Vienna saves the day once again
Claim to fame: The Austrian in charge of German culinary development
Reason to go: Casual yet very refined fine dining experience
To look out for: The wine list extending into Eastern European territories
A “no-fuss, modern take on his childhood’s cuisine” is probably the mantra Sebastian Frank repeated to himself in 2014 when he and his wife went out on a limb and took ownership of restaurant Horváth, the establishment where he previously spent four years as Chef de Cuisine. Fast forward to 2016 and Frank is now one of Berlin’s most celebrated chefs, his dining concept, set in a surprisingly casual venue, breathes fresh air into a notoriously stiff, somewhat stagnant cuisine stuck on schnitzel and kaiserschmarrn.
With the ambition to give Austrian cuisine a global audience, Sebastian Frank welcomes diners to his version of Horváth, an unassuming establishment tucked between cafés and ramen eateries on Paul-Lincke-Ufer, the famous restaurant-lined promenade on the Kreuzberg side of the Landwehr canal. While the venue’s wood paneled walls scream classic Germanic fare, the chef’s nine-course tasting menu quickly silences that notion. Ingredients, sourced mainly, but not exclusively, from the region, are presented as simple dishes, focusing around three items. Pork, freshwater fish and game are the proteins of choice. A seared trout is served with lemon zest, apple blossom jelly and a very smart veal kidney fat-foam. Famed, local vegetables are also put in the spotlight, like the roasted yellow beet paired with poppy seeds and dill flowers. A steamed potato hefekloß (yeast dumpling), served with stewed blueberries and a lard glaze is a brilliant study in savory and sweet. The menu is paired with a wine selection firmly rooted in the classic Austrian and German terroirs, though Frank increasingly brings in bottles from exciting, Eastern territories, Slovenia and Hungary among them.
Chef Sebastian Frank keeps wooing his diners with the flavors of his re-invented Austrian fare and there seemingly nothing that can stop him from reaching further success. Considering that most classic German dishes were once inspired by Austrian cooking, it makes even more sense to have a chef from Vienna at the forefront of the next culinary development of German cuisine.