Classroom Dinner on Friday, 12 October 2012
For this month, we would like a select group willing and open-minded enough to dine very culturally. By this, I mean we will be dining in an eclectic environment (in fact, an ex-girls school's classroom), sampling food from an ancient religious culture, now updated with Mediterranean flavours. Again, it is sort of fusion dining but this time it will be ancient dishes fused with modern flavours. If it all sounds a little esoteric, then that is because October's dinner probably is really a little funky - for this month we are inviting you to a Shabbat Dinner on Friday, 12 October at The Kosher Classroom. The location is Auguststraße 11-13, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
The building itself is of some significant interest, for it was featured in the NY Times recently, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/travel/historic-school-building-now-a-cultural-center-in-berlin.html. And as the restaurant is practically brand new, there are not many reviews yet but a couple of them can be seen on http://www.qype.com/place/2259524-The-Kosher-Classroom-Berlin - they are consistent and good.
I have had kosher dinners before, notably next to the synagogue in Oranienburgerstrasse though I preferred the home-cooked meal done by a friend's mother many years ago. But both meals were served in modern settings with few acknowledgements to the history of the food so I am expecting rather more for this month's dinner. I am also very curious about the sparkling kosher wine! Oh, please note that the Shabbat Dinner is a prix fixe menu at 75 Euro - for more details of a sample menu, do have a look at their website on http://thekosherclassroom.com
If you are the adventurous type, and you know you are, drop us an email very soon or by Tuesday 9 October latest to confirm your place for yet another unusual dinner in Berlin. Please note again in your diary that the dinner date is Friday 12 October and Sylvia will respond with details a day or two before the dinner. And just in case one fears a touch too much orthodoxy during the evening, there are a lot of bars nearby afterwards to experience a wholly different kind of spirituality. And I know what I am talking about - in fact, one can sort of consider me a spiritual leader in some areas (usually bars and kneipes).
Chris (on behalf of Sylvia)
PS. If you are curious about my favourite breakfast in Malaysia (and incidental advice about fish), I have recently updated my blog on http://www.makanakam.com. Be warned though - you may never want wurst, eier, aufschnitt und brot again.
How it went on the night...
In the end, as expected, only a small crowd took the chance to participate in this rather unique Jewish dinner. A rabbi came in and explained all the customs around Shabbat and demonstrated some tricks how to get around of some crazy customs and make life a bit more convenient for such events. Before dinner we all had to wash our hands, shared the bread with the rabbi and drank a glass of Kibbuschein (a very sweet tasting liquor). Then we had to sing while he prayed and then finally we could start eating. The dinner started with 12 rather excellent starters so I was almost stuffed after the first course as I was compelled to try all of them. The soup was definitely homecooked and really tasted of lovely fresh tomatoes. The main dish was also perfectly cooked. You couldn´t taste that they were not using certain ingredients such as milk for the cake as a part of the last course - I thought a little bit of milk would have improved the result. The bill for the dinner was settled outside of the dining room as technically Jewish people are not allowed to charge money a Shabbat dinner. But we got around this problem as well - just another little trick we got to learn over the evening. The ceremony and dinner was really interesting and well worth the money. And anybody interested in an unusual dinner should at least try this once in their lifetime.