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Hudson’s: The baker’s café

What started as a 24-hour underground bakery in the Kreuzberg home of two London natives, became a full-fledged cafe with soups, brownies, cakes and 'English' sandwiches.

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Photo by Sigrid Malmgren

Speaking of gentrification (everyone is these days), it’s not always a bad thing. Hudson’s is exactly the kind of cake shop anyone would love to see opening next door: delicious ‘English’ sandwiches, nice soups and, of course, the cakes, which enterprising London dropouts Katie and Jim Hudson have long been known for among an ever-growing circle of Berliners.

It all began as a hobby in their Kreuzberg flat, but the baking duo’s treats were so loved, by friends first then by people next door and cafés, that their home soon turned into a 24-hour underground bakery.

They looked for a place to expand, and found a nice corner shop across from a huge playground with enough space to throw a few tables and chairs. The result shows some architecture and design know-how (Jim is a building engineer): simple, modern, airy – and the retro lemonade bottles filled with free tap water on each table are a welcome sight.

Ever since the café opened on February 17, the sprightly duo in white bakers’ kit has been churning out some 20 cakes a day – many of which are delivered to other cafés across Kreuzberg.

The cakes are wonderful and refreshingly low on sugar compared to their German counterparts. You wouldn’t call them diet-friendly though – cocoa-rich brownies (€1.80), luxuriant shortbread (€1) – here ‘buttery’ doesn’t mean ‘sickening’, and a daily selection of mouth-watering cake loaves such as that delicious lime-mango cake: perfectly moist, thanks to the yogurt (€2.20 a slice).

Their bestseller is their ‘chocolate cake with Lausitzer Porter’ – instead of Guinness – and as gimmicky as it might sound, it is just a damn good Schoko-cake with a wonderful, compact texture – think less buttery and sweet than usual – that is perfectly complemented by the velvety cream-cheese covering (€2.80).

The sandwiches are the kind you rarely find in Berlin: made fresh to order with a choice of great breads (from nearby natural bakery Die Backstube) and served with crisps (from €2.90). ‘The Ploughman’s’ holds cheddar and comes with a delicious homemade chutney (€3.20). There’s also a great chicken salad, infused with lemon and tarragon (€3.50) and a damn good ham that comes from Berlin’s ‘Salami Mann’ – not the processed wet slices of plastic pig you usually find in your Brötchen. Soups are served Irish-style with soda bread (€3.50) – both homemade. On weekdays you can get a soup/sandwich combo for €5, but come early as they sell out like hotcakes.

And of course: the scones! Yes, they’re absolutely exciting (if you can get orgasmic at the sight, smell and texture of such adorable baked treats, that is). At €2.20 for a portion of two (served with butter, whipped cream and two jams), there is really no excuse not to get hooked. Our sole complaint: the raisin version contains cinnamon – an unnecessary, rather distracting additive. (In our humble but expert opinion, cinnamon shouldn’t venture further than apple pie!)

Tea is adequately served with cold milk; coffee originates from local indie-foodie roaster Mykona; the honey is compliments of Berlin’s industrious bees. Fairly priced, memorably tasty, thoroughly friendly: Hudson’s is the latest great expat venture to launch. We wish the wonderful little-café-with-the-bowler-hat smooth sailing in the troubled and exciting waters of inexorably self-gentrifying Kreuzberg