The founder of the Stil In Berlin blog on how the city became an unexpected capital of longer, later breakfasts
At one time, 10 years ago, brunch in Berlin was bad. So bad, I don’t think I ever once ate breakfast outside of my own house. There was little hope, and even less to eat. How could Berlin ever recover from all those wrinkly cheeses, congealed scrambled eggs, dull pancakes, wriggly pools of sausages and sweaty spreads of cold cuts? These foods dared to call themselves “brunch”. And the tasteless (in both senses) concept of all-you-can-eat €7 buffet predominated.
And then, all of a sudden, everything changed. I’d like to believe my endless complaints on Stil in Berlin contributed in some way, but it’s more likely that people arriving in the city had much higher standards than those who’d lived here all their lives.
A lot of them came from the island that owns brunch: Australia. People such as Morgan Love, who opened Silo Coffee in the wastelands of Friedrichshain and started serving dishes influenced by his upbringing Down Under. Now his new place in Mitte, Commonground, is rightfully celebrated for its poached eggs. Also sisters Sophie and Xenia von Oswald, who grew up with their Iranian mother in Sydney, and returned to Germany to serve hungry diners inspirational brunch plates pumped with Middle Eastern flavours at their seasonal Das Brunch event. It has the longest queues of anywhere in Berlin – Berghain eat your heart out.
Personally, I love The Future Breakfast – the team that serves luscious sandwiches filled with eggs, hollandaise and spinach (or bacon) from their vintage caravan at Bite Club or Markthalle Neun’s The Breakfast Market. (Yes, Berlin has a street food market dedicated to breakfast.)
The brunch boom might also have something to do with our club culture. The eats match the eaters: young clubbers feel the need to be out all night, and young chefs can’t bring themselves to settle down either. They’d prefer to open pop-ups than find permanent locations.
There’s still room for improvement, however. For one thing, our imported avocados can be a bit bland. But the city will find its place among the world’s best cities for brunch if, instead of eating the same old globalised Instagram fare, we invent dishes that speak of the best of Germany and the spirit of Berlin – minus the wriggly sausages. I know we’re making progress. For one thing, I rarely eat breakfast at home any more.