Former wild child Diego Velazquez brings Japanese-inspired Peruvian fine dining to the quiet streets of Prenzlauer Berg. But the 27-year-old hasn’t lost his rebellious streak just yet — the delicate dishes are prepared while he listens to punk rock.
Tiles lead guests up from Kastanienallee into Peruvian restaurant Nauta. Even the steps are themed in an enchanting, yet subtle, mosaic of red, light blue, lime green, and grey. The colours wind throughout the restaurant in bands that evoke traditional textiles and function as room dividers. Nauta is both efficient and comfortable at the same time. The eye is drawn to the open kitchen, which is tiled in bright red. And whirling about it since 2018 is 27-year-old Diego Velazquez from Lima.
The award-winning chef prepares his recipes to the sound of punk rock. Perhaps that’s a remnant of his tumultuous youth; he even refers to himself as a former ‘enfant terrible.’ Diego Velazquez originally wanted to study film, but his mother forbade it. “The strict regimen of the kitchen taught me discipline,” he says.
Just a few years ago, the Peruvian native left the gourmet scene in Lima to come to Germany. His first port of call was Frankfurt am Main, where he helped establish La Cevi before moving to Berlin in 2018 on the recommendation of a friend and fellow gastronomer. Nauta was born. His signature dishes are sophisticated, unique and wild.
The shimmering mother-of-pearl plates host the most lively assortments of circles, smears, and colourful adornments. Velazquez’s compositions are a liberal interpretation of the popular Nouvelle and Nikkei culinary movements, inspired by Japanese immigrants to Peru. The delectable entrecôte, for example, is accompanied by a tiny, pine-green egg powdered with plankton.
Next to that roost two little balls of dough made from cassava, mango, and teriyaki sauce. The salmon sashimi is served in the form of a fabulously fresh ceviche, paired with a delicate yet potent sorbet made of purple corn. The fruity crème brûlée is accompanied by a tumble of Amazon fruits and sprinkled with fizzy Pop Rocks. Velazquez’s penchant for punk rock is everywhere.
All photos by Lena Ganssmann
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Kastanienallee 49, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
T (+49) 174 38 63 466