© Kirchgasser Photography
23 May 2022, by Jan-Peter Wulf
Foodpairing as the Interplay between Bar and Cuisine
How Michelin-starred restaurant Golvet stages its drinks and dishes
The food has already been awarded a star. But the ‘Golvet’ on Potsdamer Platz is also one of Berlin’s top restaurant destinations when it comes to its bar offering. Now the bar and kitchen team headed by Yannik Walter and Jonas Zörner are taking it to the next level – with sustainably designed beverages attuned to the menu and an edible – yes you read that correctly – an edible bar menu.
Many colleagues will envy Yannik Walter for the vistas from his new workplace: Golvet is a restaurant located on the eighth floor of a high-rise near Potsdamer Platz with large glazed windows offering spectacular views of the city, from the west of the city to far away in the south east. From the setting sun through the blue hour to the dark night studded with city lights – every evening an experience in itself.
© 40 SECONDS BERLIN
© Kirchgasser Photography
Challenge: bar at a restaurant
For Walter, this is the first time he has worked at a bar located within a restaurant – in 2017, he came from ‘Bukowski’s’ in Hanover to the ‘Amano Bar’. Two years later, he moved from the high-volume bar, (where Walter says “you can sometimes make 400 to 500 drinks in one evening”) to ‘Stagger Lee’. And now he has come to ‘Golvet’ taking over the sceptre from Andreas Andricopoulos, who switched from working nights to the daytime business and is now the Operations Manager at the restaurant ‘Ständige Vertretung’. So how is working at a restaurant bar for Walter? “It’s a personal challenge because I’ve never done this before. I used to think it was totally boring because most guests drink champagne as an aperitif anyway. Why do you need a bartender? But I talked a lot with Andreas and he assured me: At ‘Golvet’, people are open to that.”
Drinks attuned to the current menu
Managed by Andricopoulos the Golvet Bar had made a name for itself with aquavit cocktails, to name but one speciality. These are still available, but Walter now has his sights on two new focal points. The first are cocktails that are – buzzword alert – “paired” or coordinated with the menu that the young chef Jonas Zörner and his team create every three months. “Our goal was to create an ideal drink pairing to go with the food. And also to pick up on the seasonal aspect of the cuisine,” explains Walter. In concrete terms, this means accompanying the current second course, ‘Burnt turnips’ with red cabbage, milk and camomile, the bar mixes ‘Chou Rouge’, a drink based on bourbon that has been infused with fresh red cabbage. What sounds strange turns out to be highly interesting and convincing in terms of taste. The sweetness of the whiskey and the cabbage harmonise. Hearty, powerful notes are added.
“I boosted the drink with cinnamon, allspice, Calvados and Cointreau. Add some vermouth and a homemade lime cordial for the balance of sweetness and acidity,” explains the bar professional. The ‘Celery’ course with hazelnut, tarragon and jalapeño is accompanied by a non-alcoholic Martini twist with Martini Floreale, infused with celery and carrot greens, with a fine dusting of dill on the glass. Puffed tuna skin is added to the glass as a garnish for the fish course, and in general: working with ingredients from the kitchen, creatively and sustainably, is the approach taken here.
Mixing with ingredients left over in the kitchen
“As a matter of principle, we use a leftover item from the kitchen as an ingredient for each drink with a view to working holistically on products. Sustainability is exemplified by the chefs. So why not at the bar, too? Many off-cuts or supposedly inedible parts contain exciting flavours,” says Walter. He illustrates this with three drinks from the new menu – which can be enjoyed as an aperitif before, after or during the meal. For the ‘Sakura Samurai’, for example, cachaça was infused with cherry blossoms from the previous year. Walter: “Our kitchen team collected them by hand and put them in salt to preserve them. We rinse them and infuse them via sous-vide. Additional cherry blossoms that we had preserved in vinegar, we boil together with a white tea, add sherry and carbonic acid.” The result is a highball with floral, grassy and almondy notes.
With yoghurt left over from the staff breakfast
The second drink reflecting their proximity to the kitchen is the ‘Wood Stork’: Rye Malt from Stork Club in the Spreewald is married with orange blossoms and vanilla yoghurt. “The yoghurt actually comes from the staff breakfast,” Walter tells us. What’s left over is blended with the whiskey, strained and filtered. The orange blossoms, for their part, were left over from a previous food menu, dried, ground and boiled with sugar to make orange blossom syrup. A drink that gently rounds off the powerful rye whiskey with citrus notes.
© 40 SECONDS BERLIN
Leftover Champagne for the cocktail
Drink number three is the ‘Beercules’ featuring a restaging of the capital’s classic Berliner Weisse. “We pick the woodruff ourselves, of course,” says Walter. It is dried and thus preserved. In addition, there is leftover Champagne (because of course, despite the great drinks we serve, many people still also order the gourmet classic as an opener or along with their drink). “Leftovers from bottles that were opened during the evening and not consumed, we then boil up with the woodruff as well as lemon juice from the last two days.” But it is not just added in liquid form; instead – as we are very close to the kitchen next door again – it is frozen and turned into a granité, infused with a Berliner Weisse. Great!
Techniques like in kitchens
“The constant changing menus give us the opportunity here at the bar to carry things over from past menus to the new drinks line-up,” says Walter. “Shelf life was one of the hardest points. We use a lot of supposedly old techniques to get where we’re going. Oleo saccharum, blending spirits with vegetables and fruits, canning, fermenting, pickling in salt as well as vinegars – and so we’ve been working our way towards using all the products bit by bit.” As well as creating an artisan parallel to the kitchen, which also uses these techniques – as a customer, you can see it as soon as you enter the restaurant: the glass refrigerator, several metres wide, is full of pickles, fermented concoctions and homemade kombuchas.
Ingenious interface, symbiotic teamwork
“It’s cool to cooperate with the kitchen,” says Yannik Walter. “It’s a brilliant interface. Jonas and I share the same approaches. When I’m standing at the servery and ask him for a flavour I need for my drinks, he advises me what to use. This creates a whole new dynamic.” Chef Jonas Zörner adds: “For me, a good pairing comes from perfect and symbiotic teamwork. Together we work out a harmonious interplay of dishes and cocktails, listening to each other, learning from each other, observing hand movements and techniques and appreciating every ingredient, every aroma. The basis for all of this is provided by the menu. A bartender’s art is to underline this well-considered creation with matching drinks, complement it or even challenge it in terms of taste – without overshadowing the food.”
New: “Edible drinks menu”
As if the drinks created in this close collaboration with the kitchen weren’t spectacular enough, the way the guests choose them is even more so: Because the drinks menu is edible. No, not edible paper. Rather, the core flavours of the respective drink direction are brought directly to the tongue. Anyone attending Bar Convent Berlin 2019 and visiting the ‘Beam Suntory’ stand there will certainly remember bartender Joe Schofield and chef Ryan Clift presenting a concept of this kind to the professional audience – by means of homemade gummy bears in different flavours, which were offered up for tasting, each guest could choose their own preferred world of taste – selecting drinks with their taste buds instead of reading the menu, as intuitive as innovative. Walter played a part in this at the time, as Schofield made the gummy bears in the working kitchen of the ‘Stagger Lee’. “I got on great with him right away and we exchanged ideas about this technique; I had already pursued a similar project,” says Walter.
© 40 SECONDS BERLIN
Bitter, floral and earthy
Which he can now stage on his own. Here's how it works: three different basic taste themes are presented to guests in the form of colored dragées, which they taste: Red is bitter, yellow is floral-fruity and green is earthy. In which of the three directions should it go? Based on their decision, there are then four drink recommendations in each case - for example, the "earthy" theme is played like any other once as an aperitif, twice as the main drink, and once as a non-alcoholic variant. Incidentally, an alcohol-free mezcal alternative was even made in-house for this. “This kind of selection frees the customer from bias for certain spirits. And ideally, they discover something completely new for themselves,” says Yannik Walter.
With its new bar concept, the Golvet restaurant is now positioning itself all the more as a place to go for special drinks – whether before, with or after the meal – in addition to its great menus. Or just for a drink – it really is a Michelin-starred restaurant that you can visit “just” for a drink and enjoy the great view, if you like. Completely flexible, completely relaxed. The stiff gourmet attitude stops downstairs in front of the lift.
Potsdamer Straße 58, 10785 Berlin
© Kirchgasser Photography