It’s not the prettiest street corner we’ve found ourselves on this Saturday evening. Exceptionally punctual, shortly before eight, we are standing on a large main street, somewhere in Berlin Moabit. And we are not alone. Also on time, another group arrives in front of the given address. We do not know each other. But we recognize each other. We are here for the same reason. The door opens and together we are led first to the first, then to the second backyard, the doors of an industrial elevator are unlocked to unload us together, a few floors up, in front of the doors of a large loft, with a view over the rooftops of Moabit. I think I can make out traces of bacon in the slightly wafting kitchen smell, broth perhaps. In any case, the confidence: we have arrived.
The Young, Green and Blue is the most exciting culinary concept I’ve come across in recent months. It’s the brainchild of Dylan Watson, his girlfriend Maria, and Sam Rutledge. The setup initially corresponds to the classic ideas of the supper club or private dining, but at the same time the cuisine is much more elaborate, focused and, above all, much more modern. In addition, the above all the name here is also program:
None of the protagonists is older than twenty.
Dylan has cooked in some of the most well-known kitchens, especially those that are absolutely the focus of the global culinary zeitgeist right now. At Ryugin in Tokyo, at Noma in Copenhagen, and in New York at Per Se, Daniel and Eleven Madison Park. Maria and Dylan met during their school exchange in Canada, she later followed him to Hong Kong and was able to convince him to come to Berlin for some time.
The kitchen is not big. And at first glance, not much more professionally equipped than most modern fitted kitchens. An entire room of the apartment is used for storage, all private belongings are hidden behind a partitioned area of the very large living room on Fridays and Saturdays, the two days when guests are received.
With a glass of vintner’s sparkling wine in hand, we are directed directly to the scene of the action, a large table for eight where we will spend the next four or five hours.
The whole menu is only in printed form at the end of the evening, until then each of the twenty courses is a surprise. At least if you manage to keep your eyes off the quiet, always very professional and obviously very well planned hustle and bustle in the open kitchen.
The pace at which the first courses are served is fast. Very high, in fact. It is reminiscent of a rhythm that is also common, for example, in Fäviken. Many small gears in brisk succession. Thus, a small young cabbage leaf lightly tossed in fresh butter (homemade less than 30 minutes ago) is followed by radishes in miso, a deconstructed rye bread, and finally, corn chawanmushi, a first major highlight that already shows how strong the influences of Japanese cuisine are on the entire project and Dylan Watson’s culinary direction. It is followed by a trout cooked only very tenderly and then strongly roasted on the outside. Also reduced to the minimum, clear and exceptionally delicate and delicious.
Also the way in which Dylan briefly introduces the individual courses after serving makes slight associations with the Fäviken and Magnus Nilsson awake. Also a great inspiration for him, as he explained to us later.
The vegetables are of course from the region around Berlin and are, thanks to slowly and carefully built contacts with the producers, produced specifically for the young, green & blue. In the meantime, the producers and organic farmers also cater to special requests from the demanding clientele from Moabit, for example, some of the small vegetables are harvested much earlier than is actually customary. This was especially evident with the carrot. The fennel was slow cooked sous-vide, seasoned only with fennel oil and fennel greens, and a touch of salt. Pure. Just like the young potatoes. Only the stems of the chard were served, combined with a tama miso sauce, which is a sauce made from miso, sake and egg yolk and is light as air, but at the same time very strong.
The next three gears became noticeably stronger. The grated beet was served in a very intense, smoky but clear broth. Small pieces of gently cooked quail were appropriately served with some berries and, along with a consume of zucchini, prepared the field for the more substantial course that followed, Dry aged beed, cooked sous-vide and then smoked and lightly grilled over an open beech wood fire. By the way, only a few meters next to us, so the meat and guests shared a similar aroma.
A fabulous evening and a very special culinary experience, which is very rarely experienced in this form, closeness and intimacy. We had great fun, with our hosts, but also with the initially unknown people at the big table. And so we exchanged ideas for a long time, about different techniques in the kitchen, from sous-vide to the Thermomix or Pacojet, philosophized about correct cooking points, affordable vacuums and of course about the future of Dylan, Maria and Sam. Because, that’s the bad news, the Young, Green and Blue project ends on October 31, 2013.
At least in this form.
We will continue to follow the path and are already looking forward to a first visit to the next station. No matter where or when.