Can you see this? How simple this is? It all seems so easy. A roasted cherry here, some toasted hazelnuts there, a tangle of peppery rocket and a slice of blue cheese. How can that be all you need for a triumph? There's no trickery, no foie gras inside a marzipan lemon, no fanfare and all class, that's Little Otik.
I knew it was starting off well with a glance at the cocktail list. We saw a lot of rhubarb on menus in Berlin, there you can find rhubarbernektar - a syrupy kind of rhubarb juice which is good on its own or in cocktails. We ordered two Kissed Out Red Floatboats, a cool glass of vodka, rhubarb shrub, rhubarb juice and soda. It's something Barbie would drink, if Barbie could open her mouth and was into cocktails. It was still sunny at 8pm, we had a table on the pavement and ordered one of everything on the entree menu, as you do when it's so cheap, as nearly everything is in Berlin (it's actually insane). Zucchini flowers, a jumble of summer tomatoes, cucumber, quinoa and herbs with a buttermilk dressing, spare ribs with rhubarb chutney and mixed charcuterie.
House-made wild boar sausages came next, with fregola, basil pesto and a zucchini caponata, but it was the grass-fed rib eye with a zesty and bright anchovy and rosemary sauce with a vinegary panzanella that tipped me right over into bliss. I've been blind-sighted by a panzanella before in San Francisco's Zuni Cafe alongside their wood-fired chicken, and I'm not sure why I haven't tried to make one before. But I did plant my first tomato plant of the season last week, so until that fella sprouts, or another flight back to a Berlin summer falls into my lap...