Photo by Tamsin Ross Van Lessen
The “Designer Heimat” trend is growing ever stronger on the Berlin food scene: slick interiors, rustic ‘German’ imagery evoking rural idylls (without a hint of tasteless nationalism) and, of course, ‘authentic’, high-priced food – usually harking from the mountainous southern end of the Bundesrepublik. Alpenstück Bäckerei is a little offshoot of the Alpenstück restaurant across the street: a busy, white-walled, piles-of-chopped-wood, €18.50-per-Schnitzel kind of place on the fringes of Mitte’s gallery district. It belongs to this genre, even though the prices are more modest than those of its older sibling… It’s only a bakery, after all.
A bakery should first and foremost be judged by its baked goods – and this Bäckerei is a real Fest for bread fans: the dense German loafs, baguettes, delicate Brötchen, shell-shaped sweet rolls (Mutschel, delicious with coffee) and cakes displayed in boutique fashion all look and taste great. The highlight here are the orgasm-inducing Laugenbrezln (€0.90; €1.40 with butter) – the best pretzel we’ve ever dug our teeth into. So it’s breakfast heaven here, unless you prefer a Bio egg or a bowl of Bircher muesli.
Lunch is a more wholesome affair. We tried two specials (each €6.90): the bread dumplings with mushroom-cream sauce and salad; and the lentils with homemade Spätzle (eggy German pasta served, in this case, without cheese, but you can order the Käse version as a main course) and salad. Neither plate was anything fancy, but they both utterly satisfied us with their rustic simplicity.
For dessert, we munched on (extra large!) pieces of Blechkuchen topped with pears. Absolutely delicious! So don’t let yourself be put off by the waft of gentrification that hits you like a sledgehammer when you enter the Bäckerei. The people eating there weren’t actually the new-Berliner Barbour-jacket-wearing types, just relatively normal-looking Mitte folks - and the food is light years away from what’s served at an average bakery.