No one could’ve predicted that, on the same day as the Scottish independence referendum, we’d be sat in an upmarket restaurant in Wedding eating a Scotch egg.
That reviled-as-it-is-revered snack of a soft-boiled egg, wrapped in seasoned hackfleisch, bread-crumbed and deep fried, that’s as British as the Union Jack and as working class as a tin lunch box, beautifully arranged on a plate next to a rucola and red onion salad. Volta’s (confusingly named) Manchester Nugget truly is a testament to what a United Kingdom can accomplish.
Two stations north of busy Rosenthaler Platz, Volta is an oasis of hip in an otherwise ungentrified strip which runs north into Wedding; its sharp, angular form pokes defiantly out of the grey, surrounding concrete. Inside it’s all jutting black lines and geometric shapes illuminated by fluorescent tube lighting and disco music.
Not exactly a burger joint, Volta is a young, chic restaurant with a tidy little menu which draws inspiration from many world cuisines – any place that offers a miso-glazed salmon fillet on the same menu as the aforementioned Scotch egg shows certain a level of ambition and vision. They also serve a burger: the Voltaburger.
The Voltaburger contains a 100% Black Angus beef burger, BBQ sauce, bacon, rucola, cheddar cheese, a slice of tomato and a Spreewaldgurke. It comes served with thin and crispy home-cut shoestring fries and crowned with an over-sized onion ring. The ultra-thin fries and the unique shape of the bun means the Voltaburger has a style of its own. The little hipster.
Onion rings are always a welcome addition and, after eating ours, and stuffing a handful of rosemary-seasoned fries into our mouths, it was time to try the burger. The bun is super soft, the burger super juicy. It’s an instant classic. Perhaps it was the multiple Eschenbräu beers we’d drank, but after that first bite our whole group was left silently smiling.
Now, I’m not usually a fan of rucola in a burger as it can often overpower the other flavours, but in the Voltaburger they’ve managed to balance it well – the quality and seasoning of the beef means its flavour stands up to, and is complimented by, the peppery leaves.
The brioche-style bun is almost very good. I say brioche-style because, whilst I’ve seen it labelled as ‘brioche’ in the past, it has a light, layered texture more akin to that of a croissant. The problem with this is that it quickly becomes saturated with grease from the burger and can easily fall apart. As soon as we’d started eating, everyone in our group instinctively rotated their burgers in their hands as the bottom had become too wet to support the patty. I think a little experimentation on Volta’s part, perhaps with a thicker bun that’s been lightly toasted to add rigidity and sweetness, would make this bun into something special.
A last slight criticism is that the BBQ sauce, bacon and cheese go slightly unnoticed. But it’s hard to complain when the overall burger is as enjoyable as the Voltaburger.
Volta has some quirks that could polarise people. Whilst being very helpful and attentive, the staff also have strong sense of professionalism and exacting standards for how the restaurant should be run – including how the clientèle behave. Whilst our first impression of the maître d’ was that she was a stern taskmaster, after a short while these qualities became likeable and endearing. Plus, it’s worth considering how important the maintaining of high standards is for a young, aspirational restaurant – in the kitchen definitely, but also in the dining room.
There is a lot to be said about a restaurant’s atmosphere and how that helps with your enjoyment of your meal. In our case, the restaurant was playing a seemingly never-ending playlist of classic disco and house tracks which really made our dinner into something memorable. That, and the beer.
Berlin’s own Eschenbräu beer is as flavourful as it is drinkable and before we knew it we’d already drank five or six. Then we had some more. Volta champions Berlin-made alcohol and, after sampling, it’s easy to see why – our waitress recommended us finishing our meals with a shot of KR23, a locally-made Kräuterlikör which contains 23 herbs, and it was the perfect digestif.
BLY’s top tips for eating at Volta
- Take cash… Volta don’t accept card and, once the Eschenbräu is flowing, things can get expensive.
- If you’re still hungry, try their freshly baked cookie with ice cream.
Andy says: “Excellent service with attentive waiters who kept the beer flowing. The burger’s great, the fries are delicious and the atmosphere made the night into a party.”
Phil says: “Some may love the atmosphere and some may hate it. I love it. It feels like being in the NYC or CPH meatpacking districts but in Berlin. Great beer from Eschenbräu, juicy burgers, well-seasoned rosemary fries, great music. The slight sweetness of the brioche bun gives the whole burger the extra kick.”
Berlin Loves You Rating: 8.5/10
This review is part of our series on Berlin’s best burger joints. Read our opinion on what makes a good burger.
Brunnenstrasse 73 (Voltastrasse U-bahn)
0178 396 54 90