Before Stef left our project, we decided to hit one of Berlin’s handful of Michelin-starred restaurants. Opting for the one located in one of our most favourite neighbourhoods, Kreuzburg, a number of other people couldn’t believe a Michelin-starred restaurant could exist in the neighbourhood that invited the Döner Kebab.

Everything started off wonderfully – we were shown to our tables before being offered the menu choice and an aperitif to start. The menu errs a bit more on the slightly causal side of a restaurant, though I will note that service was extremely good throughout. Our menu differed slightly from the what was on the website, a good indicator the menu changes based on availability of ingredients.

We opted for the 5 course tasting menu and instead of the matching wines, opted for two different types of bottle of wines to share for the rest of the meal.

Shortly after deciding, a small amuse bouche arrived, fishcake with fresh apple and mango sauce (or at least I think it was – my memory is getting worse as times passes). I remember everyone being very impressed by the starter – fresh ingredients, delicate textures and a strong balance of flavours that worked remarkably.

We also got two types of bread – nothing particularly to write home about, but both came along with two different spreads – a tantalising light mayonnaise with garlic and herbs, and the other, fresh cheese curds mixed with some sort of green herb. Dare I say waldmeister (woodruff) that Germans seem to enjoy.

Here’s a picture of the Poached Saint Pierre in laurel milk with calameretti, confit tomato and dry olives. I can’t really comment on the dish since I didn’t order it, but others reported it was very nice. It also came with an ink sauce.

My first dish was the crayfish with eel jelly, baby artichoke, Granny smith and pancetta. For me, this was an amazing dish – the little jelly cube packed with eel flavour, the crisp salty pancetta balancing out sweet crayfish, with neither excessively dominating and apple and a scoop of apple-infused ice cream doing wonders to balance it out. No wonder these guys got an award for great food.

Next up was our Seabass with grilled asparagus, pea and tarragon gnocchis. A hearty piece of piece served with perfectly crisp skin, in season white asparagus (it’s everywhere at the moment), and a hearty handful of the potato pasta infused with the peas and herbs. Another winner.

When our dish of Braised and pan seared venison with brioche dumplings, yellow chanterelles and spinach arrived, we all commented on how wonderful it looked. Not content to have venison one way, we had it twice – but showing off the great flavours. Being a sucker for stewed meats, I particularly savoured the deep flavours developed by the braised version but both tasted amazing. The brioche dumpling also provided a nice textural counterbalance to the dish.

Finally on to our dessert rounds. Up first was the Cheese selection from Maitre Affineur Waltmann. It was a French selection, and although I’m not the biggest fan of cheese for dessert, it impressed everyone else – good selection from strong to soft, and of different textures. They provided more bread at this stage as well.

Here’s a quick picture of the dining room.

And well laid out cutlery throughout the meal.

Our final dessert for the evening, the Baked chocolate with cherry and ice cream made out of sour cream. The cherry came in three forms (fresh, glaced, and then served in a triangle form, effectively a mousse). The sharpness of the cherries naturally provided a great complement to the rich chocolate slice, and more counter balanced by the sour cream ice cream that worked to cleanse the pallette with every mouthful.

Not to be overly done, they also served a dish of petite fours (indeed various cakes, chocolates and bites to delight).

Hartmann’s is gold. Service was particularly great throughout the evening, warm and friendly at the same time without getting in the way. It’s strange location makes it even better. I reckon it’s also one of the best valued restaurants I’ve been to for some time (for the quality of food such as this).

Name: Hartmann’s
Found at: Fichtestrasse 31, Kreuzberg, Berlin 10967
Website: http://www.hartmanns-restaurant.de/

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