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Oukan Restaurant Plant-based temple food in Mitte district

Monday, January 24 2022
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Opening Times

Tuesday to Saturday: 6:00pm - 11:00pm

Address

Oukan
Ackerstraße 144
Hinterhof
10115 Berlin-Mitte
.How to get there

Contact


+49 30 547 747 16
.oukan.de

No, you don't expect this space, when you enter the backyard of Ackerstraße 144. But behind the inconspicuous entrance, which looks like much more of an insider tip than Oukan actually is (because it feels like half the city is already talking about it), hides a true fine-dining temple.

The rooms already mirrors this feeling: The sacral-looking ensemble of rooms is kept dark, with concrete walls and hidden seating areas that provide privacy. In the middle of the main hall, a large bonsai dominates, which fortunately swallows up some reverberation because clean concrete walls and the otherwise restrained interior do not provide the very best acoustics. A small drop of bitterness for the Zen feeling that the average city dweller longs for.

The four founders of Oukan are creative director Tran Mai Huy Thong, managing director Trung Le, tea specialist Erik Spickschen, and kitchen director Martin Müller. They have created a contemporary place that awakens and celebrates Berlin's need for tranquillity and mindfulness, especially in the bustling Berlin Mitte district.

Speaking of temples: right at the beginning, we have to exercise patience: we wait quite a while for our greeting from the kitchen - an onigiri with wakame and silky tofu. But it tastes delicious. Just like the white tea from Yunnan - its leaves grow wild in the forest, it tastes delicate, fruity, some herbal notes can be made out. You can easily do without a glass of bubbles at the beginning.

Restaurant Oukan Berlin  Algen Wakame mit Pilzen
Restaurant Oukan Berlin  Krause Glucke Blumenkohl
Restaurant Oukan Berlin  Misosuppe
Restaurant Oukan Berlin
Restaurant Oukan Berlin Kartoffel Trueffel
Restaurant Oukan Berlin (4)
Restaurant Oukan Berlin (3)
Restaurant Oukan Berlin (2)
Restaurant Oukan Berlin Installation

We chose the tea accompaniment and will definitely not regret it along the evening. Tea sommelière Kwok Ying von Beuningen does an excellent job at Oukan Dining. The tea menu is extensive coresponding with the wide selection of food, with items from Japan, China, and other Asian countries. Although the bar menu by bar manager Junya Arino also sounds extremely promising, with a large selection of German wines and exciting cocktails.

Kitchen director Martin Müller cooks a purely plant-based cuisine at Oukan, drawing inspiration from the centuries-old Shōjin Ryōri tradition. The culture of Japanese Buddhist temple food focuses on health and sustainability. Martin Müller combines it with high-quality seasonal and regional ingredients and gives it a contemporary Berlin twist. It's easy to forget that vegan cuisine is served here. 

Like the edamame puree with marinated kohlrabi and green spelled risotto, for example, which not only convinces with a surprising acidity but also in its entirely different presentation of edamame. Of course, we know green soybeans, but not yet as a puree. Nice.

In general, the both the visual appearance is taken extremely seriously at Oukan, just as much as the taste. The confit and deep-fried potato with (vegan) truffle mayo, pickled onion, and beech mushrooms with delicate purple cress on top are just as pretty to look at as the sautéed and marinated shiitake mushrooms with fermented garlic. The roasted green tea Hōjicha with a light minerality and woody note is hearty and smokey.

We are more and more enthusiastic from course to course. The visual and taste highlight of the menu at Oukan is without question the ruffled hen with cauliflower. The edible mushroom, found on tree roots, is enthroned here on a moss bed under a glass bell. This is lifted at the table so that delicate clouds of mist are dispersed. Associations with misty forests are obviously no coincidence - a true feast for the senses.

If you lift the mossy stone, a pumpkin purée is hidden underneath, imitating egg yolk - that's right, plant-based cuisine! - Roasted and pickled cauliflower complement the dish. We also like the salsify cooked in oil and steamed with paprika sauce and pak choi. Togarashi, a Japanese spice blend, gives the dish an amazingly penetrating spiciness, which the Sencha Coldbrew balances pleasantly. 

Finally, we are once again convinced that vegan desserts no longer need to hide behind conventional ones: a wonderfully creamy coconut-based cheesecake tartlet with quince ragout and a beautiful ball of fluffy chocolate mousse with sea buckthorn is not only convincing in terms of taste. It is almost sacrilegious to destroy this dessert with a spoon. But only almost. 

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Oukan Restaurant – Plant-based temple food in Mitte district
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