Sauvage. Photo by Astrid Warberg
A typical Sunday fare of processed ham, sliced supermarket cheese and a boiled egg can’t lure the late-rising Berlin bird. These places cater to the Young Urban Kreative International, from trend-dieters to gourmet bohemians.
Happy as a caveman
It’s not just a matter of diet. Of course, Sauvage in Neukölln is the place to go if your body cannot tolerate the staples of our brave modern world (gluten and lactose primarily). A grain-free, sugar-free, all organic diet can’t hurt (it helped owner Boris come to terms with years of asthma and poor health). But frankly Sauvage’s Sunday brunch is better than healthy: it’s delicious.
Take the Hunter and Gatherer Plate (€13.50): the wild leaves and flowers (handpicked in Dahlem) are beautifully dressed with fresh citrus and olive oil. The homemade grass-fed beef sausages taste as ‘wild’ as boar (perfect with the sour pickled apples). The dairy-free cheese made out of fermented almonds is something of a revelation. The egg is organic, of course, as is the bacon. Even the chocolate-cherry muffin (included in the price as well as tea or coffee) is miraculously tasty (Gula Java coconut blossom sugar and Erdmandel or ‘chufa sedge’ convincingly stand in for the sugar and flour).
Of course the grain/ flour-free ‘bread’ (a concoction of veggie seeds and eggs, oven-dried for five hours) has only its name in common with our western breakfast staple, but who cares? Tasty it is, with or without the excellent ginger marmalade.
Don’t shy away from the paleo pancakes: served with bacon, a fresh dark berry sauce and succulent roasted pears and peaches – awesome! Latte addicts, have no fear: they do serve your milky caffeine fix; the lactose-shy have a choice of almond or cocoa milk (or tea!). In summer, sit outside their cosy cave, on the shady side of this fashionably shabby Neukölln side street. FP
Sauvage, Pflügerstr. 25, Neukölln, U-Bhf Schönleinstr., Tel 030 5316 7547, Sunday brunch from 11:00
Housed in Wedding’s Kugelbahn bar (complete with basement bowling alley), this extension of Kreuzkölln’s California Breakfast Slam keeps up the high, south-of-the border-tinged standards and shabby chic, turn-of-the-century vintage hipsterism of its forbear. The menu is short but direct: ace huevos rancheros (€7.90) with crispy tortillas, small but fluffy pancakes with real, accurately prepared, honest-to-god bacon (€5.90), as rare a sighting in Berlin as a hipster in Wedding, which is why turnout has been so slow that they’ve cut the weekend service in half to Sunday only. Drink some breakfast Bloody Marys (€6) and help ‘em out! DS
Chicago Breakfast Slam, Kugelbahn, Grüntaler Str. 51, Wedding, S-Bhf Bornholmer Str., Tel 0163 1738 763, Sunday 10-16
It’s far from cheap eats, but once in a while it might be worth splashing out on the bounteous spread of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean treats at the Kosher Classroom. The Sunday crowd is a mix of well-heeled Jewish mothers and their impeccably behaved small children, groups of curious Americans and the odd 20-something plus parent.
The prompt service breaks the Berlin mould, but the food is the highlight: the pumpkin soup is the right balance of light and creamy, so as not to fill you up for the range of salads (marinated aubergine, fragrant “Israeli salad” with mint and lemon), seasonal warm dishes (we enjoyed a veal ragout with asparagus, zander fillet casserole, pasta and Moroccan ‘cigars’, i.e. warm pastry tubes filled with vegetables) and desserts. Not to mention the kosher bubbly and the best hummus in town.
The brunch may be expensive (€39.50 per head!) but the food is difficult to fault and also healthy enough to not leave you bloated and in need of a two-hour nap. Take heed, though: the “all inclusive coffee and tea” policy does not stretch to cappuccinos, so be prepared to cough up another €4.35 per cup if you want your milk (only soya) frothed! JS
The Kosher Classroom, Auguststr. 11-13, Mitte, S-Bhf Oranienburger Str., Sunday brunch 11-15
In the newest urban frontier of Wedding, a cupcake shop isn’t just a cupcake shop: it’s a sugary, buttercream-topped signpost of gentrification. But for the moment, American-owned, all-organic TassenKuchen continues to draw a mixed neighbourhood crowd. On Saturdays and Sundays, too-cool-for-Neukölln transplants join middle-aged Turkish men and young German families at the minimalist Bio haven’s unlimited pancake brunch.
While most Pfannkuchen to be found in Germany take the form of thin crêpes or tumescent, jam-filled Berliners, owner Paul Meskunas makes the real American deal: moist and fluffy 10cm discs, served with seasonal fruit and a dainty saucer of maple syrup.
€8 buys you all the flapjacks you can eat, though that price tag’s slightly misleading: only your first plate comes with toppings. Subsequent short stacks arrive naked unless you’re willing to pay up for additional fruit (60 cents) or syrup (€1.20). Those with small appetites are better off ordering a plate of four for €5. Supplement your sweet, starchy repast with a cup of fair-trade coffee (€1.70) and some savoury bacon or sausage.
Or even better: go all-out and order one of Meskunas’ signature “TassenKuchen” (€2-2.20) for dessert. New cupcake flavours include rhubarb and something called “inside-out Twinkie”. RG
TassenKuchen, Malplaquetstr. 33, Wedding, U-Bhf Neuener Platz, Tel 030 2432 7966, Sat-Sun brunch from 10:00
Ditching eggs, butter and guilt, Ohlàlà’s Saturday vegan brunch resurrects French pastry classics like croissants, spongy crêpes, moist pain perdu (French toast) and savoury mini-quiches, in addition to salads and mains like Gallic stews, for Friedrichshain’s sweet-toothed Francophiles. All-you-can-eat buffet for €9.90. RB
Ohlàlà, Mainzer Str. 18, Friedrichshain, U-Bhf Samariterstr., Tel 030 3116 3972, Tue-Sun 12-19, Sat brunch: sittings at 11:30, 13:00 and 14:30