Somms Billy Wagner, Johannes Schellhorn & Chef Micha Schäfer
Ding-dong. You ring the doorbell to enter the restaurant. Answering the door is Billy Wagner, German Sommelier of the Year, who has a shining reputation as one of the more outspoken hosts in Germany. By opening the door to Noblehart Shmutzig, it seems he opens the door to the heart of the entire city.
Indeed this Michelin® star restaurant is based in the heart and center of Berlin. Nobelhart Shmutzig was created by Billy Wagner himself. The restaurant is dedicated to responsible sourcing and farm-to- table cuisine. The wine and spirits embrace the experience full heartedly and you feel immediately immersed in a warm and vibrant kitchen encounter.
The high energy here is unapologetic. It is what it is. The entire experience is as vibrant as the city around it, and you either get it or you don’t. There is no middle ground. Naturally, you fit right in.
The restaurant features an impressive counter that wraps around a spacious open kitchen. In the center you find 7 to 8 different chefs and food platers preparing dishes in a perfectly choreographed chaos. The whole service team operates out of this open kitchen space, which results in a unique dining experience where every guest is fully submerged into service. It certainly draws your eye. Another remarkable feature of the venue is the acoustics. The custom-made ceilings and floor absorb much of the noise from the kitchen and create a very pleasant vibe alongside the excellent music choices.
The restaurant works like a perfectly tuned Beemer, seamless teamwork in the middle of fireworks. Pan flashes and clashing glasses and dancing dishes envelop those sitting around the show. All served with silverware made of metal from leftover Soviet wares.
And the vinyl spins calmly on.
Every one of these crisp tunes is chosen form from Billy’s own vinyl collection. This cements the laid back vibe in place, and leaves you looking for another drink to ease into.
Delivering, heart & soul
Noblehart Shmutzig delivers its guests the real flavor and soul of Germany by selecting exclusively regional products. They support producers in Berlin and its environs and seek to rekindle an all- encompassing love for the region’s native bounty in the kitchen.
Billy earned his wings in the Berlin culinary scene as the sommelier of Weinbar Rutz, a Berlin restaurant institution with a Michelin star. In his years at Weinbar Rutz, he built up a solid reputation and fan base. When he eventually started planning his own gastronomic empire, Billy quickly found the right partners to join him on this journey.
Among these partners was the young chef Micha Schäfer, a culinary talent who learned his trade at Villa Merton in Frankfurt. Micha had developed a strong affection for the modern, Nordic cuisine practiced at restaurants like Noma and Fäviken, where the ingredients used in the cooking process are locally sourced from the nearby region.
Chef Micha Schäfer follows a brutally local approach to sourcing produce. There are no compromises here. There is no a la carte menu to pick at will; only one menu which consists of 10 courses. All the produce is sourced locally, and by that I really mean every. single. ingredient.
To illustrate what this really means, there is no lemon for acidity and no pepper for seasoning. There is also no chocolate for desserts or olive oil for cooking. All of these things are banned in his kitchen. In a world that relies on flavors like these to please the palate, he favors a refreshing Northern European style of cooking.
Managing their 700+ wine list is Johannes Schellhorn from Austria. He ran M 32 in Salzburg Austria. Throughout the whole meal hosts Billy and Johannes will be by your side. He suggests drinks in a very relaxed manner, suggesting a lot of unconventional drink pairings that you might not expect. How about a Lambrusco to kick the night off, a Heidenpeters beer to go with the onion dish, and a pear cidre to go with dessert?
Johannes often scouts winemakers in the Weinviertel just outside Vienna. This is good, but has one big catch. The quantities are usually small, and scarcely on offer – the wines are there and then they’re gone
There are also no prices to be found when it comes to beverages, which for sure will raise eyebrows among the non-splurging guests, as you’re expected to surrender completely to the sommelier. Prices for beverage pairings might be a solution, but it is easy to understand the level of flexibility Johannes wants to keep by refraining from pricing. It keeps people tasting with their palate, not their wallet.
He is not about the exercise of blind tasting just for the show of it. He is not about upsetting a guest with a classic palate with a sherry and steak tasting. He is not interested in upselling until a guest’s credit card screams. He is not about confusing and mystifying guests with weird stuff! You just feel his love for the game.
Johannes works in concert with Billy and brings new ideas to the table based on their collective years of experience. There is no ego involved, as they are all working toward the same goal of giving every guest the best experience possible. They maintain a classic framework of a wine program while allowing for any number of options from outside of that structure. Spirits, beer, sake, and non-alcoholic selections are all fair game, because…why not?!
The palate is a wonderful and curious thing to please. Certain flavors will calm the storm in the mind and settle choppy seas, while others can set the comfortable world on fire and beg you to dance the tango in the street. And why not play with them all? The team at Nobelhart Schmutzig invites you to do just that by diving into every sip, sound, bite, and sight they have to offer. And who can resist? Another glass, please, and keep the tunes coming!