On Aerde’s website, you don’t find much information about the restaurant at first. A simple sentence reads: “aerde is a twenty-seat research restaurant with a special focus on the flavors of our local forests and fields.” A second link lists, in addition to the restaurant in Berlin, a location in Wendisch Rietz, Brandenburg, where the team at Aerde ferments gathers and experiments with what the region has to offer directly. I found this somewhat surprising because are we, as visitors, not primarily concerned with the guest experience, the final dish, and the ambiance? The team would keep us in the dark until the finely composed and flavorful plate was served before us. It requires research, test runs, an extensive repertoire of knowledge about the processing of products, and imagination. This is the repertoire that young chef Igor Kazakov, who previously served as sous chef at Cordo, brings to the table. He focuses on the fermentation of regional products. And so the versatility of this technique was the common thread of the lovingly prepared courses.

The homemade fish garum gives the regional trout with puffed (and also local) quinoa, served with smoked paprika oil, its well-deserved complexity. In short, garum is an ancient Roman seasoning sauce produced by the decomposition of proteins. We all know it from classics like fish sauce or soy sauce. Our personal highlight: roasted oyster mushroom on pickled Wunderlauch buds, a plant that only grows here in Berlin, on a frothy “Heu Hollandaise” that was as buttery as the name suggests. The Uckermark venison tartare, with pickled currants, beef garum, and garlic bread from Domberger Brotwerk Bakery, left us speechless. But it was not only the finely harmonizing ingredients: the wine accompaniment was also perfectly matched, and Hillevi Hövelmann introduced us to new facets of taste with exciting natural wines. A simple, reddish ocher is the dominant color tone of the entire dining room and offers both the concept and the name of the restaurant the proper finishing touch. The menu reads simple and understated, and the team is casual and warm. As host Justus Will clarified that evening, Aerde is all about the product and the technique. Everything else is a bonus.

Text: Laura Luisa Iriondo / Photos: Raaago

Aerde, Am Lokdepot 6, 10965 Berlin–Schöneberg; map
Tue–Sat from 18h