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  • Visit Date: Saturday 10th February 2024
  • Restaurant: ernst
  • Address: Gerichtstraße 54, 13347 Berlin, Germany
  • Website:

The exterior felt like being in the urban part of Berlin, with the graffitied walls and doors, reminiscent of a residential area, with a door to knock and head inside. It felt like a place you needed to knock three times and give a password to get in.

Inside couldn’t be more different, with its clear wood and Japanese-style interior. Walking through, you would find a long wooden counter with just eight seats. There are two seatings per night, and I was part of the second one. This is always my preference, I prefer not feeling rushed in any way purely because the second seating is coming, despite the fact I don’t like to eat too late. I always find that the second seating anywhere is a more relaxed and leisurely experience. 

Though Dylan was away travelling, his amazing team were there for Beef Week, an amazing beef feast, using Wagyu Beef from Austria that had been dry aged for four months. Caviar was plentiful with N25, where you could buy a whole tin. I opted, of course, for the Oscietra, Hybrid and Kaluga, so I could indulge in them all. Being the world’s best caviar, and a heavenly match with beef, I shared with my lovely gourmand friends as we feasted. 

To start was a beautiful Beef Consume made the trim and bones, infused with Piemontese black truffle. This dish was clean and delicious. 

Next was the rump of the cow, made into a tartare and seasoned with horseradish and chives that had been preserved in oil. This was served with Basque anchovies, preserved Etxebarri-style (buried in salt for a few months, filleted and preserved in olive oil) in the winter, with pickled shiso, a touch of 60-day aged caviar and fried salsify on the top. I liked this; however, it was simply too much raw beef for me, especially this early into the meal. And so began the passing of my leftover morsels to my friends so there was no waste. 

On the side, a visually beautiful freshly baked brioche with colostrum butter, which is the first milk that a cow produces after birth.

Next was the tongue of the animal, cooked overnight, then sliced and rolled around salsify, parsnip, Jerusalem artichoke and German cabbage. This was then grilled to finish with sukiyaki, a beef sauce. This was interesting, though not a favourite. 

We then indulged in the wagyu beef-fat confit celeriac, tempura fried in batter made with spelt flour from Bavaria. This was served with tamamiso, which is miso, egg yolk and sake, cooked down together, finished with yuzu zest and karashi mustard. This was absolutely delicious and apparently what Ernst’s little dishes are usually like outside of Beef Week.

Then, the lank from the cow, cut from the brisket to the belly of the cow, an unknown cut I have not had before, nor did I know existed. It is incredibly tender and small, so rare that they only had enough for the five of us.  It was grilled in the moment and served hot with touch of wasabi oil to season, something really special. 

The neck of the cow came next, cooked in a broth of sababushi, a dried and smoked mackerel from Japan. This was then served with wild mushrooms, black trumpet, shiitake and maitake mushrooms, all of which had been smoked, dried, and grilled. As well, a braised daikon radish and spinach, wilted in the moment, was served alongside. This was a beautiful dish and I loved it.

Ribcap from the ribeye to follow, cooked shabu-shabu style, underneath an egg yolk which was cooked in beef fat, with white onion and green sancho on top. I added a generous spoon of caviar on top. 

Then, the heart of the animal, grilled over the fire and cut down with smoked oyster and a touch of beetroot that had been smoked and grilled, wrapped in radicchio glazed in beetroot juice and pickled shiso to finish. I found this just a mouthful of bitterness, that was not for my palate. 

Next was the chuck of the animal, the cut between the neck and shoulder. Typically for brazing, but when cooked quickly, it is quite beautiful. It had been prepared over hot charcoal, served in dashi with citrus and green sancho, all very nice. 

The endives were cooked overnight in oat-bran, which is a technique used in Japan to remove bitterness from product, leaving with a beautiful sweetness. This was then finished with a little bit of horseradish, lemongrass, finger lime and blood orange. Underneath, an emulsion in the style of a hollandaise in the wagyu fat.  

The ribeye to follow, slowly cooked over the grill, starting with the fat cap, moving in towards in the rib, and a small piece of the filet from inside of the cage was grilled over charcoal. Complete with three condiments, a karashi mustard, paste made from miso-cured peppers grilled and smoked and finished with green sancho salt on the plate, with a steam bun fried in beef fat and vinegar kombu on top. This was really good, although a little cold, but full of flavour and, of course, I topped it well with plenty more caviar. 

Then, the udon noodles cooked in the broth with the brisket, served with bone marrow and a touch of pickled ginger. The udon noodles had been bought together by hand, then they wrap and stamp on the dough using their feet, the classic way, to work the dough, followed by seven full folds of the dough with their feet. I must say these were the best udon noodles I have ever tasted. If I wasn’t so full, I would have polished this whole bowl off. The broth and the brisket were exceptional. 

Granita next as a palate cleanser, made from in-season citrus finished with green sancho pepper. It was clean, fresh and had a bite to it.

Then the colostrum ice cream with beef fat caramel. Holy moly, this was good. I loved it. 

To finish was the bancha tea, which are from the second harvest of sencha tea, with small pieces of hoshigaki, Japanese dried persimmons, which are prepared by peeling the kakis and hanging them from the lights for the last few months and then massaging the fruit to bring out the sugars to the edge, all served with double cream. A nice simple ending.

Final thoughts: I loved it all and was practically mooing by the time I left. I was pretty full around halfway through, but I loved all the interaction with the chefs. A special shout out to Jack who looked after us so well and explained everything brilliantly. I would like to return for the normal Ernst experience before they sadly shut their doors later this year, so I highly recommend that you get booked in soon to at least try it once.

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