The Berlin, Kitchener, Ontario
The press release read “THE BERLIN is not your average neighbourhood restaurant”. Quite an understatement for a restaurant with Chef Jonathan Gushue at the culinary helm.
Located in the heart of downtown Kitchener, Ontario, across the road from the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts (home of the KW Symphony) and down the street from both CBC and a large cluster of now-well-known IT businesses. it has become a destination for food that speaks to the region’s traditions and excellent service. Hospitality veteran Ryan Lloyd-Craig has partnered with Chef Gushue to make this one of the most comfortable restaurants we’ve been to in ages.
Berlin was the original name of Kitchener because it has so many immigrants of Germanic heritage. Go to the venerable Kitchener Market on Saturdays when it’s at its busiest and you’ll still hear German being spoken.
The open kitchen, with one wall of herbs which the chefs routinely “trim”, is pure entertainment. There are a limited number of Chefs Table seats. Or you can relax at long bar. There the bar tender crafts not only cocktails but a number of totally unique house made sodas. They are a non-drinker’s dream! The root beer is sparked with anise, ginger and, of course, sarsaparilla. The cola is rich with molasses, coriander and brown sugar but brightened with lemon and lime zest.
The menu is printed daily and changes constantly so bring your spirit of adventure AND an appetite. The evening we were there the winter leek salad was tossed with chunks of roasted cauliflower, baby arugula and hazelnut dressing.
Another spectacular dish was a small pot of duck confit thickly embedded under a layer of salted cream and foie gras parfait. The grass fed beef was served with coal-roasted onion and a crushed herb sauce.
The pickerel was grilled to make it’s skin glisten golden and set atop semolina noodles, grainy mustard and braised chestnuts which a young chef spent most of the evening peeling by hand for the next day’s service. At a recent lunch, the chefs grilled rapini and garlic to serve on toast with shaved Pecorino.
Dessert is equally imaginative. There’s always some sort of deconstructed pie paying homage to the heritage of Waterloo County. That night it was milk chocolate and caramel with espresso ice. Winter pears were being coal-roasted to pair with milk ‘jam’, fennel ice and yogurt parfait. They age their own honey, something we’ve never seen before, to serve with cheeses.
The Berlin is one of about 250 restaurants that celebrate Food Day across Canada. Contact them at the number below to reserve a table.
The Berlin est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs. Contactez The Berlin directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre réservation.
45 King Street West,