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Restaurant Merold The art of understatement

Tuesday, July 12 2022
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Opening Times

Tuesday to Thursday: 7:00pm - 11:00pm

Friday & Saturday: 7:00pm - 11:30pm

Address

Restaurant Merold
Pannierstraße 24
12047 Berlin-Neukölln
.How to get there

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+49 30 627 332 10
.restaurant-merold.de

In Berlin, it often happens that outward appearances disguise inner values. Neukölln, in particular, knows how to surprise: Behind an unadorned, grey industrial door in a fully boarded wall, you enter a bright and tastefully furnished restaurant that is not at all reminiscent of the cheap Italian restaurant that once resided here many years ago.

Back then, when Neukölln was a completely different place, and one still had to be brave to go to Hermannplatz. Today, however, times are different. And it's not just the interior of Restaurant Merold that impresses with its restrained understatement, which at least reminds us of Copenhagen. Jonas Merold has been pursuing his version of a modern restaurant here since November 2021.

His focus is on the food: impeccable cooking, good products from the region and a small firework of aromas await us tonight. Otherwise, Jonas style is reduced - "without frills", as he says. At the correspondingly straightforward stainless steel counter, sommelière Katy welcomes us warmly and provides us with water and aperitifs.

Zwiebel Restaurant Merold Neukoelln Bildermanufaktur Ralph Keller
Tempeh Blaubeeren Pilze Restaurant Merold Neukoelln Bildermanufaktur Ralph Keller
Karotte Restaurant Merold Neukoelln Bildermanufaktur Ralph Keller
Reh Rosenkohl Kartoffel Restaurant Merold Neukoelln Bildermanufaktur Ralph Keller
Restaurant Merold Neukoelln Bildermanufaktur Ralph Keller
Restaurant Merold Neukoelln by Boisix (2)
Restaurant Merold Neukoelln Bildermanufaktur Ralph Keller (2)
Restaurant Merold Neukoelln Bildermanufaktur Ralph Keller (1)

These demonstrate what the Merold has to offer in terms of oenology. A Pet Nat Ordinaire in beautiful red-orange stands next to a classic Crémant de Bourgogne. They always try to offer a somewhat funky wine as well as a classic version for those not too fond of natural wine, Jonas Merold explains. They both taste incredible.

Merold is Jonas' first own restaurant, but before that, he had already been around a lot in Berlin kitchens. His CV features big names - training with Tim Raue, then a few years at the Coda Dessert Bar - but here at Merold in Neukölln, he is both approachable and down-to-earth. Perhaps also because you regularly see Jonas in service.

Surprisingly, this is also a result of the staff shortage that is noticeable everywhere, which Jonas solves extremely charmingly: at Merold, the kitchen likes to bring a plate to the guest itself. At any rate, you don't notice any shortages at Merold.

Jonas, too, regularly jumps back and forth between kitchen and service, visibly feeling comfortable on this side. He has also learned at Coda that you need a cook in the dining room. Especially with sometimes quite complex dishes, he says, it is a real advantage to have prepared them yourself in order to explain them. 

For the cheese course, for example, camembert has been marinated in garlic for a fortnight. On top, redcurrant cranberries, sour onions and purple carrot provide an acid contrast. The dish offers a lot of flavours and is intensely and boldly seasoned. Its aroma envelops the entire palate. Concerning the strong self-confidence when it comes to intense flavours, you do notice a little bit of the Tim Raue pupil at Merold - that, goes without saying, is a compliment.

We especially love the onion, which has become a signature dish at Merold: "In my career as a chef, I have rarely said to a dish, 'This must not be changed anymore'." That's the case, he says, with this dish of onion slowly caramelised in smoked butter and lacto-fermented koji foam - and we understand why: various benefits of the versatile staple come together on this plate.

So we polish off the cream of buckwheat and black garlic, which blends wonderfully with onion and koji foam at the bottom of the plate, to the last bite with Domberger's sourdough bread. Not, however, without first spreading a generous amount of koji butter on it. Ah yes, that's the way to go.

Sommelière Katy serves us an exciting Solera white wine from Alsace, in which three different vintages mature together in sherry wood barrels. A little caramelised, dry but nutty, plus dried fruit aromas blend beautifully with the intense flavours of camembert, onion and ferment. 

Jonas is passionate about fermentation; he is even planning his own fermentation room in the cellar. He is an advocate of the excellent product, of the craft. And so it's hardly surprising that the labneh was selfmade, served with skinned pointed peppers, strawberries, (of course) homemade strawberry vinegar and tarragon oil at Merold. While we wouldn't necessarily miss the toasted pumpernickel with it, we are thrilled by the creaminess of the labneh.

The ox heart tomato evokes pure delight in us: meaty tomato meets pumpkin seed oil, fresh and pickled currants and dulse seaweed and throws a little summer party in our mouths. Delicious! Just like the Blaufränkisch Rosé by Jiri Barta from the Czech Republic, dry and earthy, it nestles up against the intense flavours from Jonas' kitchen.

And boldly, it continues: behind the beef on the menu are homemade Maultaschen. "If we wrote Maultaschen on the menu, no one would order it," Jonas suspects. In any case, we are happy about this great dish that briefly takes us back to grandma's kitchen, even though she probably wouldn't have seasoned it with smoked carp garum, Thai basil oil and chilli oil. No matter, the cold bright tomato essence Jonas pours us at the table promises summer. It's deep, it's homey, it's really good. 

Like the beef, the venison in the venison sausage comes from the organic farm Gut&Bösel in Alt Madlitz. Flavoured with young miso and thyme, this dish also dares a lot. If only because the mix of Bavarian slaw and kimchi is surprisingly spicy. Just as deep, just as homely, just as suitable - especially the grained mustard. A light, chilled red wine, Côte de Brouilly from Laurence et Rémi Dufaitre, with lots of fruit blends wonderfully with the smoky flavours. 

On top of our smoked hay ice cream with shio koji, pickled strawberries, puffed spelt, and basil oil with a clearly perceptible honey note, we order a nightcap: bloodroot and slivovitz - yes, you read that right. Jonas likes the contrast as well as the understatement. 

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