On Sunday morning at Silo Coffee, there’s a natural buzz in the dining area. Tables of friends are chinwagging, easily switching between languages above the sounds of a steam wand hissing and brunch plates clinking.
The flat white is hot, smells like roasted almonds and looks slurpably smooth. A highly-caffeinated Australian barista reads the menu: avo on toast, eggs Benedict, a full English breakfast and bloody marys for day drinking. The laid-back atmosphere makes for the ideal setting for a first date or group gossip session, assisted by a welcoming and almost overly-friendly waiter. The picture’s complete; nothing is missing. Welcome to Berlin’s Australian Brunch.
Since 2013, when Silo Coffee first opened, a new breakfast genre has emerged across town: an Instagrammable, upscale and rather sophisticated alternative to the nondescript plates of sliced hams, spreads and cheeses traditionally served as Frühstück in Berlin. At first, the Australian Brunch was met with outrage by the local media (“The staff doesn’t speak German!”) and ridicule about its cartoonish hipsterdom.
But now, a decade later, it’s clear that the trend is here to stay. Avocado toast is a staple on weekend mornings, while specialty coffee is everywhere – see Bonanza, The Barn and Five Elephants. As with all trends, however, blowing up comes with the risk of selling out.
Australian Brunch might now be everywhere – but is it still authentically Aussie, or has it evolved into something else? The answer depends on which café you go to, as Exberliner’s multi-stop taste test reveals.
Berlin’s Australian Brunch pioneer, Silo Coffee, is still thriving near Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain. Silo was founded in 2013 by Melbourne-born Wahlberliner Morgan Love, who is also the man behind fellow Berlin establishments Fjord Coffee Roasters, Sorrel and Field Coffee. The café’s dim lighting combines minimalist design and wooden rustic to an extremely hip effect. Silo offers avo on toast with tahini, field salad and leek pesto (€12.50), but the signature (and rightly so) is poached eggs on sourdough – another Australian classic – served with truffled oyster mushrooms, herbs and pecorino cheese (€13.50).
Also on offer is ‘The Silo’, an unimaginative yet popular (and surprisingly un-greasy) take on the full English breakfast (€13.50). Under the welcoming eyes of the stylish, predominantly Anglophone waitstaff, fashion-forward locals and expats sip a smooth, fruity flat white – from Fjord Coffee Roasters – or a Bloody Mary, while leisurely people-watching. The generally cosy, coffee-focused environment makes Silo pass as a classic Melbourne brunch experience – right down to the Dr. Martens shoe prints on the floor and MacBooks open on every fourth table.
- Gabriel-Max-Str. 4, Mon-Fri 9-16, Sat-Sun 9:30- 17:30
Tucked away in an off-street, opposite the S-Bahn lines by Alexanderplatz, is 19grams. What began as Tres Cabezas in Friedrichshain – co-founded by German natives Sascha Spittel, Gerrit Peters and Aussies Marianne Ryan and Anthony Piper – has grown to encompass four cafés across town, with this Mitte location also being home to the 19grams roastery.
The space is large, brightly lit and as clean as a hospital; it is a perfect hiding spot for anyone overwhelmed by the crowds of shoppers am Alex. 19grams does not offer smashed avocado on toast, but it has a fancier cousin on the menu – charred heritage tomatoes, edamame puree, wild garlic aioli, pine and goat cheese crumble (€10).
Try their version of the classic Australian brunch dish eggs Benedict – potato pave (which takes 48 hours to make!), poached eggs, brown butter hollandaise and tomato jam (€13.5). This dish, ironically named ‘Bubble and Squeak’, is pure chow-down hedonism. Since the 19grams roastery is on-site, you can see and smell the coffee beans – sourced from boutique farms in Costa Rica, Rwanda and Bolivia – churning in industrial coffee grinders in the next room over.
With predominantly expat (often Australian) staff, who are more fluent in coffee lingo than in German, 19grams still counts as authentically Aussie. As their cafés multiply across Berlin, they are increasingly playing to their coffee-making and brand-expanding strengths.
- Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 13, daily 8-18
Tucker Brunch Bar
Next up is Tucker Brunch Bar in Friedrichshain. Tucker is owned by a couple – Simone Morley, born near Byron Bay in Australia, and Malaga native Rafa Laguna (ex-Primitiv Bar) – who are no strangers to a good brunch. With colourful interiors and hand-written chalkboard menus, Tucker’s personal touches make visitors feel comfortable – and so do their authentically Aussie sausage rolls (sausage meat wrapped in puff pastry that gets dipped in tomato sauce).
They offer a standard eggs Benedict (€12), but their avo toast exceeds expectations, with herbed feta cheese, avocado, chimichurri, dukkah, poached eggs and grilled shiitake mushrooms on top (€13). Simone admits that they are not “coffee snobs” – or even experts – but the flat white served here could equal that of any artisanal roaster. The crowds are mixed, but the waitstaff all have the laid-back Aussie attitude down pat. It is a fun affair when Sunday day drinking is welcomed with spicy ginger margaritas or an espresso martini.
Tucker Brunch Bar ticks all the boxes for an authentic Australian brunch experience, while giving a more down-to-earth vibe without the pretentiousness of a trendy café.
- Wühlischstr. 1, daily 10-17
In a quiet courtyard, surrounded by the high-street brands and fashion boutiques of Mitte, lies Father Carpenter. A place to read a Penguin Classic or handwrite a haiku while sipping a Fjord-roasted cappuccino, this café is clearly all about aesthetics – it has tall windows and ceilings, indoor plants, soft music playing and wooden just-about-everything.
Combined with rustic tile walls and sprawling Persian rugs, the effect is like walking into a better version of your own home. Father Carpenter’s menu lifts the Aussie Brunch classics to a new height. The mandatory avocado on toast is served with poached eggs, roasted cherry tomatoes and habanero pesto (€16). But don’t miss the showstopper: eggs Benedict with pulled pork, chipotle, poached eggs, hollandaise, apple and coriander (€16).
The owner, Melbourne-born Krésten Thøgersen, has brought with him the battle scars and lessons learnt from working at countless coffee roasteries back home before arriving in Berlin. The absence of cocktails makes Father Carpenter more reminiscent of a serious, upscale lunch joint than an Aussie brunch café. Still, the interior aesthetic would make any Melbourne café owner jealous. Australian Brunch done business class.
- Münzstr. 21, Mon-Fri 9-16, Sat 10-17, Sun 12-16
Allan’s Breakfast Club
If someone were to open a Great Gatsby-themed breakfast eatery in Berlin, it might look something like Allan’s Breakfast Club. This Prenzlauer Berg spot is owned by Allan Bourbon, a Frenchman who worked for many years in brunch spots across Sydney. The inside dining area packs a punch – it’s small but bustling, with beach memorabilia scattered around. This is balanced by the summer-inspired alfresco dining area, which has a more casual vibe.
And the menu? Think espresso martinis and bloody marys paired with ‘eggs Benny’ – fresh raw salmon and hollandaise inside a brioche bun (€12) – and, once enough time has flown by reminiscing about last night’s antics, you could wash it all down with champagne and rosé in the afternoon. A croque monsieur is also available for those feeling continental (€11). There’s something bougie about this café.
It could be the turquoise and wood interior combination, or fridges full of champagne on display or perhaps the long lines at the weekend. The swankier version of its more laid-back siblings, Allan’s Breakfast Club’s mixture of bar, café and bistro goes to show that there are many iterations of the much-loved Australian ritual. It’s no surprise, then, that the Aussie brunch has taken the Hauptstadt by storm.
- Rykestr. 13, Mon-Fri 9:30-15, Sat-Sun 9:30-18
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