What increases your chances of finding a really memorable dining experience? Here are two key factors:
- travel to places. In this case, Berlin
- know the right folks. They will tell you where to go
So let’s talk about a very memorable dining experience. I am traveling a lot with a lot of fine dining – but this one will stay in memory for a long time.
We went to “one below zero” in Berlin, see http://einsunternull.com/en/. My impressions, in somewhat chronological order:
- No bold sign outside. In fact, we were standing right in front of the restaurant and it took a bit for the ‘Oh it’s right here moment’. You cannot just walk in, you have to ring the bell or hope for the friendly lady inside to notice you through the glass wall.
- You take the elevator one floor down, into a basement which used to be a beer cellar. Nice re-design with some (true!) vintage impressions left. You are by now just a foot above ground water level
- The staff is extremely friendly (we’ll get to that more), but not too nosy. First ‘wow’ impression of staff: we talk about the unusual water glasses and the waitress explains who makes them how (each one made by hand) and why they all look different
- Food excellent, as expected. Ingredients a bit on the unusual side, best described as ‘simple’ and ‘local’ and ‘few per dish’
- By the second course I am (seriously!) disappointed about design of the food. I am a rather visual person (Hey, I am on Instagram) and I miss the usual ‘color design’. By the third course I ‘get it’ – the muted colors are the point. The food color design is consistently what the photo dude in me would call ‘desaturated’. There is a course the photographer would call “rhapsody in white” (or high key) for instance.
- The somelier is rather young, looks competent to me (I am NOT a wine expert). Not being a wine expert doesn’t stop me from asking questions – and I did talk a bit with waitress #1 about ‘cork’ in wine. Out of the blue, she brings a glass of wine WITH cork for me to smell/try. The somelier then brings the same wine without cork. Wow. There is an ugly little secret with me and wine with cork, but I am not telling it here 🙂
- Even the architecture seems extremely well thought of. And again, the staff is very competent when asked. And the staff is young throughout (or is it me being old)
All in all a FAN-TAS-TIC experience. Extraordinary, consistently against the mainstream – I guess you first master and art and then you break all the rules. Being in very nice company helps 🙂
Only two pictures to follow, the first, in German “Spannrippe vom Rind mit Wurzelsellerie”, in English “spare rib of beef with celery root”. The sauce is incredible. Not shown: the pickled root celery.
The second picture helps you find the right toilet. Funny. And true 🙂