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Orania Berlin Home of XBerg Duck

Wednesday, December 29 2021
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Opening Times

Daily from 6:00pm

Address

Orania Berlin
Oranienstraße 40
10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg
.How to get there

Its reputation precedes it: Jonas Zörner, for example, called it one of the best Peking Ducks in Berlin at the beginning of the year. Even though the XBerg Duck at Orania Berlin goes by a different name. Now we were finally allowed to try it.

In the heart of Kreuzberg, right on Oranienplatz, the Orania Hotel is located in a building from 1913: 41 rooms, a literary salon, a bar and a restaurant, which is undoubtedly the central element of the Orania, a place for cultural and culinary encounters. After all, chef Philipp Vogel is also co-managing director.

In 2014, he was awarded a star for his culinary skills, and has proven his expertise in renowned restaurants in Shanghai, London and Vienna. With his cooking at the Orania restaurant he is refining the elementary and limiting himself to only a few ingredients. This applies in particular, although not exclusively, to the XBerg Duck. 

Elegant colourful scarves separate the different restaurant areas as we walk in, and in half an hour the band will start. On a small concert stage with a Steinway grand piano, Berlin musicians and authors of various colours regularly perform - whether classical music or electro, in the cosy living room atmosphere of the Orania you can listen to it.

Orania Berlin Kreuzberg xberg Duck
Orania Berlin Kreuzberg Xberg Duck (2)
Orania Berlin Kreuzberg (2)
Orania Berlin Kreuzberg (4)
Orania Berlin Kreuzberg
Orania Berlin Kreuzberg Piano Live Musik
Orania Berlin Kreuzberg Live Concert

Today it's jazz, which fits wonderfully into the cosmopolitan atmosphere. We take a seat in the front row. Not with the band - no, they know us better than that at the Orania - we sit right by the open kitchen and get to watch the kitchen team work. The prepared ducks are already hanging on metal hooks, ready to be cooked in a special oven for several hours. Their skin, which is the most important part of this former imperial dish, puffs up, becomes incredibly crispy and finally gets the typical shiny red colour.

We are in for a dinner in four acts. Traditional serving methods meet modern variation. Unlike a classic Peking duck, we are first served an incredibly intense and delicious dashi broth. This is accompanied by a dim sum, prepared and filled with the duck meat, which is not used in subsequent courses - nothing gets thrown away here. 

This is followed by the second (and perhaps best?) part of the evening: the wonderfully crispy duck skin. But first the whole duck, shining like polished cherry wood - that's just the way it should be, is presented to us before the skin finds its way on our plates. Every single movement is perfect, the skin is carved so expertly at the table - also just the way it should be.

The tender pieces are served in the classic way with crepe-like wheat pancakes that you roll up yourself, along with cucumber (in a wonderful peanut sauce) and a wonderfully fruity hoisin sauce. All kinds of small bowls with ginger, spring onions and the like are available for further refinement. Eating with your hands is explicitly permitted; wet towels are available at the table.

This is accompanied by a Riesling grown on slate with a nice residual sweetness, that wonderfully coats the many intense aromas that are already in front of us. The tender duck skin tendrils are indeed to be raved about, it is easy to understand why it was a favourite dish of the Chinese emperor. 

But lets not make the mistake to forget the rest. Because what follows is the third part of our XBerg Duck. This act makes us seroiusly wonder whether the skin is actually the best part, or if we should revise this statement in view of the grilled duck breast.

Here, the wonderful consistency of the duck is revealed: a little fatty, yet incredibly tender and juicy, it is accompanied only by some brilliant pak choi. This dish has everything you could wish for. Although the glass of Saint-Émilion Grand Cru is a wonderfully pairing, in view of the excellent duck breast, we almost forget about it. 

But since duck is not only skin and breast, the fourth act serves us the meat of the leg in  fried rice. It is so crispy that it reminds us a little of Rice Krispies, which does not make it any less tasty. Raw egg yolk provides a wonderful binding, which is perfectly matched by the premium sake we are served   - a very harmonious finish. 

At the end of the evening, we just crunch on our (outrageously delicious) fortune biscuits; after four XBerg courses, there's no room for more. What the fortune biscuits reveal remains a mystery. The reputation of the Orania XBerg Duck, however, is no longer! And rightly so.

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