It’s fair to say that Germany got a little bit left out of the picture during the whole “New Nordic” movement, as Scandi countries hogged the limelight. But that’s all changing. Berlin is establishing itself as a hub for German cuisine, and helping to put the country on the foodie map. Taking a trip around the capital, we discover the game-changing restaurants in the city.
Canadian-born chef Dylan Watson-Brawn started up Ernst as a Berlin supper club, which eventually whipped up so much hype that he opened up his kitchen in permanent residence in Gerichtstraße last year. This 12-seater eatery is serving a 28-plus course menu in a very Japanese way. Watson-Brawn’s premise is to focus on one single product paired simply with dashi, a sauce or an accompaniment that demands your focus and attention. Sounds simple? It isn’t. But it’ll have your tastebuds rejoicing.
Hailed by food critics as “the single most hyped restaurant of the decade” is restauranteur Billy Wagner, whose dining room at the bottom of Friedrichstraße made it to number 88 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list by focusing on German cuisine. There are low-ceilings plus a seating plan which means diners encircle the chefs in the middle of the room. The kitchen pushes out innovative, Michelin-starred plates and they’re almost manic about their dedication to seasonal local produce. On the 10-course tasting menu? Creations such as Baltic cod, hazelnut milk and yeast ice cream with malt.
Number 48 on the World’s 50 Best restaurant list is two-starred Tim Rau. His simple white dining room with cobalt-blue banquettes may look simple, but the food certainly isn’t. Raue gives German ingredients an unexpected Asian twist, like langoustine with wasabi and duck liver with miso and apricot. It’s so good, Angela Merkel even took Barack Obama there on an official state visit.
Most people think of German food as a lot of meaty-heavy wursts, but two-Michelin-starred plant-based Horvath is overturning that notion with its plant-based tasting menu, although a carnivorous version is also available. Charred beets on a bed of edible ‘soil’ and aged and dried celery can be paired with a non-alcoholic drink pairing. There’s a focus on Austrian ingredients here and chef Sebastian Frank deconstructs familiar flavours, reassembling them in a genius way.
Wine lovers will love Rutz – where downstairs in the bar and wine shop the walls are stocked from floor-to-ceiling with bottles. Alongside a glass, you can enjoy small plates from the bistro, with include deer salami and black pudding bread with homemade butter. Upstairs, the restaurant is more of an occasion. Chef Marco Müller serves an “inspiration menu” comprising of meadow milk mackerel and tomato tea and vine wood and pine duck with brussels sprouts. Their menus claim to come to “the rescue of German cuisine”. A bold claim indeed, but one which this two-Michelin-starred restaurant pulls off.