The concept sounds tempting again – and will only be accessible on two evenings a week, and then only to a maximum of six guests at a time: “Ernst is a private kitchen in Berlin where seasonal menus serve as a showcase of local farmers’ produce. We believe it is our task to honor the ingredients by bringing out their most delicious characteristics and to tell their story by telling ours.”
Hyperlocal and regional cuisine. In our case, even essentially reduced to the products of a small farm in the Berlin area. Prepared with all the greatest finesse and incredible love for every detail, especially for each product.
The setting fluctuates between supper club (after all, the dinner takes place in Dylan’s private rooms) and high professionalism with a total of four people in service and kitchen. The latter is strongly influenced by the philosophy of Japan. It was here that Dylan spent his first years as an apprentice at the three-star Ryugin, before moving to New York to Per Se, Daniel and Eleven Madison Park, and from there to Noma in Copenhagen.
We can expect a menu with well over twenty small courses (100€) and a wine accompaniment – alternatively, the menu can also be combined with suitable craft beers. The first ten plates are devoted almost exclusively to seasonal vegetables.
As simple and clear as the plates look – each one is terrific on its own. An extreme amount of technology and effort in preparation goes into almost every little delicacy. The cooking method, the additional components – there is always a story to tell and explain. Thus, the young small potatoes are cooked for hours at a very low temperature and thus develop an incredibly intense, yet light and fresh aroma. They come to the plate together with chips from potatoes from last year. The small Spreewald cucumber is marinated in a jelly made from homegrown apple cider vinegar. The dried rhubarb combined with salty smoky bacon is also sensational.
And it goes on great. With char sashimi. Trapped in a small lake near the city limits and killed on site using the Ikejime method. It then rests for almost four days before finding its way onto our plates lightly smoked to reveal its unusual texture.
This is followed by other exciting dishes. Special mention should be made of the duck breast, which is incredibly tender thanks to gentle sous-vide treatment, the skin thereby wafer-thin and crispy. Equally sensational is the egg cooked for six hours. Here, too, the product is the star. It was laid by hens raised without hormones, which lay eggs only in the lighter months of the year.
An evening at Ernst is a very special experience. Hardly any cuisine meets my taste so much in terms of focus on good products and the ideal process of preparation in each case. Over the years, a steady development has become apparent. The processes are becoming more sophisticated, and many of the additional components are now homemade and based on local products. The close proximity to the kitchen and team add to the appeal. At the same time, everything that leaves this small kitchen in Berlin’s Wedding sets the bar so much higher for other restaurants that are also dedicated to local and produce-focused cuisine….