fine food - Open kitchens
Written by Craig Butcher
If you want to get closer to the magic of talented chefs working full tilt for your enjoyment, opt for the flamboyant open kitchens now increasingly common around the world. From robata to dining in the kitchen, the choice is yours.
Few cuisines lend themselves so readily to open kitchens as Japanese food, where artistry and skill combine to fantastic and entertaining effect. With a modern izakaya dining style, the open sushi counter and robata grill at Zuma in Istanbul are features of all Chef Rainer Becker’s Zuma restaurants. Natural woods bring a calm tranquillity to the energetic chef displays, all by the banks of the Bosphorus. In summer an outside terrace opens up along the venue’s own private jetty, with an open-air robata grill turning out beautifully seared meats the key attraction.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
Hearth, New York
Hearth provides an Italian take on North American cuisine, its kitchen visible amid the distressed brickwork surrounds of this East Village eatery. Dishes are driven by a key central ingredient (grass-fed beef consommé with beef confit and bone marrow) and are served in hearty, wholesome portions despite its obvious fine-dining credentials. Something of a trendsetter in New York, the hearth here may be small but it’s the open kitchen that’s rightly the centre of attention and the staff who put the heart into Hearth.
New York, USA
Distance: 10,792 km
Flight Time: 14 hours, 10 minutes
Matt Gillan at The Pass, England
Not so much an open kitchen as a restaurant inside a kitchen, this Michelin-starred restaurant 1.5 hours south of London has just 26 seats and specialises in preparing tasting menus in front of diners. It makes for a wonderfully intimate experience. Opt for the surprise menu to draw out the anticipation further, but regardless of your tasting menu choice, Head Chef Matt Gillan’s focus is always on eliciting the best from seasonal British ingredients for his modern European menu. Expect a welcome and exciting culinary journey of around three hours.
Distance: 5,219 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: 6 flights a day
While open kitchens are fairly avant-garde in modern European or fine-dining restaurants, they are surprisingly common elsewhere. Cuisines such as Japanese and Spanish easily lend themselves to the visual aspects of food preparation, not to mention the smokehouse and barbecue restaurants of North America. Here, your eyes do the eating.