A rainy day in Berlin

After being lucky the day before we woke up on Saturday to a bleak and grey sky. Good then that we were sleeping in and not in hurry to go for breakfast. This time we had reservations at the Schwarzes Cafe in Charlottenburg (thank you Sophie!!). The place looked inviting and comfortable, just perfect for another long and lazy breakfast. IMG_0014  IMG_0001  IMG_0002  IMG_0006  IMG_0007 IMG_0012

Just looking at it now makes me realize that this breakfast was delicious, actually each meal we had that weekend was perfect. On hindsight what astonishes me more than the great meals (you know how critical I can be) was with which consequence Sophie polished off every last morsel on her plate. Every time we went anywhere for food, no matter what time, day or meal. The rest of us just started to dig in the moment I put my phone away, while Sophie took her time and then steadily ate everything on her plate. I wonder how she does that?.

Eventually we left our cozy nook and took the S-train to ‘Hackescher Markt’ to visit the Museum Island. From the beginning I wanted to see the Pergamon Museum and the others were nice enough to accommodate me. Since I read the book “Limit” by Frank Schätzing I wanted to go (actually already before but after reading it I wanted to go soon).

On the way to the museum the weather god was still gracious, which bode well for us and was also great for the abundance of brides we saw (there were three, but I only took a picture of one) on the island. IMG_0024    IMG_0027IMG_0031  IMG_0034

While lining up for the museum it started to drizzle.IMG_0035IMG_0038
Not getting deterred we stayed in line until we finally came upon a sign on which it said that the hall with the Pergamon Altar was currently undergoing renovations and will not be open until 2020. None of us was prepared to wait that long, so after a short consultation we agreed on going for a drink. Of course there were other things to see, but my disappointment was just too big and needed to be fixed. But this is another story.
Yours, Pollybert

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Breakfast at Stadtcafe

I feel like haven’t been out for breakfast in a while so when my friend Evi suggested a new place I was all for it. The Stadtcafe is located in the heart of Vienna overlooking the Freyung and a cobblestone street.
Saturday was the perfect day for it, sunny but cold. So what better to do than go for coffee and some great food.

The place itself looked comfortable and inviting and the tapestry behind Evi fit with the “City” theme.IMG_9553

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Too bad that the food was so disappointing. But let’s start from the beginning. The menu offered amongst other things four different breakfast combos, Vienna, New York, Mediterranean and London. Why they didn’t call the third one after a city like Istanbul or Beirut I really don’t know. But the inconsistencies didn’t stop there.

We ordered the Mediterranean and New York combo and from the looks at first were quite pleased. The combos by the way did not include the coffee which made it rather pricey.

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The Mediterranean came with the wrong bread, some sort of sandwich instead of pita or Turkish bread. It didn’t work at all and I offered Evi half of my bagel, but honestly this one was not better either. The rice and lentil salad tasted ok, the peperonata was not marinated enough and too cold; the cheese was not great, way too hard and more like supermarket quality, the hummus was self-made I think and tasted good.

The artichoke was stuffed with the same cream-cheese/herb combo that was smeared on my salmon bagel and had no added value. Neither for the artichoke nor the bagel. And last but not least the Greek yoghurt with the honey walnuts was not Greek at all. Not thick and tasty enough. Also the walnuts were added separately and did not come from the same pot as the honey.

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My New York combo didn’t fare any better. The scrambled eggs tasted fine but I hate it when they leak on my plate. Always a sign for me that too much milk or mineral water was added to the eggs. The hash brownies (on the bottom right if you don’t recognize them) were grey inside and overall too big. I prefer them flatter and with more crunchiness. The bagel had a very doughy consistency which might not be their fault at all.

To be honest I haven’t tasted a good bagel since Montreal. The best ones came from the Fairmount Bagel shop and nothing here comes close to it. So that’s the one thing I won’t reproach them for. But the salmon on top which tasted just of fat and salt was their doing. Also to sell a cheesecake as New York cheesecake, it must be made with cream cheese and not with curd. A difference you can taste!

And the yoghurt with the home-made granola was ok but also nothing to rave home about. The yoghurt was actually the same as the Greek yoghurt from Evi. So much for the Greek part.

I later learned that the place is from the same owners as Freiraum which should have told me everything. A place I went for breakfast once and never came back, same as Aumann, Rochus and Rochus 1090. They all share the same concept of the divided breakfast combos. Lots of stuff on the plate but nothing tasty. Actually, there is a name for it, it’s called system catering.

So if you are in the area and look for a breakfast spot, try to avoid it. If you can’t, just go for coffee.
Yours, Pollybert

Kussmaul

With a bunch of people I tried a new place for breakfast two Sundays ago and I promised you here its own review. There is definitely a lot to say about this place.

I had heard quite a bit about it, some not so great things from friends but also some very promising sounding reviews. So when the chance presented itself to have breakfast there, I took it. Kussmaul doesn’t look like much from the outside, but man it’s beautiful from the inside. Almost spectacular.069
It looked really well renovated and while sitting in the winter garden there was no draft, a big problem at the last place I reviewed.067

On both ends the window front was decorated with herbs and edible plant boxes which added a nice touch. The effect was a bit ruined though because some plants looked as if they needed more attention.
This and the irritating toilets (the jungle style was a bit much and my eyes needed some time to adjust to know where to go) were the only not so great features decor wise in this restaurant. Whoever planned it did a great job.

The menu offered three breakfast combos, extra dishes and breakfast à la carte. Since we were a bigger group our table ordered all three combos, plus some extra stuff so I could take pictures of everything. These were the three combos:
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Let’s start with the positive: it’s really well presented except maybe the plate with all the bread. But from now it all went downhill.

I had the first combo and both the egg and the sausages were cold. Urgh, that was quite disgusting for breakfast. The “Tzatziki” in the middle was leaking on my cheese, which was totally bland by the way. The duck sausage had little bone pieces inside which made me constantly check my teeth. Also the plate was on the small and since the sides were curved upwards there was no space to maneuver on it. Just cutting the sausages was difficult. To be fair the ham was great and I liked that the egg was already seasoned.

It was astonishing that also the soft boiled egg on the bread plate as well as the “hour” egg, the avocado/banana tartar and the hummus on the vegetable combo were cold.
The bacon and eggs dish on the other hand was hot and still steaming when it came to the table though the bacon was not crunchy as asked for but soft.065

Also the separately ordered bread with cress looked tasty. 062
Prices were on steep side for breakfast especially since the coffee was not included in the combos and the overall impression was disappointing. We didn’t try any of the brunch combos so I can’t say anything about these. But judging from our experience it seemed as if the à la carte dishes were freshly made while the combos were already waiting to be ordered.
Service was considerate and very friendly. Our waiter was schlepping liter after liter of water to our table which was sorely needed after the night before. Only when we told him that the food was cold did he get a bit defensive.
All in all a beautiful place with a lot of room for improvement in the food department.
Yours, Pollybert
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Breakfast at Figar

Last weekend I had time for breakfast and K and I agreed on a much talked about new place. I first read about the Figar at the website of the breakfastgirls here (available only in German) and the critic was so promising that I wanted to try it right away.

Since K was game we met there at 11am. Without success I had tried the day before to make a reservation by phone (nobody answered) and later by text (no answer either). So when I arrived half an hour too early and got the place in front of the window I was more than happy. While waiting for my friend I had to defend the seat next to me about three times. Quite the popular place! Later on David Figar himself asked me if I could change place to make room for a couple with a buggy. No problem since he had still space for two in the back near the open kitchen.

Although the place is not really large it has an airy feeling to it.20131110-184713.jpg20131113-094118.jpg

The breakfast menu includes the usual fare of rolls, ham, cheese, eggs and so on but also offers some different choices like toasted bread (from Joseph) topped with blanched spinach, roasted tomatoes and avocado! Super yummy!20131113-100416.jpg

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We later shared a plate of tart varieties (poppy seed, apple and chocolate) plus a piece of brownie. All desserts are home made at the moment by Mummy Figar who seemed to me the heart and soul of the place. Bustling around, placing guests, cleaning tables, serving cakes and always having a nice word for everyone. Plus the tarts are excellent, can’t give a higher compliment to them. Also I have no picture of the dessert and as a regular here you will know what that means. It looked just too yummy not to dig in right away and it tasted even better than we expected!

The Figar is a lovely place with an extremely relaxed atmosphere and excellent breakfast and snacks. I am not sure now if it also offers more substantial food and I am also too lazy to look it up now. But you know what? You should just go and check it out for yourselves!

Yours, Pollybert

PS: Prices for everything on the menu are super reasonable and will probably not last. The used products and ingredients are all outstanding and I am not sure how David Figar can turn a profit like this. Later on he confirmed that he will have to go up a bit on some items.