Tim Raue is the flagship Michelin Star restaurant by the Berlin chef by the same name. With a unique food concept heavily inspired by multiple Asian cuisines, Tim Raue delivers a dining experience out of the ordinary and proves why his restaurant has risen to one of the Germany’s top food destinations.
The concept of a Michelin Star restaurant in Berlin that serves Asian inspired food is something I’ve always found a bit hard to grasp, especially since the head chef himself isn’t actually Asian. I’ll let a quote from their website describe the concept for you: “For our diners, this means that we stay true to our style and serve Asian cuisine which can be characterised as a combination of Japanese product perfection, Thai aromas and Chinese cooking philosophy.”. In other words, some of the best traits of Asian cooking delivered by a guy from Kreuzberg.
A guy whose restaurant ranks no. 52 on the 2015 San Pellegrino list
To write about the restaurant Tim Raue you have the know the story behind the man Tim Raue. A kid with a tough childhood in Kreuzberg that used his hard earned learnings to excel in the equally tough world of fine dining kitchens. A guy that now runs one of the four Berlin two star restaurants with his wife and has 19 points in the Gault Milieu. Which by the way can be put into relation as only four chefs in Germany have a higher rating. And last, but not least, a guy whose restaurant ranks no. 52 on the 2015 San Pellegrino list and the only restaurant on the list. And who cooks Asian-inspired food, just to point that out one last time.
The first thing that strikes you are the casual waiters, dressed in matching jeans and sneakers
The Tim Raue restaurant is located close to Checkpoint Charlie in an old gallery, which the Raue couple turned into a classy restaurant with around 40 seats and where the only thing that separates the kitchen from the dining area is a huge glass wall. This fact also revealed to me once how the kitchen crew were watching a football game in the kitchen on a big screen during service. I loved that. The first thing that always strikes me at Tim Raue are the casual waiters, dressed in matching jeans and sneakers, a statement by Raue making it very clear how this is his turf and that he doesn’t play by regular, fine-dining rules. He likes to keep it a notch more casual than others.
At Tim Raue you can usually choose between two menus or even order a la carte which is also a way of not having to do the full monty if you pay him a visit. Menus usually have around 6 courses, which is not too much in comparison to other tasting menus but considering the amount of amouse-bouches and greetings from the pastry chef we received you will not have to walk home hungry. The meal is kicked off by a starting “platter” of 8 tiny dishes which all are served at once, you can call it a little buffet of snacks. This fantastic selection of small taste bites, designed to stimulate your taste buds and your mind, really set the standard of the upcoming meal for me. Salmon sashimi, paperthin slivers of pork belly cooked into a butter-like consistency that melts in your mouth, and all the dishes with various Asian tastes.
You will be pampered with ingredients like kaviar, lobster, truffle and diamond label Wagyu beef
The main courses maintain a very high quality level and if you go for the classic menu you will be pampered with ingredients like kaviar, lobster, truffle and diamond label Wagyu beef, the finest grade Wagyu there is. A friend recently reminded me of the beauty of a Michelin Star experience: You will always get at least one dish which blows your socks off, which pushes past the barriers of your imagination and leaves a lasting memory on your taste palette. At Tim Raue this would for me be the blue lobster dish. Paired with passion fruit and a carrot mash this sounds rather simple and actually nothing that struck me as particularly interesting on the first glance since I’m usually not that fond of fruit-powered dishes. But it was such a brilliant combination of textures and flavours which quickly shut me up and revised that stubborn fruit perception. The buttery lobster combined with the acidity from the passion fruit worked perfectly and it still lingers on my tongue when I think about it. A true winner. The other dishes should not be neglected though, I loved the Kaviar starter and the fish dish with the 10-year aged soy sauce was also truly fantastic. Not to forget the diamond label Wagyu which was an exceptional piece of meat. And it is awesome to finally again encounter a talented pastry chef.
Tim Raue delivers in terms of both food and dining experience. I found the service to be exceptional and very relaxed, the waiters were all quite young but very friendly and professional. Certain lack of attention at times but nothing that hurt the overall experience. The sommelier was also exceptional, I’m a big fan of dry German white wines and I asked him for the driest he had in stock. He then served me a Grauburgunder which made my toenails curl (out of dry pleasure).
Most of the food is very good and that the dining experience is well orchestrated, and isn’t that really what matters in the end?
I’m not surprised at all that Raue received his second star in the Guide Michelin 2013 and thereby joined the ranks of Fischers Fritz, Reinstoff and Lorenz Adlon. In relation to others I find it to be justified and he is certainly running one of Berlin’s best fine dining restaurants. The German restaurant critics of Gault Milieu always love it, scoring him higher than all other chefs in their elaborate 20-point system. Personally, I would pick Tim Raue over Reinstoff any day, his concept feels slightly more mature and both him and his staff feel slightly more confortable in their roles, resulting in a better dining experience. Tim Raue is a difficult case for me, on the one hand I look down a bit on the fact that someone cooks Asian fine dining food in Berlin without anyone in the kitchen staff having an Asian background. I know that people who have spent significant time in Asia have a really hard time with this restaurant. Totally understandable, it’s weird. But then you can also not deny that most of the food is very good and that the dining experience is well orchestrated, and isn’t that really what matters in the end?