Schmidt Z&Ko also runs under the name Vinophil Genusswerkstatt (“Epicurian Workshop for Lovers of Fine Wine”) but that sounds a bit pretentious. But those who have had the chance to sit and eat in the light-filled, high-ceilinged shop with over 500 wines on the shelves will know what is meant. Epicurian pleasures come quite naturally here, and the owners settled for “workshop” because it is was so difficult to find a common denominator for the unique mix of wine shop, wine bar, lunch venue, culinary school and the occasional cooking duels that take place here.
This wondrous blend is the brainchild of two TV chefs, Ralf Zacherl and colleague Mario Kotaska, together with the long-established wine shop Schmidt, which has been teaching Berliners to love German wine since 1964.
Many of today´s top winegrowers came of age here. However you will not find them on a wine list because the restaurant does not have one. The wine rack serves as a list and is impressive not only for its range of products but also for its selection of older vintages. Choose your wine here and for ten euros extra have it opened at your table – and enjoy, for example, a Spätburgunder from the Ahr with a beautifully tender dish of ox cheeks.
Interview: Ralf Zacherl – award-winning kitchen chef, TV chef and co-owner of Schmidt Z&Ko
Why is it no longer sufficient for a Berlin wine bar to only offer great wines? It seems that it also needs to have great food?
Ralf Zacherl: To be honest, we started off by serving just a few wine tapas. But our guests pretty quickly said: We want proper food from you, whole dishes. They´re very happy now and that´s great. I assume Berliners are just very spoiled …….
Does such a concept not distract from the wine? Does the wine win or does it lose something?
Ralf Zacherl: That depends on what wine our guests have chosen. Naturally, our aim is to achieve a harmony. All of our staff are either qualified sommeliers or have been trained at the German Wine Institute. It can therefore hardly go wrong when we suggest something.
Wine shop and wine bar with ambitious food – and that´s not all. You also run cookery courses and TV cooking duels, sometimes even with winegrowers?
Ralf Zacherl: That´s a battle with a wink. My “partner in crime” Mario Kotaska and I sometimes compete against each other and even the winegrowers join in with the cooking. At the same time they present their wines, of course, and at the end the whole package counts, in other words, who had the best menu with wine pairing. We always involve the guests, whether in the cookery course or in the voting after the battle. Everyone can have a look into the kitchen – a lot is possible but there is no obligation.
Schmidt Z&KO. GmbH
Rheinstraße 45 – 46
Tel.: 030 - 2000 395 - 70
Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday:
Wine shop: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Lunch: noon - 3:00 pm
Restaurant / wine bar: from 6:00 pm