The importance of being Ernst

A counter seating only 12 people and an upstanding, Canadian 26-year-old chef. Analysing an establishment in Berlin ready to make its leap

Dylan Watson-Brawn, originally from Vancouver and

Dylan Watson-Brawn, originally from Vancouver and born in 1993, at work at Ernst in Berlin, Germany, 118th in the World's 50Best 2019 (photo andershusa.com)

To be or not to be Ernst? This is the dilemma which every young chef, at every latitude, faces. A dilemma that is only pushed aside by vocation, without which skills can never exceed a certain standard.

So it’s a question of being earnest, …or ernst, in German. With oneself, with products, with cooking, with guests. Dylan Watson-Brawn’s vocation came very early, at 16-17, and from Canada where he was born it unusually directed him towards the East. And while he was still very young, he soon arrived to the kitchens of Seji Yamamoto’s Ryugin. For many years this was considered a very strict but also extraordinary school. Then he worked in restaurants in Northern Europe and at only 24 he opened his own restaurant in Berlin. An immediate success.

The counter seating 12 people (photo instagram/Ernst)

The counter seating 12 people (photo instagram/Ernst)

A very clear website. A place with no frills, outside the centre. An elegant counter seating very few people, facing the open view kitchen. Always booked, and paid in advance. The chef’s motto is: When produce is pristine, less is more. He buys vegetables, seafood, meat and all, straight from a network of small producers, with no intermediaries.

The set menu changes depending on seasons and micro seasons, including 30 small steps. Eastern, Nordic features, with a contemporary and essential style, where it’s mostly the ingredients that speak, sometimes with pre-agricultural accents (which means flavours not changed by the research, started by Neolithic men, of increasing productivity: it’s worth the trip).

In the pantry, there are only pristine products (photo instagram/Ernst)

In the pantry, there are only pristine products (photo instagram/Ernst)

Will we return? Indeed, right away. We’re sure the first time we missed something, and we believe that Watson-Brawn, who is now 26, has moved much further.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

Gerichtstrasse 54
Berlin, Germany
Reservations online
Tasting menu: 185 euros; 105 euros for the wine pairing 
Closed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Open only in the evening 

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Gianni Revello

Ligurian, an art and food lover, while waiting to eat, he writes about what he’s already eaten: food worth writing, worth eating 

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