As soon as you enter the Konträr, you feel a sort of deceleration: this is a place for taking your time. Combining wine bar and restaurant, the Prenzlauer Berg spot was founded by Charlottenburger Taran Schiffer and chef Pablo Gomez. The pair have pedigree: they trained at The Culinary Institute of America and worked at New York’s Contra restaurant and Wildair wine bar under chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabiàn von Hauske Valtierra (the name Konträr is a portmanteau of their former kitchen employers). Located in the Winsviertel neighborhood, the restaurant (bar) serves an excellent combination of interesting natural wines and down-to-earth fusion dishes inspired by the food the duo encountered while traveling in Latin America. Their approach is intuitive: ingredients are picked based on what “feels” right, seasonality permitting, of course.
Taran chooses exactly the right wine for the evening – and for you. He picks with as much precision as Pablo puts into his sharing plates. We ordered the Rockefeller scallops, a plate of radicchio, some white asparagus with beurre blanc and – the highlight – octopus with roasted potatoes, chipotle jam and aioli. The wine recommendation was a 700 series cuvee from Jacquesson, one of the oldest champagne houses in France. Briefly put: it made us want to stick around. Combining spontaneity and lightness, Konträr is as happy a culinary hangout as you can think of.
Text: Michaela Wölfel / Photos: Konträr & Henry Laatzig
Michaela worked in publishing and architectural communication in New York before joining Cee Cee in 2015. She is currently studying a master’s degree in architecture, mobility and creative urban development.