In Berlin, Otto Is The Small Restaurant That Hums

After years of pop-ups and preparation, Vadim opened otto in December 2019 in a small space on Oderberger Straße, Berlin. The restaurant’s philosophy is simple: it’s about seasonality and regionality, and the aim is to be as self-sustaining as possible. It is not only about what is on the plate, but also how it got there. Central to this ethos is the relationships Vadim and his team have with local dairy and vegetable farmers and small-scale agriculture producers, who often focus on just a few specialties. “For me that is the only logical thing to do,” he says. “We want to be involved in the whole process: putting the seed in the ground, harvesting it, and helping to keep the field clean, for example.” Many foraged ingredients make it into otto’s kitchen, such as wild herbs, berries, and flowers. “It’s always a pretty good reflection of what is growing at the moment in the countryside, and we like to leave things quite pure.”

Having a close relationship to the people who produce the food or products you consume is the most important thing for Vadim. “It’s a lot more work and a lot less choice—as opposed to going to the market and ordering cases of produce to be delivered the next day. But it is what we should be aiming for: to use what there is, and have a proper understanding of what we’re eating.” Vadim’s connection between countryside and city is translated through his restaurant, where high-quality ingredients are transformed into exquisite dishes that exemplify the earthy terrain of Berlin’s surrounding landscapes. “Since I started cooking, it was always very important for me that I cook what’s around me,” he says. “So we try to bring ingredients as natural as possible onto the plate, in a way that is sort of rustic and fun to eat.”

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