Hugos – Berlin’s Star Restaurant in a New Light
Hugos Restaurant sits on the fourteenth floor of the InterContinental Berlin hotel and has retained its Michelin star and 17 Millau points since 1999, thus counting itself among the premier culinary addresses of the capital for sixteen years. “Down-to-Earth Gourmet” as the motto of chef Eberhard Lange goes, a motto reflected in Hugos’ newly designed interior.
Grey-brown walls, dark Scandinavian designer furniture, discreet rose accents, and an abundance of Hydrangea-filled pots create a modern and simultaneously homey atmosphere. As we take our seat at the seemingly never-ending window bank we can’t tear our eyes from the view of the city. The outlook is spectacular! A special occasion in itself, watching the city slowly sink into darkness and transform into a sea of lights.
The contagiously cheery sommelier Manfred Welter, master of the 300 entries found on the wine list, charmingly notes our choice of courses taken from three different menus, including one vegetarian. As a welcoming, the kitchen sends “confit salmon with wasabi, beef tartar on buttered toast, and a beetroot variation”- a duly agreeable trio that leaves us intrigued as to what the impending menu will bring.
Our intrigue is answered in the form of venison, delicate as marzipan, on a bed of pumpkin cream along with crisp piedmont cherries, dark stock, and fresh herbs - absolutely exquisite! The first course, “Halibut Ceviche”, manages to astound without any onions and secures its freshness using diced grapefruit, apple marinated in Pisco, and shiso cress. To top it all off, a velvety, poignant avocado cream- fantástico!
For the second course, the kitchen team serves perfectly cooked langostino with bright green asparagus, aromatic mushrooms, and a dab of lemon-salt paste with candied lemon zest. By now we’ve realised that there will be no best course- everything here is far too enjoyable. Including the organic egg, wax-soft from being cooked at precisely 62° C, on a warm bed of radish in a flavoursome carrot brew, closely followed by the fourth course, a ray wing with escabèche sauce, fennel, and buckwheat, which is likewise so good, that the superlatives are slowly getting boring.
With a kitchen of such standing there is no lack of prominence absent from the venue, as seen in the numerous national and international big names on the guest list- from Helmut Kohl to Putin, from Bill Gates to Liza Minelli. “Did they also have such a splendid dessert?” I ask my self as we enjoy the “Valrhona-Chocolate and Crisp Tartlet”- Brilliant, Mr. Lange! And give our regards to the team!