imagesBerlin’s Kreuzberg is known for its bars, clubs and punks and not necessarily for its fine dining, and certainly not for its Michelin stars. Or not yet anyway. Horvath, tucked away and overlooking the Landwehr Canal in the heart of Kreuzberg, is among the newest arrivals in Berlin’s rapidly growing Michelin-star club. The relaxed and comfortable atmosphere of the restaurant is in part due to its low-key location and importantly, directs our attention immediately on to head chef Sebastian Frank’s impressive menu.


Likewise the restaurant’s interiors are decidedly simple, it does not look like a Michelin star restaurant. With a terrace in front for balmy summer nights, a wood-paneled front room for cozy winter evenings and modest furniture Horvath looks comfortable, but perfectly unremarkable. Frank, however, is at ease with the way the restaurants looks and certainly, the unassuming decor belies the glamour of the food. The focus is on the “quality of the food and the wine” and, given the well-presented and virtuosic nature of the menu, when the food is in front of you the aesthetic merit of the chair to your left is the last thing on your mind.


Horv_th_601955Frank’s innovative menus are based in his Austrian roots, where he began to learn about cooking from his mother. The restaurant offers 4,8 or 12 course menus with a sophisticated selection of German white wines and French red wines, and the variety presented is quite staggering. Over the course a meal, for instance, a delicate oyster mushroom and anchovy dish might be followed by braised white peach with celery and sour cream before roasted carrot accompanied by apple, goats cheese and poppy seed and then a barbecued beef shoulder with white asparagus and raw milk sauce. On paper it looks at least a little overcomplicated, but at Horvath it makes total sense.


berlin-eat-horvath-7The freshness of the food underpins the variety, and lays a foundation for the experimental, ambitious combinations of flavours. Horvath’s success lies in Frank’s ability to do a difficult thing well. There is a danger in menus consisting of multiple small portioned courses that the food can be undermined by its own complexity, fail to realise its intentions and lead to a disappointing meal. At Horvath however, creative food at its best can be found. The attention to detail is exceptional, with the slightest touches – the white asparagus tinged with charcoal, for instance – being significant and not at all superfluous. Frank’s drawn out menu almost provides a narrative in food, creating an exquisite dining experience that is well worthy of its Michelin star.


Restaurants like Horvath are the reason why Berlin is quickly making a claim on Germany’s leading city for food. Sebastian Frank is reluctant to concede that Berlin has already become Germany’s food capital, but remarks confidently that, « slowly, it is starting to happen. » Certainly the creative freedom that Berlin is renowned for, in art, in music, extends to cooking. « If this restaurant was somewhere more traditional, like Vienna, » Frank continues, « I don’t think it would be as successful. Here people are interested in new ideas, new things. »  Horvath is evidence that something special is happening in Berlin’s restaurants, and the Michelin stars falling on the city reflect that.


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