To us, Berlin in autumn 2021 tastes like a Stulle: a slice of long-rested sourdough crafted not by a baker but by the young chef Maximilian Hühnergarth in Neukölln’s Schillerkiez. On top lies beetroot and cured char from the boutique aquaculture operation 25 Teiche in Fläming and the final touch is a piece of puffed-up trout skin that has been baked, then dehydrated, then fried. This is the kind of finicky process you’d normally see at a fine dining restaurant (and they definitely wouldn’t use it for a sandwich garnish).
But Max Hühnergarth would. His sourdough now accompanies the menu at the Michelin-starred Tulus Lotrek in Kreuzberg. When he can’t do something himself, he keeps it in the family. The terrific sausages on his charcuterie platter are made by his father, who runs a butchery in Thuringia.
Hühnergarth Jr cooks in a kitchen which once belonged to the Genezarethkirche, the mammoth brick church in the middle of Herrfurthplatz. His predecessor was Café Selig, whose upscale breakfast fare and regular drag events found favour with the queer international community, but they succumbed to the corona crisis last autumn. Since then the glass interior and sunny terrace were turned over to a pair of young gastro-entrepreneurs who already knew a thing or two about sacred spaces: Daniel Kalthoff and Jeremias Stüer of 21 Gramm, the always-packed brunch hotspot in the former chapel of the nearby St. Thomas cemetery.
However, if 21 Gramm is an unquestionably good café with a spectacular atmosphere, Terz is a spectacle in itself, driven morning, noon and night by a hunger for discovery. Is it a café, a deli, a lunch-spot, a restaurant, a pub? Yes, to all. And at the centre of it is determined craftsmanship and great, ethical sourcing. The wines are organic or biodynamic, and the tap beer comes from Schultheiss, a nicely traditional choice for this too-rapidly changing neighbourhood.
Food-wise, you can’t miss those Stullen (from €6). They change with the seasons but are always available in omnivorous and vegan varieties. At brunch, that same exceptionally moist sourdough comes alongside Alte Milch cheese, trout and a soft-boiled Weide egg or tahini, lentils and fermented vegetables. Sweet treats like cinnamon rolls, cakes and cookies are available till 4:30pm – after which Terz now takes a breather to get ready for dinner. The small plates and bigger mains on the menu might feature kimchi, eel and hollandaise, or pumpkin, pine cones and rose hips. No matter what, this new phase of Terz is a well-deserved altar to a soon-to-be-huge chef. And any concerns that the place will lose its accessible, nonchalant reputation are, as we have already tasted, unfounded.
Read more about Terz and other top 2021 restaurant openings in Tip’s (German-language) Speisekarte, on stands now.