Founded by a famed American expat who has since become a German Baking Guru. And the pastry counter is impressive, with its giant muffins and cross-hatched pies offered at weirdly reasonable prices. Considering Barcomi’s reputation, it’s strange that the pastries are close to inedible in the parody of the German manner, with bountiful appearance and meager reward. A pumpkin tart (€3.30) was a basket of dough centered with a relative dollop of filling.
Nevertheless, the place is a brunch magnet for the sort of Berlin professionals who wear cashmere sweaters and Fred Perry shirts (and have many, many children), so the line at the counter can be daunting, and same goes for the salad counter, which also offers sliced pastrami (100g, €3.30). Barcomi’s booths and checkered tablecloths attempt to ape deli-style but appear more modern LA.
There are some unsettling touches: what is granola (€4.20) doing at a deli? Shouldn’t it be replaced by matzo brei and egg creams? One can dream. One can, of course, understand the touches of gentrification, but why is the Weißbier (€3.60) served in a mug? Okay, there’s no matzo ball soup, but an acceptable cauliflower (€4.30) was served with my bagel, lox and cream cheese (€6.40), which sported a couple of sprouts but no onion (which can be purchased for 50 cents extra).
The bagel is small, and you have to put it together yourself, but it is flavorful, if a bit like Lender’s in consistency, while the lox, while certainly a grand step up from Lidl (you can taste it past the salt), is not top quality. And why have a bagel chip sticking out of cheese served with a bagel? The manners of this country still mystify me.