Berlin, Germany (Weltexpress). Finally, the Queen of Sheba sends her regards. No, it’s not a beautiful tightrope walker or trapeze artist. Nor a mysterious belly dancer or singer. It’s the dessert. A small cake, to be precise. Dark brown, very chocolaty, not too sweet. As fabulous as the biblical eponym, already thanks to the delicious cinnamon aroma that unfolds with the chocolate. And at the same time hints at the upcoming Christmas season.
His Majesty is accompanied by a handsome court. Namely, pickled cherries and stracciatella ice cream. Fruity, crunchy-chocolatey and not at all sugary. A truly royal conclusion to a princely evening. At the Palazzo, in Berlin.
Once again, the hosts, the two top restaurateurs Hans-Peter Wodarz and Kolja Kleeberg, have invited us to the Spiegelzelt (mirror tent) near Bahnhof Zoo. With „Escapades“, the current show programme, the Palazzo Berlin is returning to top form after a lengthy Covid hiatus. Culinary as well as – at least to some extend – artistic.
Bertan Canbaldek, for example, shows a rousing bouncing juggling act. He twirls balls quickly and skillfully. Throws them into the air, but also lets them have plenty of contact with the ground. And is always in a dazzling mood. Ilya Kotenyov and Mikhail Murzalimov, on the other hand, keep their bodies whirling. The two artists from Kazakhstan are true masters of the sling board. They jump almost up to the ceiling of the tent, spin around their own axis and do somersaults at airy heights. Lena Ries and the duo Waz O seem to feel at home there. The former bends on the aerial ring, the latter contorts on the trapeze.
Vladimir also provides solid amazement and plenty of thrills. The balance juggler moves on extremely shaky ground with his balancing act. Niamh O’Reilly also pushes her body to its limits. Only on two balancing supports, the contortionist seemingly effortlessly defies the limits of physics. Perfect body control is complemented by an outstanding voice on top; the Irishwoman accompanies the audience through the evening with songs. And with their let’s say very special humour, not liked by all, Canadian Mooky Cornish and Swiss Gregor Schaller joke their way through the programme. „Tonight“, highlight another night for some as Michael Müller, ex-Lord Mayor, and Moody are on stage in mood for a bit of romance out of „West Side Story“.
It is not only the artists who show top performances. Kolja Kleeberg and his team have worked wonders with their four-course menu. The duck as the main course is a must, tried and tested and yet always reinterpreted. This time as confit leg, with pickled lemon. The skin is wonderfully crispy, the meat tender. The side dishes, spinach and red onion cream, are as original as they are delicious. It doesn’t always have to be red cabbage. Duck is currently offered in many restaurants, but rarely in such outstanding quality as in the Palazzo.
The starter was equally successful. Tuna tartare with lemon and herb sauce, avocado and olive salad and mint taboulé – Mediterranean influences on a single plate. Such a successful combination, creative and harmonious at the same time – pleasantly light, very refreshing.
The intermediate course also proves that Kolja Kleeberg likes to be inspired by various cultures and cuisines of the capital. Here on show: India meets the Middle East. A classic from the subcontinent, tomato and lentil curry, is paired with chickpea balls, commonly known as falafel. on the whole fantastically spiced, with a slight tanginess, and garnished with crunchy cashew nuts.
The right wine to go with it? No problem, the drinks menu, which also includes draft beers and various soft drinks, offers several options. Those who like fruity, not too dry red wine will find what they are looking for. For example, the Montepulciano d`Abruzzo „Montenevoso“ 2021, from the Cantina Galasso winery in Abruzzo. Velvety, soft, rather poor in tannins, with an aroma of cherries and various berries.
Prefer a rosé? Then the „Fleur de D‘ Artagnan“ 2021 is a good choice. It comes from Plaimont Frères vineyard in Gascony. A pleasantly light wine with notes of blackberry, blackcurrant, vanilla, mint, lemon balm and eucalyptus.
Friendly and attentive staff try their very best to bring what you want to the tables quickly. That means walking, walking, walking. Everyone in service covers a good 14 kilometres every day. At the finish line, the dishes are still as hot as if they had just come out of the pot or pan. When it works, it’s a logistical masterpiece what the kitchen and service manage, behind and in front of the scenes.
A total of around 80 staff and artists from all kinds of countries ensure that things run smoothly at the Palazzo every day during the season. The guests thank everyone with abundant applause. „A child’s birthday party for adults“ is how Hans-Peter Wodarz calls his show that evening. A great celebration that is remembered fondly. With beautiful gifts like the Queen of Sheba.
The above contribution by Fritz Hermann Köser was rendered into English by Christoph Merten.