BERLIN, Germany – Fine dining restaurants all have a certain aura: white tablecloths, formal service, first quality ingredients, experimental cooking techniques, and an obsession for detail and perfection. Restaurant Reinstoff Berlin is no exception to this rule.
In this series, Cédric Lizotte visits some of Europe’s best restaurants. He shares his inside knowledge about the best places to sample the delights of some of the best chefs on the planet. Follow his gastronomical journey with the hashtag #CedricInEurope.
Hidden in a former factory in the Mitte district, Reinstoff’s dining room is dark with high ceilings, but somehow the lighting gives it an intimate feel. The service, including sommelier service, is flawless.
With two Michelin stars, 18 Gault Millau points and decorated Chef Daniel Achilles at the helm, one might expect a haughty attitude and stilted experience, but that’s not the case. In fact, Reinstoff seems to have a more casual attitude than other restaurants. It feels like we’re allowed to laugh, at this restaurant… as opposed to some of the more serious ones.
As for the meal, it is simply excellent.
Restaurant Reinstoff Berlin: aperitif and appetizer
The aperitif is a simple kir made with Weingut Geheimer Rat Dr. Von Bassermann-Jordan Reinstoff Exklusiv (made from a mixture of white grapes). What a name!
The appetizers are extremely elegant. The venison saucisson – served on a deer bone – is beautifully presented and recalls the origin of the meat.
The onion tart looks like a small cracker. It is delicious, flaky and delicate.
The white beet is served inside a crunchy ball of mochi. The technique is amazing and the result is surprisingly fun.
The trout “jerky” is served on fish skin; the textures and techniques create an experience that tastes familiar, but looks entirely new.
This is the theme of the evening: the dishes served at Reinstoff consistently surprise the eye. The ingredients, technique and presentation are unfailingly creative, while the tastes are true to form.
The saucisson tasted just like (excellent) charcuterie. The onion cracker’s taste is precisely that of an onion tart. The mochi hides a simple beet. And the trout jerky recalls smoked salmon.
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Next, a tiny marinated herring sandwich. Again, traditional tastes with a delicate and unique presentation!
Restaurant Reinstoff Berlin: ingredients and wines “close by”
At Reinstoff, diners are presented with two options: “close by” or “quite far”. The first features dishes made wtih local ingredients and honours wines from Germany and the surrounding area. The second features imported dishes and wines. Since I’m not from around here, I chose “close by”.
The first wine: Etsdorf, by Matthias Warnung, of the Kamptal region of Austria (Grüner Veltliner). It is very light, with hints of pear, and good minerality.
The first dish is a European buffalo tartare with Belper Knolle cheese and a whey vinaigrette, accompanied by greens. I must confess, I have had such horrible tartares in the past that I was dreading this dish. To my surprise, the meat was light, simple and the dish well-executed, offered with a superb presentation – a lovely introduction. The only downside was that the dish was offered with a glass of white. Even though the wine was delicious, I’m stuck in my ways, since for me, a tartare demands a glass of red.
The second course, paired with the same wine, was thin slices of rare and warm beef heart, served with a nice sweet sauce and a few vegetables. Great presentation, great dish, great taste, great textures. And this time, the wine goes tremendously with the meat.
Then the waiter approaches to tell me there seems to be a small delay in the kitchen. To make amends, he offers me to taste a sparkling red. It’s not every day you hear of a red wine that fizzes like a champagne, so I’m curious, and find The Bardong Extra Brut (Pinot Noir) nothing short of amazing. This is one of the best sparkling wines I’ve ever tasted. The sommelier informs me that they only produce an average of 7,000 bottles a year. It is light, but the taste of Pinot Noir takes its place, and occupies the palate even better than a white grape would. Wow!
Restaurant Reinstoff Berlin: Main course
The main course is a pike perch fillet, with kohlrabi and wheat sauce. What delicacy, what a perfect marriage, what a performance! And the wine, the sparkling pinot noir, is so incredibly well paired with the dish, it is close to perfection!
Then another esoteric wine, a rosé icewine: Weingut Essinger Sonnenberg Beerenauslese, Frey, 2010 (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). It is hyper sweet, thick, complex — a grape syrup with a thousand savory shades. It is accompanied by a medlar sorbet drenched in orange wine, which plays the role of a trou normand.
Next, with the same wine, a plate of goat cheese at different stages of maturation, accompanied by roasted celeriac and marinated strawberries. Again, it is a perfect collision of tastes.
Finally, for dessert, a still cider – Andreas Schneider, Obsthof am Steinberg, 2013 – is accompanied by the “fruit tree”: Reinstoff’s version of the Baumkuchen, this dessert so typical of Germany, with flowers and fruits.
I must admit: this has been one of the best meals I have enjoyed in my life. Hat’s off!
Schlegelstrasse 26C, 10115 Berlin, Germany
+49 30 30881214