Welcome to Soup Season! Style in Berlin
Some of you might be wondering, does she even still eat out? Is this a travel in Brandenburg blog now? Will we ever receive new tips for brunch? And the answer to all of these is: Jein. The great German portmanteau meaning Yes and No at the same time and generally referring to: I don’t know! I’m working on a new project right now which is eating up my time (and resources), but I am still heavily invested in the many developments of the local food scene. Especially since the season of comfort food is coming up with loads of opportunities to eat our feelings, literally. So here’re some places to do that well, from cake to breakfast to more dessert, and the lovely soup in the top image. Enjoy!
First of all, there’s just one “real” Hako ramen in town. Thanks to a legal kerfuffle, an ex-partner of the Boxhagener Straße Ramen-ya has started two more places under the same name, but not using the same recipes. So I can really only speak to the Friedrichshain location, and that one’s delicious. Some people who’ve been reading this blog for a while must know how I feel about Friedrichshain and thus know I don’t take recommending to cross the bridge lightly. However, Hako is a prime spot to cure autumnal melancholia (and winter madness) with its noodles in broth delights.
Home: Coffee & Food
The initial idea was to visit one of these new hip brunch places where everything is served on aluminum trays (why even is that a trend, I hate eating from metal), but there was a long line and no host (why is that still not a thing in Berlin!?), which meant even if you had a table, you had to order and eat with impatient queuers staring down your food because everyone was waiting every where (and then the panic of loosing your spot in the queue… who wants that on a weekend?). So we skipped it and went around the corner to home instead. A trusted neighbourhood café with excellent coffee and a small and interesting breakfast menu that changes with the seasons. It’s one of the spots that never made it on to the radar of the brunch-craze and thus has managed to build a trusted following in the Kiez, far from plates designed to get on the ‘gram only. I enjoy the food here every time, not only because it’s grilled cheese with poached eggs and kimchi and I seriously adore a kimchi-cheese-kombo, but because it’s so down-to-earth in its trendiness. It’s just really good food and generously sized portions, friendly staff and good coffee. Which is everything I want on a weekend.
Not many Berlin spots want to be inventive, most just try to find something that works with the masses and convince themselves that building a business on salad really is a novelty. Which is a business savvy strategy, Germany is known for being averse to trends, and while everyone else is already on to insect blended adaptogenesis (or something), we’re still riding over here the poke bowl wave. That’s what I like about Annelies, they’re willing to try things (but no adaptogens!): this is shaved egg yolk on scrambled eggs with pickled fennel on a slice of bread and it’s a welcome relief in a sea of poached eggs (in a city that literally had no eggs benedict on its menues five years ago). Here’s my only issue: I still haven’t tried their pancakes. I’ve never been in the mood, when I came here! And you don’t wanna eat pancakes if you’re not in the mood, it’s something you want to savour and enjoy 100%. Which means I have to come back.
Oh, it’s a really lovely interior where you want to donate a lot of time in and the service staff is exceptionally nice.
Arket has done a really good job with their café concept. Not only do they have great visuals to promote it, the dishes really fulfil the promise the images give you. Their bowls are fresh and flavorful, simple and satisfying, while seasonal and modern. Based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto, head chef Martin Berg has developed a menu that results in full tables any time I went there. It’s a super good and super quick lunch in an area that often lacks that option. And the vegan cinnamon buns! I heard they don’t have them all the time, which is a shame, but if they do, make sure you stack up!
Oh this künefe! It really is one of the best I ever had (always ready for new tips), the dollop of kaymak cream, the crispy crust, the soft buttery inside. I had this one after an event around 10pm at night and it was the best decision, but I generally copeokay with a sugar rush (just a matter of training), and I can very much recommend this as dinner. Maybe with a cold starter, like their filled artichokes, before? Then you will have had a savoury first course and this künefe is basically your huge dessert. Order a tea with it, for sure!
I posted this one on Instagram the other day saying that while I loved this classic serving size of what is the best cheesecake in this city, I did not like the updated, rather bougie version they serve in Five Elephant’s newer, prettier coffee shop in Mitte and people were ready to agree. Many had tried the much praised cake in the middle after reading about it online somewhere and were heavily disappointed by the disproportionate ratio of crust and cream. The small tartlet shape in Mitte does look fancier, but it does not fulfil all my hopes and dreams like this slice of heaven in Kreuzberg. It might seem a little bit weird I get so riled up about cheesecake but you will understand once you tried it.