There’s a striking moment when you step into Rekorder Galerie und Café. With clean lines, an original tiled floor and stuccoed ceilings, this compact space near Bergmannkiez is certainly perfect for a morning coffee or after-work wine. But there’s something else that catches your eye: a 2.5m–wide wall-mounted frame home to a single large-scale artwork. This combining of cafe and gallery came naturally to founders Werner Klemm and Amadea Badran, the former a film producer and the latter a Parisian passionate about sourcing French delicacies. For Klemm, exhibiting a single photo or video for a several-month period supports the individual artist, while allowing the different works to be understood as a single, extended exhibition. Badran’s food is focused too: think crunchy baguettes with ham and Brie de Meaux AOP, and fresh pastries from Albatross. Pausing to look at the work as you sample the Roquefort and a glass of Sancerre away from the bustle of Art Week, you cannot help but savour the moment. (Text: Benji Haughton / Photos: Johanna Rademacher-Flesland)
Someone once told me that the best way to test if an ice cream parlour is good is to try the pistachio. If that’s true, Duo Sicilian Ice Cream passes the test – and then some. At Berlin’s only Sicilian-inspired ice cream shop, the pistachio is a creamy, silky delight, its full-flavoured nuttiness down to the ingredients selected. Duo’s founder Antonio Tomasello imports the pistachios directly from Sicily, where he has his own trees. Why the focus on Sicily? Antonio’s roots are on the island, and the family have been bringing their ice cream knowhow to Germany since 1972. Duo shows off this Italian heritage with the “Etna”, a marzipan-tasting creation made from almonds from the island and pistachios sourced from Bronte, near the eponymous volcano. Cannoli pastries, filled vegan croissants and espresso make Duo a good spot for mornings too, though we’re quite happy to do as the Sicilians do and have ice cream for breakfast. (Text: Benji Haughton / Photos: Johanna Rademacher-Flesland)
This feature appears in Cee Cee Book No.2, published by Distanz
The beautiful terrace of Cafe Strauss at the Friedrichswerderscher cemetery is an ideal spot to enjoy the sun in peace and quiet. Owner Olga Strauss has been roasting her signature coffee here since 2013 with the hot-air roasting machine that sits beside the door. While enjoying a cappuccino and a piece of cake or “Stulle” (an open sandwich), you can watch the beans bounce around and darken as the room fills with the scent of roasting coffee. In the afternoon, as the sun hits the cozy terrace of the former chapel of rest, you almost forget you’re somewhere morbid. Taking a stroll around the quiet premises, it’s easy to obliviate time. (Text: Lorena Simmel / Photos: Sasha Kharchenko)
If you bristle at judgy baristas or confusing laptop rules, Wilke cafe will be your safe haven. You could sit there all day adding teaspoons of sugar to your flat white and owner Carolin wouldn’t bat an eye. Started a year ago as a homage to Australian brunch culture, Wilke is a sanctuary in all the best ways: think cosy conversations over a shared piece of carrot cake (it’s freshly baked and really good). And if savoury is more your thing, there’s your classic straight-from-Sydney avocado toast, eggy hangover food and, of course, granola bowls. While the classics remain, the menu is changed often enough to give you a reason to make it your regular spot. The interior is warm and minimal and made sweeter by the knowledge that it was built with love by Carolin’s family. Convinced? You’ll find Wilke on popular Boddinstraße; a nice peaceful detour from the hustle and bustle of Hermannstraße. (Text: Jo Fraser / Photos: Becca Crawford & Savannah van der Niet)
Eschewing clubs and late nights, Jo Fraser has settled on writing about Berlin’s vast cultural offerings, tasty eats and quiet cafes.
Donuts have a bit of an image problem. You might be thinking Homer Simpson, or greasy-fingered coffee breaks in a bleak office. Then there’s a history of local misnomers to contend with (see the JFK/Berliner Pfannkuchen saga.) I’d suggest you revise your opinion by checking out the vegan donuts from Brammibal’s on Maybachufer. Founded in 2015, theirs was Europe’s first all-vegan donut shop and they now have three locations across Berlin. And like Berlin, these vegan creations combine messy indulgence with ethical/live well pretensions and an eye for the unexpected. Each one takes three hours to make but mere minutes to scoff – and once gone, the texture of that chewy dough sticks in the mind. They come in six standard flavors, plus a rotating list of guest toppings that reads like a cocktail menu. A well-placed source (they live next door) swears by the rosemary and brown butter; I’m more partial to earl grey lemon or good old Boston cream. Best enjoyed with a coffee at the water’s edge. (Text: Edward Belleville / Photos: Brammibal’s & Christin Ludwig)
Edward Belleville is a Berlin-based writer and translator. He currently blogs for Spacebase.
Maybachufer 8, 12047 Berlin–Neukölln; map
Mon–Thu 10–18h, Fri–Sun 10–20h
Danziger Str.65 10435, Berlin–Prenzlauer Berg; map
Alte Potsdamer Str.7, 10785 Berlin–Tiergarten; map
Mon–Fri 9–20h, Sat 10–20h, Sun 10–18h