A hungry expat’s favourite pit-stops for English food in Berlin.
Whether a long-time resident or a newbie waging their own strategic leave campaign, if you’re a Brit in Berlin, you’ve probably already woken up with a stinking hangover and pined for a full English breakfast dripping in grease. Sure, moving here might have made you reflect on how weird eating beans on toast is, but homesickness often strikes as hunger pains: fish and chips doused in vinegar, a homely Sunday roast, scones with clotted cream. We’ve sniffed out the best spots in Berlin where you can buy a slice of home.
Breakfast means breakfast
It might not be the most Insta-worthy meal, but the full English fry-up is the hearty hangover-curing king of breakfasts. They can be a little hard to locate in Berlin, as many so-called “London breakfasts” are an odd mix of fruit, sage-green or Kerrygold-orange cheeses and/or sausages, but quirky Wedding restaurant SCHRADERS (Malplaquetstr. 16B) is one exception. Their “good old English breakfast”, (€8.40) served weekdays between 9:30am and 3pm, features all the elements you’d expect from a full English, with a pair of fried eggs, crispy bacon and tomato, baked beans from the Heinz tin and “English-style” pork sausages from the Metzgerei with brown or white toast, orange marmalade and small white bread rolls, all locally sourced and served on a rather trendy black slate. The presentation is unusual, with the sausages chopped and impaled on a cocktail stick, but this breakfast is flavourful and filling without being overly greasy, and the eclectic, shabby-chic decor makes for a friendly atmosphere. If only a weekend brunch will do, you can’t go far wrong at DAS GIFT (Donaustr. 119, Neukölln) for a Scottish fry-up on Sundays between 12pm and 5pm. There’s enough on this plate to induce a blissful food coma; order “the works” (€10.95) and you’ll get a plate piled high with the usual suspects plus some Scottish additions: British smoked bacon, a fried bio egg and tomato, juicy fried chestnut mushrooms and homemade baked beans are accompanied by Macsween’s haggis, a traditional square Scottish beef sausage and a fluffy homemade potato scone (or “tattie” – if you want to sound like a native). “British bacon” isn’t an empty promise here: Das Gift import thick-cut back bacon from a British supplier and their haggis from Macsween’s in Edinburgh, while the rest of your plate is sourced locally and prepared fresh in-house. Options can be switched in and out, with additions costing between €0.75 (tomato) and €2.75 (haggis/veggie haggis). Vegetarians and vegans can get a “works” option of their own, (€8.95 for veggie, €7.95 for vegan) with eggs and meat taken off the plate as appropriate, and vegan haggis also straight from Macsween’s. HP brown sauce and Heinz tomato ketchup are in plentiful supply, and this cosy bar stays warm and dark throughout the day, so no need to worry about aggravating that sore head.
Proper pints and pub grub
While not much can be relied on in Britain (the weather, trains, politicians), you’re never hard pressed to find a good pub for pints and a hearty Sunday roast. Luckily for us, Scottish couple Emma Dutton and Fraser McCabe have imported the tradition to Berlin at their cosy gastropub HIRSCH UND HASE, (Brunnenstr. 73, Wedding) where full Sunday roasts are on offer between 1pm and 9pm every week, for a reasonable €16 a head. Both the warm atmosphere and familiar food are authentic enough to transport you home, with the set-plate Sunday Roast sticking firmly to traditional favourites: cuts of juicy Brandenburg beef and crispy-skinned roast potatoes paired with roasted carrots, parsnips, celeriac, Savoy cabbage and fluffy Yorkshire puddings. Veggies won’t be disappointed either, with an option to switch out the beef for a flavourful roast of lentils, beans and oats wrapped in puff pastry at the same cost. Gravy (meatbased or onion) comes in a small jug for you to pour as you please. Everything is prepared fresh and in-house at Hirsch und Hase, including the €3 British-style bar snacks – crispy pig’s ears and skin or vegetable crisps with fennel and coriander salt – best washed down with a pint of cheap “crap bier” (Hausmarke Pils, €2.90). While Kreuzberg’s ST. BART (Graefestr. 71) no longer does an official “Sunday Roast”, this cosy gastropub – staffed mostly by Australians – still serves whole roasted meats as a special every Sunday for everyone to dig in and share until supply runs out. Order smaller plates like veg on the side and voilà – your own DIY roast dinner. The meats and small plates at St Bart’s (small plates usually cost under €10) rotate frequently, with lamb shanks, joints of beef and whole chickens having featured in the past. Their buttermilk-marinated chicken is the most frequent guest, however, and serves around four people for €30 – meaning meat, a few small plates and a couple of drinks won’t set you back more than €30 a head.
If you’re not too full of roast beef and potatoes to keep drinking, LOCH NESS PUB (Roonstr. 31A) takes their dedication to a British pub atmosphere to the next level, with a shipment of UK beers, whiskies, crisps, tea bags and chocolate arriving every six weeks, and even a “last orders” 30 minutes before close. Though a little out of the way in Steglitz, the pub’s dark corners and distinctly local feel fit right into this quiet corner of town, and it is the perfect place to settle in for an end-of-weekend pint (ranging from €4.80 – €5.20). Loch Ness’ core beers – stout, ruby ale, lager – come directly from Cairngorm Brewery in Scotland, with occasional guest ales at the taps from smaller players like the London Brewery. Loch Ness’ real speciality, however, is the 807 whiskeys currently lining the shelves behind the bar, with a 2cl dram ranging from €3 to up to €40, and tastings on offer once a month for between €35 and €45 per person.
Fish and Chips by the (Spree) side
Berlin may be some way from the coast, but that’s no reason to forego fish and chips, a dish which has been battered and fried to perfection at homely Prenzlauer Berg gastropub SALT N BONE (Schliemannstr. 31). Here, generously-sized cod loins are coated in a golden pale ale batter and served with chips on the right side of crispy, minted pea purée, tartar sauce, a grilled lemon, rocket and Aspall Malt vinegar imported from the UK. For vegetarians, thickly-sliced battered halloumi is switched in for fish and is a little cheaper, at €10.50, than the fish-based version, costing €12.50. This lively pub is often busy with a good mix of expats and Germans alike, so it’s recommended you book a table to avoid disappointment. If you do have to wait at the bar, however, English style beers, pale ales, IPAs and porters (€4.50-7) as well as Aspall (€5.50) and Magners cider (€6.50) are all on offer.
If you fancy something a little less pub and a little more seaside, FISCHLADEN (Schönhauser Allee 128, Prenzlauer Berg and Arminius Markthalle, Arminiusstraße 2-4, Moabit, from Monday to Saturday) makes fresh-to-order fish (cod) and thick-cut chips with lemon that come out hot, crispy, and wrapped in an ultra-traditional sheet of “newspaper” (non-toxic paper), starting at €5.90 for the smallest portion. Their fish is locally sourced, but the batter mix comes directly from the UK and imported Sarsons malt vinegar is on offer alongside homemade creamy remoulade, spicy tomato sauce or a sweet chili dip. The dining atmosphere at both branches is easy-going and casual, with patrons eating and chatting on (not-socosy) high stools.
Tea fit for the queen
Continental Europeans might turn their noses up at Britain’s penchant for greasy fried foods, but it’s difficult to sneer at the elegance of an afternoon tea. At the ADLON HOTEL KEMPINSKI bar and lounge, (Unter den Linden 77, Mitte) once frequented by Queen Liz II herself, guests can expect the full royal treatment (2pm-6pm, €48 per head) served in a grand lobby decked out in soft gold tones and white tablecloths against a backdrop of gentle piano music. The affair is split into three courses, starting with sandwiches – such as egg salad, cheddar and pickle, chicken breast and horseradish – on a traditional tiered tray. Next comes baba au rhum, a small cake soaked in Cointreau and flambéed at the table. It all concludes with pastries and sweets – including lemon tarts, passion fruit cake, rich edible pebbles made of chocolate mousse, and of course the all essential English scones with imported strawberry jam and thick clotted cream. The tea selection is wide-ranging – from “Darjeeling Spring Time” to “Splendid Earl Grey” – and a glass of different Moëts can be added for an extra €12-16, if you’re feeling really fancy.
If you’re serious about the “tea” element of your afternoon tea, TEE TEA THÉ (Goltzstr. 2) in Schöneberg is a safe bet for decent, if less traditional, fare in an elegant but lively atmosphere. A “small” high tea (€7.90) consists of a home-made English scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream alongside cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches. A “big” high tea (€12.90) comes with an additional cheese sandwich, a small vegetarian pie made in-house, shortbread and fluffy tea cakes. Rather unconventionally, you order your tea separately here (€3.90 – €5.20 a pot), on top of your “high tea”. But there is a somewhat mind-blowing range to choose from, and the staff will gladly help you decide.
For a slice of the countryside with your tea and scones, CAFÉ MINT (Blankenfelder Chaussee 5) in the Blankenfelde-Pankow botanical garden is a quaint self-service café where you can indulge in homemade scones served with imported Coombe Castle clotted cream and strawberry jam (€2.80), a variety of teas (including Twinings English Lady Grey) starting from €3.10 per pot, and a wide selection of handmade cakes with vegan and gluten free options, priced between €3 and €4 a slice. Located inside a greenhouse, the café is pleasantly light and airy, and on sunny days can get extremely busy, so expect to wait if it’s warm.
Bringing home the bacon
When only home cooking will do, THE SAUSAGE MAN NEVER SLEEPS (on Saturdays at Markt-halle IX, Eisenbahnstr. 42/43, or online) is your best spot for picking up meat prepared British-style. The meat is sourced locally here, but the back bacon (€6 a pack) is thickly sliced rather than thin and streaky, and the Stornaway-style black pudding (€4.50) is bound together using oats. They also sell British-style sausages (€9 for a six-pack) for your standard bangers-and-mash fare.
As they say, when one door closes, another one opens – so while Berlin’s favourite British grocery supplier BROKEN ENGLISH is closing down next month, hot-sauce manufacturer, shop and occasional restaurant CRAZY BASTARD SAUCE (Weserstr. 168, Neukölln) is stepping up to the plate with a wide selection of imported snacks, drinks and biscuits from the UK. Here you’ll find tonnes of British treats, from Cadbury’s creme eggs (€1.50) for Easter to Hobnobs (€3), Ribena (€2.50) and Monster Munch crisps (€2). For those all-important British teabags, more and more supermarket branches like GALERIA KAUFHOF (Alexanderplatz 9, Mitte) stock several varieties, including Yorkshire tea, ranging from €3 to €8.99 for a box and real, imported clotted cream. You can also find big bars of Cadbury’s chocolate here for €3.49 and a full range of British cereals (Weetabix, €4.49, Crunchy Nut, €3.99), the former having slowly reached shelves of most supermarkets in town, from Rewe to Edeka. Asian supermarkets across the city also often stock British tea bags, including ASIA MARKT (Dircksenstr. 101-103) at Mitte’s Alexa, which sells PG Tips ranging from €2.60 for a box of 40 to €12 for a large bag of 300. And if you can’t find anything on the shelves, try online shops GREAT BRITISHFOOD.DE and BRITISHCORNER SHOP.CO.UK, both of which stock a huge range of British tinned goods, general groceries, snacks, drinks and biscuits. At greatbritishfood.de, you can also stock up on Cadbury or Thorntons Easter eggs, with prices starting from €2.19, while britishcornershop.co.uk can send you products from Waitrose as well as beauty supplies, books and supplements. Delivery costs can be a little pricey unless you do a large order, costing between €2.95-4.95 at the former (free delivery on spends over €70) and £3.99-11.99 at the latter (free delivery on spends over £100). But it’ll all be worth it when you’re dunking your fifth chocolate digestive into that mug of proper Yorkshire tea. –SW
BRITISH BERLIN POPS UP
He may be Irish, but Jonathan “CRAZY BASTARD” O’Reilly regularly lures scores of Brits to his Weserstraße hot sauce shop with his weekend food specials. Depending on the week, you might find fish ‘n’ chips, bangers ‘n’ mash, or Manchester-style vindaloo, all begging to be splashed with our favourite local condiment.
Weserstr. 168, Neukölln, details at www.crazybsauce.com
As if slinging his namesake Wurst at Markthalle IX and supplying every expat-run restaurant in town with bespoke meats weren’t enough, THE SAUSAGE MAN NEVER SLEEPS (birth name: Simon Ellery) spent “Fry January” conjuring up artery-choking Full Englishes everywhere from Geist im Glas to St. Bart (see above). The fry-ups were so booked-out they’re bound to be repeated; check Ellery’s Facebook page for updates.
Wrap your mind around this: Berliner Noemi Dulischewski moves to London and launches BRÜNCH, a “proper Berlin brunch experience” that gets so wildly popular she decides to bring it back to her hometown. If you’re on board with this brunchception, check her website for your next chance to breakfast on buckwheat waffles, smoked mackerel pate, sourdough Stullen and more, all for the very London price of €30 a head (not including cocktails). –JS