complexity is revealed upon consuming the dish in combination with Dylan’s story behind his creation. It’s only then you realize just what kind of culinary level you just experienced. His strong focus on using the highest quality produce and letting this produce speak for itself without enhancing flavours beyond a certain point is reflected in every bite. This might during the course of the meal leave you with a “Is this it?” feeling but will also in the end leave you with a utterly cleansing dinner experience. A lot of the cooking around us is about in-your-face-flavours which actually make us forget how a perfect carrot really tastes like. Don’t worry, Dylan will remind you about that and much more.
For example how a broccoli stem tastes like. Or a carrot bouillon. Or highest quality goat cheese with outstanding olive oil. He hit my weak spot by challenging me to guess what I was eating before he revealed the produce (I love blind tasting and I’m fiercely competitive). I had to give up on both the broccoli stem and the meat tartare that was served though. The meat was absolutely intriguing, very smooth and lean, but I just couldn’t place it, both my veal and E’s very good rabbit guess turned out to be wrong. In the end he revealed it to be baby goat and I was blown away, it’s a cut you never ever get and that’s incomprehensible because it is fantastic meat. Lean and smooth but yet full of flavour, hardly distinguishable as goat. A true revelation. Later on we also got to try the racks which were equally stunning and left us (literally) nibbling the last meat of the bones. Equally great was the chef’s signature dish, a japanese rice cracker (washed/overcooked/fried rice) with a 60 degree Moran egg yolk, or the lemon peel ice cream on a burnt lemon peel sablé.
As much as I loved the dinner I can see that some might not appreciate this food. It’s harshly simplistic and very different to the bold and often artificially enhanced flavours we encounter on a daily basis. It might leave you under-stimulated, maybe even wondering if the flavours really were supposed to be that mild. Now, if you feel this way, I strongly encourage you to close your eyes, take another bite and consider that you are experiencing a pure form of the produce you just were served. You need to think beyond your current taste set and open your mind for simplicity. I also had those feelings during parts of the meal, and some of the dishes are also simply underseasoned. But that’s ok, because in the end it all just makes so much sense and you will leave the meal feeling oddly cleansed. Both physically and spiritually.
There was not a single bad dish during our dinner. And that in a 18 course meal. Truly remarkable, that hardly ever happens, and yet not really a surprise considering the chef and his crew’s utterly professional execution of dinner service with a no-room-for-errors attitude. Jung, Grün & Blau was one of the most humbling dinner experiences I had in years. My friends and me were all touched by this showcase of passion, perfectionism and love this crew of 19-year olds just had shown us.
Forget Michelin star restaurants. Forget the supper club concept as you know it. At least for a while. Dylan Watson and his crew are here to leave a mark on the city’s culinary face. Experience it while you can, this is a temporary project and he won’t be here forever. I sure as hell can’t wait until I go back. Because I can’t help but thinking, that this might be a unique chance to experience a private dinner by one of the future’s world-class chefs. Something you can look back on for the rest of your life. Wouldn’t that be remarkable?