Nothing can beat a good croissant for breakfast – we like it dipped in dark coffee, French-style. But truth be told, it’s been almost impossible to get a good one in Berlin. They’re hardly ever made from scratch (“house baked” usually means fresh from the freezer). When they are, they never get the texture right: either too fluffy or too dense, too squishy or brittle, and invariably too greasy, tasting only of melted butter (if not oil!).
But on a random visit to finicky third-wave coffee purveyors The Barn on Schönhauser Allee, we found them: perfect plump crescents, with a crusty golden-brown shell and soft, springy layers that hold well together and don’t crumble to greasy dust at first bite. They’re not too sweet – slightly salty actually, allowing for ham or Bergkäse fillings, although we prefer them “natur”.
We tracked down their origin to Splendid Delikatessen, a sister catering company that serves fussy take-away lunch to the busy Mitte corporate set from its Gendarmenmarkt location. Unwilling to reveal too much, they acknowledged “first-rate ingredients, more time to rise and an egg coating”.
They also confessed “a little extra butter”. To bake a good croissant you need a lot of butter, but it shouldn’t overpower the taste of dough – and in Splendid’s, it doesn’t! The bad news? They’re not sold anywhere else (apparently they don’t believe in having their products in too many locations) so you’ll have to go to The Barn, provided you have neither pets nor babies, or order them from Splendid directly. Despite the exorbitant €2.50 price tag, they’re actually worth every penny. Proof that the price is no deterrent: trying to buy one of these babies after the cafe’s early lunch rush is a lost cause, so make sure to show up early.