The year has 365 days and 12 months. This is commonly known. Each month offers different fruits and vegetables and various seasonal products. A new variety every month - that's exactly what is celebrated at 12seasons in Charlottenburg. Really - at regular kitchen parties to taste the monthly changing menu.
This also applies to the drinks on the menu and the wine pairings, which are changed once a month depending on the season. Always included: a guest drink from another esteemed bar in Berlin. Sometimes this comes from the pen of Golvet Bar boss Andreas Andricopoulos or, as now in September, from Elias Heintz from Bonvivant.
The ambience of the 12seasons is also unusual - nothing reminds you of the Juleps that was once located here - it is more like a club or a hip bar. Dark walls, stylish interior, petrol-colored velvet bar stools create an ensemble that is both sophisticated and cozy. The hosts of the 12seasons, Tim Hansen and Vitali Müller, who you may remember from the Neumond restaurant, are able to make you feel like a guest of friends with their warm and charming manner.
In the kitchen of friends, mind you, because the whole 12seasons is like a big Chef's Table. That chef is Kamel Haddad, who also suggested the unusual concept to Tim and Vitali. Here he finds his long-awaited opportunity to be creative and try something new every month. He now appreciates this freedom, which he missed during his stints at the Adlon or the Steinplatz restaurant, even more: "I don't do what others want to do, but cook my own style."
The chef enjoyed a classical French education in his native Paris, but time and again he incorporates flavors from his parents' cuisine. "These flavors are my identity," he explains. The creative play of flavors, that's what suits him. His cooking remains instinctive - true heartfelt cuisine.
We're still raving late in the evening about his mackerel tartare with yellow beet, thyme crumble and an oyster ice cream on top. Infused with smoked beet sauce, the delicate and extremely elegant dish is visually reminiscent of vanilla ice cream with raspberry sauce; in the mouth, it is particularly convincing with its depth and fine minerality.
In particular, the oyster ice cream in combination with the special wine that Tim pours us - an early red Veltliner - reminds us of cold stone and sea, but in a completely different way. Impresses us very much.
It continues elegantly with a nectarine ravioli, pickled kohlrabi on top and mushrooms. The mushroom consommé is poured in again. Especially nice: we are allowed to nibble some more of it, as the sauce pot is left at our place. Again we marvel at the apt wine accompaniment of a cuvée of Colombar and Chardonnay from Galilee. Fancy, but extremely fine.
What follows is a home game: Chickpea hides purée served warm. Garnished with pomegranate seeds, fried pita bread, some mint, a chickpea sauce flavored with Pernod and - of course - falafel balls, it resembles hummus, which we love anyway. Musabaha is what it's called and it's wonderfully creamy and flavorful.
Also to be spooned away is the fennel foam with pear and salt lemon, which is served with the pike-perch fillet with fennel. Everything about this plate is intense, flavorful and delightful. It is accompanied by a black pudding cream and an intense red wine reduction from Bordelais, which we have to get used to with the fish, but which finally convinces us completely. The beef tenderloin is hard to beat for tenderness, along with the roasted and pureed eggplant, foam from cumin and ice from Kalamata olive. Unconventional, hearty and soulful is Kamel Haddad's cuisine.
A smirk crosses our lips again at dessert: White chocolate ganache and jasmine ice cream, plus a plum confit and plum sauce are nevertheless very reminiscent of the first course, at least visually and in their texture. A final fine example of approachable and playful cuisine that knows how to surprise in a delicious way.
The star of the 12seasons, however, is the family service, to which, for once, not only the great service and the esteemed hosts contribute, but also the cuisine itself. Our place directly at the bar and the open kitchen naturally contributes to this. Getting closer, making contacts, communicating - that's not only allowed here, it's encouraged. And makes us long for the next kitchen party. We now come once a month - at least!
By the way, 12seasons is also participating in Berlin Food Week 2021 this year with a climate-friendly menu!