Das Volta is a Gastropub in southern Wedding and one of the most innovative restaurants of 2013. Serving up some of the freshest fusion food and beer you can find north of the Spree, this place is the symbol of the new Wedding and a very cool Berlin eatery.
Volta opened it’s doors in May 2012 in an area otherwise deprived of sophisticated culinary action. Wedding has been rumoured to be an up and coming neighbourhood for the last 10 years but until now this really hasn’t been true, especially not when it comes to restaurants. The opening of Volta changed this and 2013 has been the year where things really started happening on south Wedding’s Brunnenstraße. We’ve seen eateries like Joris and Jää-äär pop up and Brunnenstraße has become a hot address in northern Berlin where Volta undoubtedly played a big role in the development.
This is one of the coolest restaurant venues is Berlin
The crew behind Volta is a mix of experienced people, especially Cookies head chef Stephan Hentschel and chef Oliver Lorenz are well-known characters in the Berlin restaurant scene. With Volta they realized their vision of a modern Berlin gastropub and the choice of location was quite daring considering the total lack of similar establishments in the nearby surroundings. But that’s probably exactly what the founders liked about Wedding. The restaurant is located right off the U-Bahn station Voltastraße in an unique glas structure. The venue has large windows all around, opening it up to everybody and it seats about 50 people in an arrangement that is centred around a large, u-shaped bar. The place is dark, the lights look like something straight from a club and the floor is naked concrete creating a rough but still sophisticated atmosphere. Which is bloody awesome, because if you ask me this is exactly how a Berlin gastropub should look like and this is one of the coolest restaurant venues is Berlin.
The food at Volta is a funky mix of German, American, Indian and South East Asian flavours and the menu is comprehensive, it usually consists of no more than 12 dishes of which most also just are bite-sized. There are usually two dishes that in terms of size qualify as mains and the rest can either be eaten as starters or as components of a tapas-style dinner. Classic examples of these smaller dishes have included a cooked beetroot/yogurt dish, a grilled beef “lollipop” wrapped around lemon grass stalks and also the famous Spice Balls (potato dumplings with Indian curry flavours). All very tasty. Another hidden champion of the Volta menu is the Cookie dessert, a supremely delicious mix of freshly baked cookie dough, müsli crumble, vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. One of my favourite desserts in the city, don’t leave this place without trying it.
Sometimes it’s just perfect, with the juiciest and tastiest meat, a brioche bun that’s just the perfect vehicle and not too sweet, the toppings adding several extra layers of brilliant taste
But while these dishes are all good and especially very creative fusion dishes, the star of the Volta menu is the burger. It’s the one dish Volta has become famous for across the city and in my opinion this hype is mostly justified. It’s a burger that has a lot of thought behind it and it’s one of Berlin’s first successful attempt in the gourmet burger category. A thick beef patty served in a brioche bun with ruccola, cheddar, bacon, pickle and a sweet barbecue sauce. Along with that you get a portion of the thin-cut fries and an onion ring. I had this burger more times than I can count and the biggest problem is the inconsistency. Sometimes it’s just perfect, with the juiciest and tastiest meat, a brioche bun that’s just the perfect vehicle and not too sweet, the toppings adding several extra layers of brilliant taste creating a complete experience. Sometimes it’s a big fail though, with the whole thing just falling apart in your hands and either over- or undercooked meat.
The Volta crew operates on a fine line between brilliance and failure
Volta also serves the outstanding Eschenbräu beer, which in my opinion is one of Berlin’s best microbrews. There is always a seasonal variety on tap and the wine list is also not bad along with a small but very good liquor selection. What really is the best thing about the Volta experience is the vibe though, I love how vibrant this place is and how the venue seamlessly transforms into a bar in the after-hours. How the buzzing outdoor terrace fills up with people during the summer. How the menu stays innovative in a way which not many other Berlin restaurants accomplish and how they successfully cook outside any existing framework.
The Volta crew operates on a fine line between brilliance and failure though and some new dishes do not work at all. In the summer of 2015 I had a Kimchi pancake dish that easily qualified as one of the worst things I ate that year. So while I really like this place and it remains one of the top locations in Wedding, I would advice to approach this place with caution and the right expectations. On the other hand, a Volta burger with a couple of ice cold Eschenbräu is also never a bad choice. Really not.