Some say, Potsdamer Platz is the epicenter of Berlin - with its traffic, people, shops, and offices - so I was happy to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and step into the tranquility of FACIL. A modern glass cube with floor-to-ceiling windows invited me into a secret garden of bamboo and chestnut trees; the hydraulic glass roof was opened a little bit to let in a light breeze. At the center of FACIL, there is a small zen-like fountain. Everything was flowing, light, and open - a perfect spot for my lunch.
With surroundings so light and airy, you might expect a fare to follow – but FACIL's young Chef de Cuisine Thomas Kempf creates dishes that have an exciting fire and heat inside of them. My multi-course lunch started with an iced cucumber soup garnished with yellow fin mackerel. The soup was creamy and refreshing, and a wave of wasabi, imperceptible at first, crashed over but receded quickly into a soft foam.
The next course and my favorite was the rock octopus with artichoke on a bed of tomato marmalade and crispy baked capers. This dish was fantastic and spicy, and it was even more memorable with the wine recommendation of sommelier Felix Voges; he poured a crisp white “Weissburgunder” (Muenzberg 2009), which helped ignite the warmth of this dish.
The main dish was a beautifully cooked cheek of bison, covered with a velvety dark sauce. It was accompanied by pickled cabbage and bright orange cumin rolled up in a new cabbage leave, dollops of cream with charlotte onions, and a red Spaetburgunder wine (Friedrich Becker, 2008).The Dessert of Raspberry with tanariva chocolate and violet was a piece of art; a chocolate roll in a crispy golden shell, filled with chocolate and fresh berry cream, on top of a ruby red raspberry sorbet. The roll was decorated with shiny chocolate gems and a violet flower that was (almost) to lovely to eat.
If You Go
FACIL is an oasis in the hustle and bustle of Berlin; serene atmosphere, exciting first- class cuisine, and top-notch service. Come here for lunch, when the restaurant is filled with light; come here for dinner, and you can see the stars through the glass roof.
The Mandala Hotel (5th floor)
Potsdamer Strasse 3, 10785 Berlin
Reservations recommended; Phone +49 (0)30 59005 12 34 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting There: Subway U2 Potsdamer Platz; S-Bahn S1, S2, S25; Bus M41, M48, M85
Monday – Friday noon – 3p.m., 7 - 11 p.m.
Closed on Saturday and Sunday
Menu starting at 85 Euros; Lunch 13/18 Euros per course, dinner 16-55 Euros per course Lunch Website of Restaurant FACIL
Website of Hotel Mandala
Free valet service; direct access from the parking garage to the restaurant; all major credit cards accepted; outdoor seating available
1 Michelinstar, Gautl Millau 17 Punkte, Der Feinschmecker 3 Ω F, Varta Tipp 4 stars/high level, Aral Schlemmeratlas 3 sets of cutlery,