Asian food is something we are particularly good at eating. And with only a few of nice and sunny days in the last few weeks, it was not strange to see our mouths ‚accidentally‘ fall unto plates of fresh Asian foods.
Sasaya is the kind of place that you’ve heard about through the grapevine. Random acquintances mention it a couple of times and before you know it, you find yourself standing in front of the sleek and modern looking restaurant. It is on the Lychener Straße, on the corner of the popular Helmholtplatz, near the Spanish Tres Tapas and La Bodeguita de Medio’s Cuban restaurant. Sasaya looks cool. It partially has the look of a posh gallery, but when you get closer you actually see the cute little authentic Asian seating arrangements. If you get lucky enough to sit in one of the Asian corners, you take off your shoes and snuggle up on a cushion-y floor with a small table in the middle for your food. All very authentic and an interesting experience an sich.
The sad thing about Sasaya is that it is very popular and they allow the entire restaurant to get fully booked. Which may lead to a half-empty restaurant that turns poor little hungry girls like us away, because all of their tables have been reserved. Which I think is bad for business, unpractical and very sad. Eating food is an impulsive thing and I do not like having to make up my mind on what I am going to eat in two weeks time.
However, we got lucky enough and found a nice spot outside, where we were surprised by the cool looking menu. On colourful thick paper with an interesting sensual texture, wrapped in in even thicker soft see-through plastic, was the menu. They have a small daily special menu, with a few appetizers, main dishes and a dessert offer. The rest of the menu is Sasaya’s standard offer of foods, drinks and nibbles. As our appetizers we ordered an exciting skewer with marinated squid, some very flavourful seaweed salad and two thin spring rolls. The squid skewer was disappointing to me as the sauce was too overpowering. However, the other dish with squid that I had afterwards was very scrumptious – just plain grilled squid, simplistic but very yummy.
Sasaya offers a mixture of main dishes and many different types of sushi. The sushi menu was a surprising, interesting and challenging list of combinations. One of the few restaurants that I have seen in a long time that actually surprised me with their sushi menu. I eventually ordered a vegetarian futo maki big roll, with tamago egg, various vegetables, tofu and sesame. Holly had a few classical maki’s with grilled salmon skin and some vegetables.
The food is served on very pretty plates and in cute bowls. All of them are different, yet match due to their earthy tones. The sushi looks rugged. The sushi chefs work in the middle of the restaurant, under everyone’s questioning eyes, on their sushi pieces. Maybe it is sushi Sasaya-style, the rugged look of bits of rice that are not perfectly pressed into shape by the process of rolling. My sushi was nice, yet smothered in a dominant spicy sauce. Do not get me wrong, I can appreciate a sauce in or on my sushi, but I prefer subtlety when it comes to such things. It is a shame when a dominant flavour kills the nice and more subtle flavours of the meal.
All in all, I was impressed, but I probably expected too much from Sasaya. However, we are definitely planning a return visit to give some of the other exciting dishes a try. One of the foods that I did adore and fall in love with was their coconut crème brulée. Traditionally, I have always had a huge weak spot for caramel desserts and crème brulée is surely number one on my list. If prepared properly, it can be the best thing your tongue has touched in years. At Sasaya, they thought of combining the classical crème brulée with a coconutty pudding, which actually tasted delightful. The pudding actually entailed the texture of coconut and that combined with crunchy caramel made for a match made in heaven.
What makes this restaurant fabulous?
- Atmosphere, decoration and even the staff all give Sasaya a right authentic and Asian touch to it. It is simply ‚cool‘ to have the sushi chefs prepare the food in front of you. If you have a bar place, you are actually practically on top of the sushi making process.
- The food is interesting and original. Maybe not all creations are as fabulous as the next, but if you want to eat something different from what you eat at your average Asian/ sushi restaurant, is it definitely worth a visit.
What makes this restaurant less fabulous?
- To be expected from such a sexy restaurant, it is not the cheapest location for eating sushi. It is definitely a decent mid-range restaurant, where you can have a nice evening for around 15 euros, so not unafforable for sure.
- The previous mentioned lack of impulsive visiting possibilities. If you want to have dinner here, better make a reservation.
Where to go?
[googleMap name=“Sasaya“ width=“400″ height=“400″ mousewheel=“false“ typecontrol=“false“ directions_to=“false“]Lychener Straße 50 10437 Berlin[/googleMap]
Lychener Straße 50