Aside from the fact that dóttir’s interior is stunning, and the place had loads of buzz thanks to their super talented female head chef (and name giver) Victoria Eliasdóttir, and is quite certainly becoming a success anyway because every project of it owners, Stefan Landwehr and Boris Radczun (of Grill Royal and Pauly Saal fame), will be successful eventually, there’s the food: nordic cooking made with local ingredients, like a Berlin view on Scandinavian dishes, light, beautifully colored and very delicious.
The style of the restaurant is remarkable: old wooden floors, flaky Altbau walls and ceilings, and the simple wooden bistro chairs and table join a selection of the owner’s art collection like a folded work of Katja Strunz and Cyprien Gaillard’s neon Indian. The fate of the building itself is still unknown, it might be knocked down next year to be replaced with a soulless office building. After all, it is directly opposite the former, and still deserted US-American embassy, just a couple of steps away from Unter den Linden and thus a prime Mitte location. And still I bet you can’t remember the last time you’ve been in this street in the Mitte of Mitte: Mittelstraße. dóttir’s now giving you a very good reason to change that.
Thanks to the origin of the head chef, the focus of the restaurant is fish and seafood, however, first time I ate something Victoria made was at the birthday of a friend, it was vegetarian and divine. I followed her through the rooms to let her know how much I loved it, and when I learned she was the responsible for the food at Raczun’s and Landwehr’s newest food project, I couldn’t wait to go.
We started the night with an excellent drink at a bar with yellow marble top (a worthy destination itself if you didn’t get a table) and then moved over to our table by the window to be greeted with a basket of breads spiced with cardamom and accompanied by a small bowl of slowly clarified butter. A treat so sumptuous, it instantly stained my white blouse.
dóttir serves four-course-menus only (58 Euros), while there’s always a vegetarian version, vegans are out of luck here. But fish-lovers will relish. The first course (pictured on top) was picturesquely arranged popped barley, pickled cauliflower, cress mayonnaise, burnt apple and wild herb salad, followed by a cold pea soup with fresh goat cheese and pickled radishes as the second course (pictured below).
The vegetarian main was salt baked chicory, fried celeriac, onion and cucumber salsa, parsley, celeriac mint puree, wild herb oil and a corn salad on the side. The whole menu was very close to what I enjoy to eat, full of greens and various textures (crunchy onions, soft puree, tart celeriac) and every ingredient was treated to become its best version. What also caught my eye were the careful arrangement of colors, all served dishes where dominated by shades of greens, from light, yellow chicory green, fresh pea green to the intense dark green of the wild herb oil. The greens were contrasted by the soft red of the pickled radishes and the purple edible flowers, and greatly supported by different shades of brown, like the dark brown roast-stripes on the light brown celeriac you see below.
The color-theme was continued and closed with the beige-brown taking over in dessert, where a seabuckthorn sorbet was combined with dots of whey cheese and a perfectly cut slice of a delicious chocolate cake with a thin crust and super soft crumb. Which makes me want to suggest that this theme of coordinated colors is intentional. Are these the colors of Iceland, Victoria’s home country I’ve not yet been to? Or are they a reminiscence of the quintessential Scandinavian greens? When you come to think of it, coordinating colors makes sense considering Victoria is the daughter of artists and the sister of one of the most popular contemporary artists we know (in whose studio kitchen she started to cook). I might want to come back to verify my theory, just to see the colors of her food evolve over the seasons is what I would call a delight. Better sooner than later, though, because for now, dóttir is planned to only last a year.