Claim to fame: The latest addition to Berlin’s growing roster of sharable plate-menus
Reason to go: Pure ingredients and a warmheartedly sophisticated atmosphere
To look out for: Jovial Sunday gatherings with generous pours of natural wine
This small, open kitchen is helmed by two British chefs who seem to disagree on all points except one: to serve tastefully arranged flavor bombs, designed to wow you with their simplicity. Daniel Reimers and Neil Paterson call it “common sense cooking”, refusing the hackneyed label “modern European”, even though the menu is both Italian- and French-tinted. Reimers and Paterson met while working at the now defunct Industry Standard, a restaurant that served as an incubator for young talent and gastronomic innovation, and one that spawned Berlin’s craze for seasonal, medium-sized dishes.
Another thing the contrarian chef-duo agreed upon: their eatery had to be located in or close to Schillerkiez, an area flush with natural wine bars and radical coffee shops. Next, they recruited fellow Brit and sommelier Kerry Westhead to oversee and tailor the short but ever-changing wine list to Barra’s market-driven menu. This is where you’ll want to come for turbot crudo with kohlrabi, hazelnuts and granny smith apple, or mussels that are unpretentiously served on a small mountain of sauerkraut, giving the broth a slightly fermented, ocean-salty soupçon. Or you could just team up for a Sunday feast of blood sausage and pair it with a magnum of Le Coste.
At Barra, everything, including the very down-to-earth vibe, is in line with the chefs' ideology of timelessness, sustainability and origin. The suave, blonde décor is designed by a Scottish carpenter, but made with German wood, natürlich! Daytime, the communal table in the back of the dining room doubles as a prep station, an ideal surface for making pasta and sourdough bread. And while all the ingredients are plucked at arm’s length, the inspiration is well-traveled and borderless.