Distrikt Coffee in Mitte is very well known for their excellent breakfast food, from pretty stacks of pancakes to intense banana bread, but their chef is striving for more than putting avocados on toast. Hence the start of a new dinner series, focussing on the local produce from Berlin’s surrounding forests. I was lucky enough to be invited for their first vegetarian dinner last week, titled ëlder. A name that sounds very earthy, elemental, almost magical! And is referencing elderflower, an ingredient found in all of the five courses.We started with a kohlrabi, thinly sliced and plated as a fan topped with pickled mustard seeds and tarragon oil, that won us over with the pickled freshness of the mustard which was grounded by the earthy kohlrabi and the tarragon oil. It went all really well together, especially thanks to the natural wine pairing served by Le Goulot, a mobile wine bar focussing on natural wines.
We continued with a mushroom broth with a subtle earthy flavor, in which a yellow egg yolk met some pickled summer vegetables, among them a notable green asparagus, and fresh elderberries, which made for a surprising and juicy add-on and gave the soup a fruity twist.
The picturesque plated braised carrots were looking really nice in their all violet color, but lacked a bit of depth, while the goat cheese and the pickled elderflower blossoms coming with it where a lot more exciting. The next course was made of a chunk of roasted celeriac, and we actually wished it was some kind of squash – but again, the elderflower condiments and the next glas of a fabulous natural wine made for a great pairing.
We finished the dinner with delicious hay cheese served with giant blackberries, herbs, edible spruce moss (!) and an intense elderberry vinegar. It was preceded by a fern yarrow (Gold-Garbe, wußte ich vorher auch nicht…) cordial with sparkling water, that easily made for the best part of the dinner because the taste was so unusual yet so good (and I’ve never had fern-yarrow-anything before).
Disclaimer, I was invited by Distrikt Coffee to join this dinner free of charge with a friend.