Hirsch & Eber is a Prenzlauer Berg burger joint with a difference: it specialises in wild boar burgers and venison meat. In the taxi ride over to the restaurant, through Berlin’s snowy streets (thanks, HeyRide!), I was worried that Hirsch & Eber was going to be a little too hip – another of these “what concept doesn’t Berlin have yet? Let’s do it!”-type restaurant-by-numbers (you know who you are). I was genuinely surprised at what I found when I got there.
I’m a sucker for a good story and, in Berlin’s quest for authenticity, Hirsch & Eber has a pretty solid raison d’être. Owned and operated by four brothers, Hirsch & Eber was inspired by their father, a life-long huntsman. The Hirsch & Eber boys didn’t grow up seeing meats such as wild boar and venison as expensive and fancy alternatives to pork and beef, instead they were just normal food – in fact, cheaper and more convenient foods than their mass-farmed alternatives.
Whilst the boys didn’t continue their father’s tradition of hunting (to his consternation), they did continue their love of locally and sustainably sourced wild meat.
Hirsch & Eber offers a small but interesting burger menu which mixes traditional German flavours, American fast food and high-end ingredients (with an Italian twist). Take their truffle and Parmesan cheese pommes with basil mayo, for example. Whilst speaking to co-owner (and 100% great guy) Jasper about this choice of ingredients, he told me a story about how he’d first tried the flavour combination of fries, truffle and Parmesan cheese at a BBQ shack in South Carolina and decided to bring it back.
When I asked him how the rest of the menu was created, he told me it was through the constant competition between him and his brothers in the kitchen – that the menu is the result of months (if not years) of the brothers trying to out-do each other in terms of recipes and flavour combinations. This idea of four brothers trying to make an restaurant work together is something I really like about Hirsch & Eber.
Anyways, let’s talk about the burgers. We have to leave our golden rules behind for this review, as Hirsch & Eber sell wild boar burgers not beef ones but – for a burger to be a good burger – the same rules apply. Also, we had a vegetarian in-tow in the form of our other editor Allison, so we have a 3rd guest judge.
The meat is by far the star. On first bite, it’s rich and caramelised like any great beef burger should be, but then the wild boar flavour develops in your mouth. Everything down to the texture is simply more interesting than 90% of beef burgers – a fact which validates Hirsch & Eber’s concept, and the effort they go to to source such great wild meat.
The bread comes next. The egg-washed buns are deliciously soft and sweet, and feel great in your hands. The burger isn’t overloaded with toppings or overly large so you can eat it comfortably in your hands without it falling apart and getting burger grease on your PETA t-shirt.
These two things alone make the Hirsch & Eber burgers worth eating. I’d say that the other ingredients in the burger are largely unnecessary – I chose the BBQ burger and I have to admit that I couldn’t notice many of the ingredients and would have been equally satisfied with a much simpler burger. But then, this is like criticising a sports-car because you don’t like the hat the driver’s wearing.
One genuine criticism though would be the inclusion of too many wet ingredients inside the burger. For the BBQ burger, it was the coleslaw which made the bread quickly wet and unstable. For the vegetarian burger, it was the moisture within the portabello mushroom itself. A suggestion to the chef on the coleslaw front would be to mix the vegetables with the seasoned mayonnaise directly before adding it to the burger to keep the mayonnaise emulsified.
But still, with their meat, excellent and welcoming staff, and wide range of delicious and interesting homemade sauces, Hirsch & Eber is an excellent addition to the Berlin burger scene, and one that offers something completely different.
BLY’s top tips for eating at Hirsch & Eber
- Their Rolls-Royce pommes, the truffle and Parmesan ones, are expensive but really worth a try.
- Grevensteiner, a beer they serve on tap, is a new beer from Veltins which goes great with their burgers.
- It’s not a burger, but their perennial ‘Today’s Special’ is a posh steak and chips consisting of fresh roe deer steak in a rich and delicious (almost chocolaty) sauce. For venison of that quality, it’s also relatively cheap.
Andy says: “Hirsch & Eber looks chic but has a comfortable, country feel. The menu tries a bit too hard but the taste and quality of the meat more than makes up for it. You pay a little bit more, but wild boar is A LOT more expensive than beef. It’s an experience you need to try.”
Phil says: “Hirsch & Eber is the next episode of the burger trend, with a perfect concept that takes old German cooking and ingredients in another direction. The fries are awesome and the beer great, and unfortunately I think it’ll be hard to get a table in the future (luckily for them).”
Allison says: “The veggie burger has some pretty explosive flavours (in contrast to the many dead and lifeless veggie burgers out there). The emmental cheese pairs really well with the portobello, offering both a sweet and smoky flavour. Unfortunately, mine didn’t stay together well—but the cozy ambiance and the killer fries more than made up for it.”
Berlin Loves You Rating: 8/10
This review is part of our series on Berlin’s best burger joints. Read our opinion on what makes a good burger.
Hirsch & Eber
030 239 149 64,