Berlin is the creative capital of Germany, and twenty-and-thirty–somethings are flocking en masse to the city’s trendy brunch spots, Aussie-inspired coffee shops and Asian fusion restaurants. Every street in edgy Kreuzberg and smarter Mitte is brimming with foodie haunts, and I have 36 hours to pack in as many as possible.
We hop down Friedelstraße, starting at wholesome English-American café Katie’s Blue Cat. Though there’s no sign of Katie, nor her blue cat, there is great coffee, jars of homemade cookies and shortbread, and some intriguing rolled up fruit paste that melts on the tongue (anyone remember fruit winders?). If it’s not too chilly, have a seat outside on the wooden benches and the upturned crate table will remind you what city you’re in.
This street really is a join-the-dots of freshly baked snacks – we stop off at The Bretzel Company and pick one of the giant, chewy ‘bretzels’ that are hung up on the wall behind the counter to pick at as we continue our quest. On entering Bully’s Bakery at the end of the street, we are almost knocked over by a blissful wall of cinnamon aroma. Marching up to the counter, we politely request to order whatever is responsible for this heavenly scent and we are given a cinnamon croissant – flaky, sweet, and a tad Christmassy. I also have it on great authority that the carrot cake at Bully’s is top notch (thanks Anna).
We roam further to trendy brunch spot Roamers (oh, yes I did!) – the foliage that adorns the restaurant indoors and out also creeps into the food and drink, and jars of Bloody Mary being carried past wouldn’t look out of place on an old lady’s balcony. Apparently the waiters were too busy to make us a Bloody Mary on our visit (charming), but I’ve heard they taste pretty great, too. We have a beetroot-themed breakfast with beetroot lemonade and beetroot and goat’s cheese on thick toast with crunchy walnuts, a sweet drizzle of fragrant honey, yoghurt and LOTS of thyme (you’re getting the theme). If you’re not a beetroot fan, the squishy French toast dish with caramelised pear, fresh berries, granola and Greek Yoghurt is pretty special and enough to fill you up for wandering up to rooftop haven Klunkergarten.
Walk up out of the top of the grey concrete car park onto a sky-high adults playground of colourful plant beds, greenhouses and arty sculptures. There are sunflowers every way you look and little shacks serving refreshments to sip on while enjoying the view.
More coffee shops to try in Berlin…
But Berlin’s not just coffee and cake. Pre-dinner drinks at Das Hotel bar is a must – the twinkling candles and chandelier made of tiny flower-filled vases light up the pretty room filled with mismatched furniture, and there’s an elephant on wheels painted on the wall for good measure. We have an Aperol Spritz (ah yes, that classic German drink…) in the frame of the open windows and watch the parade of cool Berliners saunter past in hats and trainers.
We then join the trail to uber-popular Kimchi Princess, a red-walled restaurant lined with wooden tables and bench seating, in true South East Asian style. We grab a table on the heated terrace to allow for more people-watching and attempt to pick up Korean fried beef dumplings with chopsticks, stir up the clay pot of fresh ingredients in Bi Bim Bap, and watch in eager anticipation as our waiter adds chewy noodles to the grill-at-the-table spicy marinated baby octopus and thinly sliced beef BBQ.