In the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg lies a plethora of innovative and intimate restaurants—the latest addition of which is ‘Otto’, the tiny 19-seat, zero-waste dining experience brought to life by young owner and chef Vadim Otto Ursus.
Ursus was born in Berlin, and is something of a hardworking sojourner. Having lived and worked all over the world, with stints at high-end gastronomic venues including Noma in Mexico, Maaemo in Oslo, and Loco in Lisbon, Ursus is now rooted back in his home city, bringing his skills and experience from these establishments to ‘Otto’. The menu champions regional cuisine using seasonal ingredients, first concocted in his test kitchen—a former DDR bungalow located in nearby northern Brandenburg. Entrees, mains, and desserts are all designed for sharing; the focus, as always, is quality over quantity.
The signature dish at ‘Otto’ is the charcoal grilled whole brook trout, served with garlic and fresh wild herbs; leftover fish bones and skin are fermented to season forthcoming dishes. The fish may be preceded by a simple starter of sourdough bread, whipped butter, and fermented pickles, washed down by a glass of natural wine and followed by raw milk ice cream with pickled elderberries and plum seed oil: served not on a plate, but on a sculptural rock. As is the case with many spaces in Berlin, the design makes use of concrete as its primary material—an ode to the ever-influential Brutalist movement.