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Welcome to Nikkei Nine, the new Japanese fine dining restaurant with Peruvian and Brazilian elements. The coolest food in the place to be, right now.
The Fairmount Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten is ideally located in the heart of the city, near the inner part of the Alster – likely the most traditional of all Hotels in Hamburg. It already is home to arguably the best gourmet restaurant in Hamburg and certainly one of the Top 5 restaurants in Germany: The Haerlin, recognized with two Michelin Stars and 19 Gault Millau Points, conducted by Wunderkind Chef Christoph Rüffer.
Oddly, for more than 14 years the Hotel was also home to a somewhat underwhelming restaurant, a pan-Asian subterranean place which did not seem to have figured out its Yin nor its Yang, the Doc Cheng. In November of 2016 it was replaced by something … else. Something exciting. A place like no other in Hamburg.
Welcome to the NIKKEI NINE. On paper, it’s a modern restaurant for the Nikkei cuisine, a blend of Japanese fine food with Peruvian and Brazilian elements. You know, the sort of trendy cuisine that came to flourish in the past couple of years in cities like New York, Barcelona or Bangkok. It could be good; it could be great. But the moment you take the few steps down and enter the NIKKEI NINE, you know that there is nothing like a great concept executed in perfect fashion.
These colours. These lights. Everything is golden. And amber, cognac and black. The lightning is perfect. And this is just the bar! Super cool music plays in the background. It is a sublime atmosphere which soothes everyone entering or already waiting here. It’s a good thing if you and your entourage are dressed as smart and sharp as possible. The bar menu makes it easy to find the suitable drink for this environment: “The Lady from Limsa”, a Cucumber Saketini or Lychee infused sake. You may will feel a small sting when the friendly service will escort you to your table. You’ll want to stay in this bar forever.
But not for long. The restaurant itself is even more exciting. Small Séparées, sofas and the perfectly laid tables create a unique ambiance. You can see the open kitchen, the Japanese Robata Grill and most of the other tables. And oh! There is a live DJ playing these subtle tunes. But you can also be very private at your table, if you like, and concentrate on the marvellous food. Which you must try.
The rather small menu offers everything you would expect, from ceviche to sushi and sashimi. From Soba noodles to Angus beef and Wagyu Ishiyaki. As expected, the wine menu is also impeccable. Since you know that the Sushi-Master here is Yuki Hamasaki from Osaka (formally Ritz Carlton Osaka), you simply must order the sushi. And it is truly sublime, like no other. You really can’t do anything wrong here. The young executive Chef Ben Dayag from the US (formerly Nobu) ensures that every dish will not only satisfy your tongue but also the eye. The surprising taste goes well with the exceptional seating, the colour scheme, the music playing in the background. An overall incredible experience for all your 5 senses.
Nothing can spoil that almost perfect evening. Not even the somewhat over-eager staff. Maybe they are still as excited to be there, as you are. You don’t want to leave. And the good news is: You don’t have to. From Thursday to Saturday a DJ will play funky tunes and you are invited to dance in the bar area – which is great, except that it might feel like blasphemy… like dancing in a temple.
If you feel like catching some air, you are lucky. You just happen to step outside into one of the most beautiful parts of town. Stroll down right to enjoy the calm city centre and do some late-night window shopping, still experiencing the interplay of contrasts of superb ingredients and unusual flavours. You will love Hamburg at this point and promise to come back… even if it is only to return to the NIKKEI NINE.