When in search of culinary adventures, many tend to look to east Berlin. However, it can be easily noted that the restaurant scene in the west is recently evolving. Just one parallel street away from infamous Kurfürstendamm, well known for its fancy shops and many tourists, a great restaurant has made a name for itself, enriching the area with a perfect combination of innovative taste, high quality products and a metropolitan ambiance.
The Catch is the second installment of its kind, the first has become a highlight among the gourmet restaurants in Latvia’s capital Riga. Core concept is the idea to follow the transport to the Occident of the culture of izakayas, the Japanese version of pubs.
Although the pub idea can be misleading here, as the setting is very classy and has nothing in common with the image of a rustic european pub, it keeps its promise to be a great after work location for food and drinks.
The culinary idea behind the Catch is to take a modern approach on traditional Japanese cuisine. The menu is not build on a classical running order. Instead, it’s divided in different preparation methods, which encourages the guests to take part in an endeavour into modern taste with traditional Japanese techniques of cooking.
On our visit, one of the dishes that we completely fell in love with was the bluefin tuna served in truffle-ponzu sauce. What might seem on first sight an odd combination of two pricy ingredients, turned out to be intensely addictive and an absolute taste bomb. Same is true for the perfectly seared scallops with pak choi and shichimi sauce. And on the sauce side, all of The Catch’s sauces are finger-licking good, there is no other way to say it. (We were told some people even bring bread from home to dip the sauces. In case you do so, you have not heard this one from us!)
Another specialty of the restaurant is the Josper Grill, a charcoal grill searing meat and fish at 300 – 350 degrees celsius. The grilled octopus glazed with kimchi sauce was just perfectly tender and came along with a fine barbecue aroma. Same goes for the dry-aged entrecôte with black pepper sauce and daikon.
The Catch’s chef Sergeijs Siporovs promise is to only serve products that live up to his expectations, which means high quality produce to achieve memorable taste, an idea that the team of The Catch keeps true by directly importing the fish and seafood from local fish markets in Spain and Japan, without any intermediaries involved. You can corroborate it when tasting, for example, a sashimi variation of different tuna cuts.
All the effort to make the most out of the finest ingredients and the traditional cooking techniques is live up to the work in creating a great atmosphere, having Japanese concepts as reference. Over the kitchen counter a big light installation in the shape of a traditional Japanese sailing boat called Wasen is hanging from the ceiling and illuminates the room, making it a futuristic ambience. At a wall next to the bar, kintsugi cooking pots have been carefully placed, celebrating the Japanese philosophy of embracing the imperfect.
We had an absolutely great time at The Catch and will definitely return. It’s a great place to experience the izakaya culture in Berlin, with dishes carefully prepared in a very unique setting!
*This article was written by Max Tschöpe, after an invitation by The Catch.
All images by Max Tschöpe.