A lot has happened in Berlin in the past decade. From a city that was rather poorly endowed with gastronomic restaurants, it has blossomed into one of the more exciting culinary destinations of Europe. Reinstoff’s location in the Edison Höfe is part of its appeal. This compound saw the first light bulb in Germany produced here in 1883, and has been entirely renovated in the early 2000s. The brick structure of the building is also the defining feature of the decoration of the dining room, and lends warmth to it, which is contrasted by the dim lighting.
That this is no stiff German gastro-temple is evident from the moment you walk in. The staff don’t wear ties, and the manager has come from de Librije, and has brought a bit character with him from the lowlands.
However, working in a historically significant building has its downsides. For a restaurant that was given a second Michelin-star recently, Reinstoff’s working environment for the chefs is not ideal. Size-wise it must be similar to the tiny kitchen of the old Amador in Langen in which chef Daniel Achilles has spent some time. When one takes these constraints into account, Reinstoff’s food is admirable.
Taking his background into consideration, Achilles’ cooking is much less technique-driven than one might think. In fact, there is a side of the cooking that leans towards the very naturalistic approach fashioned by the New Nordic movement. The use of cereals, and savoury elements in desserts, and the plating give you this impression.
Achilles’ cooking is best, when it combines a good product with precise technique, and balanced seasoning. A langoustine served with apple vinegar, and sugar beet is one such dish. The shellfish has the crunchy texture that makes it so desirable, and the flavour profile is unique, with the acidity of the vinegar, and sweetness of the beet coming through prominently.
Another intriguing dish is cod served with seaweed and rice. The fish is timed beautifully, and has good bite. Again it is a polarising flavour profile, but one that is refreshingly different. On top of this, the dish feels very natural, without heavy sauces, or large amounts of fat used in it.
Achilles’ cooking at Reinstoff is best described as daring. His flavour pairings are idiosyncratic, and at times quite risky. Not every dish here is perfect, but one feels that there is a chef who works hard here, and tries to come up with a truly distinct set of dishes.
Visitors to Berlin ten years ago could hardly have imagined the qualitative leap that has happened here over the last years. Not only has the quality of the restaurants themselves become ever better, but the variety of what is on offer is remarkable. One of the restaurants that will surely further contribute to this development is Reinstoff, as there is potential here that is waiting to be unlocked.