DUKE - Dining on Legendary Ground
It’s yet another rainy night in Berlin when we entered the Ellington Hotel on Nürnberger Straße. The impressive 1920s building has seen a lot in its lifetime. During the 20s and 30s, the house’s lavish parties were frequented by Berlin’s local A-list. The 70s turned it into the ‘Jungle’, probably Berlin’s best-known disco that attracted stars like Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Carlos Santana, Iggy Pop and Barbra Streisand.
In 2007 the Ellington Hotel moved into the historic premises and brought with it their fine dining restaurant DUKE. Including an open show kitchen, that’s slightly shielded towards the dining room. Soft light and a calm atmosphere welcomed us. We managed to get hold of a table right by the big window front, with the bar’s white noise in the background.
The menu proved to be brief, a fact that came in handy considering my lack of decisiveness. Our choice was an accordingly quick one: the amuse-gueule alone showed that this place had much more in store than we expected. We were served goat’s cream cheese, a cream of tarragon and physalis and parsnip-chips along with ‘the meadow’, a tiny bundle of herbs, all staged beautifully on one plate. We loved it, and the flavors too! They sure know how to provoke appetite. More of that!
And it continued the way we hoped it would. The appetizer is absolute perfection with tastable high quality salmon and pumpkin variations. Especially the pumpkin ice cream melts on your tongue, literally and figuratively. The chestnut creme is enriched by a fruity jus, rosemary and black chanterelles and has a mouth-watering distinct flavor. Black chanterelles are mushrooms that mostly grow on copper beeches and are, as the name says, related to chanterelles. Delicious!
But now we were even more excited for the entrées. How will the venison taste? The sides? It arrives in pink with cubes of potato and celery. Just by the look of it you could tell something good’s about to happen. The meat is cooked to perfection and tender, the potatoes are slightly crisp and the celery is like butter. A jus of elderberry and porcini is pure joy and we couldn’t be more impressed. Suddenly we felt a hint of christmas in the air and we had reached a high of happiness that we didn’t even need espresso and dessert. It couldn’t get any better, everything’s been said and done.