Breaking new ground in both cuisine and ethos, critically-acclaimed & beautifully designed Katz Orange is certainly one of the most exciting restaurants in Berlin right now. We tracked down owner Ludwig Cramer-Klett to dig a little deeper..
Tell us about the name Katz Orange and how that came about?
The name actually relates to a real orange coloured cat! I saw it in South America many years ago and it taught me to look at the world from different angles.
Your location in a former brewery is absolutely incredible and the interior design of Andean/Peruvian tapestry on cushions & carpets really creates a tranquil ambience and cosy atmosphere. Tell us about the vision and who helped create it?
The designing of the restaurant’s interior was a similar process to designing my home – just in a shorter time period. I collected different objects and furniture items from all over the world for two years.
Other people had a big impact as well, especially the artist and architect Yoon Lee who helped us through the building stages and heavily influenced the look – the amazing light installation in our entrance area is hers as well.
Other friends and family also contributed to the design of the whole place, such as a good friend of mine, Swiss artist Kerim Seiler, who is responsible for the great light installation in the panel room and a few other ideas.
Interior designer Joachim von Schönberg, my brother Nikolas and my friend and designer Matthias Netzberger all helped to achieve the end look.
I always felt the need to collect things, not in a crazy fashion, but still with purpose. Every object has a meaning and that way you end up with a collection of memories of events that made me who I am and that are symbolic for a certain time or place that’s important for me.
It’s wonderful to see you credit your local suppliers on your menu. What is the restaurant’s ethos towards the food it sources and provides?
For us, the personal contact with our suppliers is incredibly important.
We only work with people who care immensely about the quality of their produce, the same way we care about the quality of our menu. It’s important to show respect to all our sources – the animals and also the plants, which we see as a living form as well.
We also want to try and show that you can create intriguing things out of produce that others have deemed rubbish – e.g. a stunning salad made out of cucumber peel, which blows the customer away. Generally we try to use as much of our produce as possible, even though we haven’t made this our dogma.
We want to inform people, we don’t want to set missionary rules. We buy a whole animal and will try to use all the different parts by making soup, a sandwich and a roast to make sure nothing goes to waste.
The meat is cooked for 12 hours on low temperature, which makes it incredibly soft whilst staying perfectly juicy. We also serve the meat in its own braising which sustains a lot of the delicious flavour.
Who knows, another reason why it tastes so delicious might also be the fact that you share it with your neighbour, which underlines the idea of sharing a meal – that surely is something that heavily influences the enjoyment of a meal.
You founded the Contemporary Food Lab within the Katz Orange complex. Tell us how this came about and what it seeks to achieve?
The Contemporary Food Lab is basically the roof for many projects which all have the common factor of food.
We love food and the Lab is a platform for different areas, all evolving around the topics food and nutrition, looking at them from different angles and perspectives, discussing and making them accessible for the public.
We have an online journal for example which examines from many different perspectives without being educational or dogma-like. Facts, stories, people and topics are treated with the same respect and entitlement as the food projects of the Contemporary Food Lab. We want to offer the reader something they can’t find anywhere else.
That also leads us to the second part – Hospitality! The Lab develops contemporary gastro-concepts which we think are needed – not just now but also for a sustainable future.
The third part of the Lab is probably best described as “Education & Exchange”: Through workshops and events we want to make relevant nutrition topics accessible for all interested parties, but again without dictating, but instead making people aware of the importance of the different topics though interesting and natural ways.
There really is a lot happening in the city at the moment – which was not the case for many years.
For us this is also a chance to keep developing further with the Contemporary Food Lab and start new projects. This summer we will be opening the small sister of Katz Orange, “Candy on Bone” – a slow cuisine deli at the canal in Kreuzberg.
And that’s not all, we also have more exciting news and ideas for the coming year…
Where do you like to eat out in Berlin when not at Katz Orange?
We’re always curious to try new places to see what’s happening in Berlin foodwise – but there are also some classics that we’ll always come back to – Often it’s worth to go to a place for a certain dish!
Taiwanese noodle soups at Lon Men’s Noodle House are great, Wiener Schnitzel at Engelbecken is surely one of the best you can get in town, Bosco’s subtle interpretation of Vitello tonnato makes great sense, too.
And now that Zenchichi opened in Berlin we also have now a great option for contemporary Japanese food!
Berlin is a city that invites you to try new, often a bit more hidden things that happen off the ‘official’ restaurant scene. You always have to keep your eyes open for current supper clubs and street food vendors that do amazing stuff.
Finish the following: “For me, Berlin is…”
…not an obvious beauty. But once you get to know the city a little better it becomes a true friend.
Be sure to check out Katz Orange‘s current menu and book a table soon to experience this incredible restaurant for yourself!