Jul 2, 2013

The Playwright Cafe, Kreuzberg/N'koelln


Céad Míle Fáilte 'A Hundred Thousand Welcomes and some fine food and coffee' at The Playwright Cafe.

You will get a big Irish welcome at the Playwright Cafe, a wonderfully comfortable place to go in the thriving area of the borders of Kreuzberg and Neukoelln on Pannierstrasse and right beside the Landwerkanal. We were very impressed by the very friendly waitress and the coffee and banana bread in particular were very tasty. The food on choice is very varied and great value, in particular the excellently priced Playwright Breakfast is fantastic and a great treat for any expats out there. The selection of cakes were also very nice. I also like that you can collect a stamp for every coffee you buy and your are rewarded after your card has been stamped in full, a nice reward schreme for loyal customers. I can imagine it must be the perfect place to go for Sunday Brunch and when the weather is nice there is some lovely outdoor seating where you can people watch.

Also if you are interested in Irish literature the backroom is a delight with lots of great books there and a great gallery of the Irish Literary Giants. It is a very cosy room and you can hang out here til 8pm during the week and til 12 at the weekend. Must also mention how very clean the WC were here, another problem in a lot of Berlin establishments.

One other thing of note is that the choice of music was fantastic, anywhere that plays a full Neil Young album during the day has to be given a big thumbs up, that and it has super fast wi fi so its nice place to come and work. Check out their website or Facebook page for more information, the website is in English and German. Can't wait to get back there again and hear what other great music choices they may have. It is something that is often overlooked in Berlin, nice to hear some decent tunes in a very decent cafe indeed!

Address: Pannierstrasse 29
U-Bahn: Hermannplatz or Bus: M29/171/194
www. theplaywright.de

Coffee: 9/10   Cake: 9/10

Mar 14, 2013

Maxway Cafe, Schoneberg


It was a total fluke that I originally frequented Maxway Cafe as it was one of the only cafes that looked kind of decent in the Nollendorf area of Schoeneberg. As it was I had to be closeby my kids kindergarten for his first week or two so I settled into a routine of going to Maxway Cafe every day. I had thought it was a chain because of the logo design but found out it wasn't, not that I have a huge problem with chains but they tend not to make very good coffee, just milky coffee flavored drinks of the Starbucks variety. Anyway Maxway was a great surprise, the staff are very friendly, really happy to see you every morning and after a couple of days actually knew our order and we later noticed that the same people came in here every single morning and they pretty much knew all of their orders too, they have a steady flow of regulars and we felt like we were regulars in no time. 

The coffee was excellent, it might not be up there with the best baristas in Berlin but excellent nonetheless and coffee art always seems to put a smile on my face, I am a bit of a sucker for the added extras. That and the fact they served one of our coffees with a nice smalll just of steamed milk was also a nice touch. They served a nice selection of cakes, muffins and pastries and also some tasty sandwiches and salads all homemade and fresh. A nice touch also was the loyalty card, order 10 coffees and the next one is free, normally when I get these things I never seem to make it to the free one but in the case of Maxway we did and they made sure we actually got a large version of each drink, delightful. 

A very friendly cafe so don't let the Starbucks kind of logo deceive you, this cafe is miles better, a nice place to spend time alone or with friends and a great window seat to look out or sit there with your laptop and pretend you are working (surfing the web) as they also have free wi fi and great comfy couches down the back.  

Address: Maasenstrasse 13
U-bahn: Nollendorfstrasse 

Coffee: 8/10 Cake: 8/10

Antipodes, Prenzlauer Berg



I originally hunted this cafe down because of the name of the cafe, I for some reason felt drawn to it and I am so glad I did, I have heard numerous great reports of this place but had yet to try it. This small laid back cafe run by two New Zealanders (who know a thing or two about coffee) make amazing coffee, one of the best in Berlin. The owners are very friendly and there is always a real warm welcome, mix that with the wondrous coffee creations, what more can you ask for. One of the specialities here and a New Zealander speciality at that would be the 'Flat White', made to perfection every time, so great to find a cafe that is always consistent. These Baristas take the matter very serious and put a 100% into each brew, all done with a carefree attitude, like second nature to these guys.

They also serve a mix of snacks like sandwiches croque monsieur and scones, some nice breakfasts and great value for money. They also prepare a delicious soup which is very hearty. I also like the fact that there was so English magazines there too. Antipodes is a little gem, thats all I can say, a little gem in Berlin! Well worth doing what I did and hunt them down, that and hunt down all these great cafes Berlin has to offer, we are so blessed to have such a fine selection. 

Address: Fehrbelliner Strasse 5
U-bahn: Senefelderstrasse

Coffee: 10/10   Cake: 8/10

Cafe CK, Prenzlauer Berg



Another cafe that goes under the banner of the Third Wave in Berlin who's owner Cory was name the World Cup Tasting Champion, no mean feat. The coffee I had here was very smooth, pretty strong too I might add but delicious, it really hit the spot, coffee the way its meant to be. I loved the way they get the steamed milk just right, a lot of cafes just can't do this, I have had so many frothy airy milk creations I want to forget about, the milk here is steamed to perfection, the correct consistency, a dream brew always balanced. 

I like the fact that you can hang out here and never feel rushed, just take you time and people watch. Cafe CK is a first class cafe. The decor here is very loungey and some nice furniture, probably not the best place to work with a laptop as it most likely have to be on your lap but not every cafe has to be a place where you have work in mind (there is free wi fi), some were made to just go and drink some fine coffee, relax and float downstream… if that is possible with a coffee that gives you a kick, goodbye hangover and tiredness. They also served a great banana bread and all manner of nice treats and a really great breakfast. I guess the staff are friendly but not overly friendly, something I hope they can improve like many cafes in Berlin, it really makes a huge difference when you feel welcomed but still a great ambient cafe, very cosy, the owner was very attentive, knows his coffee! Try an aeropress!

Address: Marienburgerstrasse 49
U-bahn: Senefelderplatz

http://cafeckberlin.com/

Coffee: 10/10  Cake: 8/10

Five Elephants, Kreuzberg



Five Elephant Coffee Roastery, Cafe and Cake Shop in Kreuzberg is another wonderful cafe in the kiez area, sourcing their brew from farm to cup, ethically and fair trade, the coffee is sourced directly from the farmer. They roast their own coffee so every cup of joe is fresh and the smell of ground coffee here is mesmerizing, they have got it just right. The cafe itself is typical of the kind of cosy cafe you find in Kreuzberg but it is very cool and very cosy to hang out, ok there are one or two hipsters but hey its Kreuzberg and its a lovely place to unwind and take in the neighborhood.

One of the specialities of 5 Elephants is the scrumptious Philadelphia Cheesecake, a recipe left by the owners grandmother…. all I can say is that this is cheesecake heaven, quiet different to the type of cheesecake you normally get in Berlin. The owners and staff are passionate about what they do, great quality food, exceptional quality coffee and very friendly to each customer, you feel. Another nice aspect is that the cafe is in the lesser known area of Kreuzberg so you really have to look this place up if you are a searcher of great coffee, it really is worth the visit. What I also liked about Five Elephants that because it was in this kiez area it was mostly frequented by people who live in the neighborhood and you get a real feel of this in here and also that its is never overfull, very nice indeed. 

Honestly this place is worth a visit for the cheesecake alone and add in the coffee, well I just can't get enough of this place, wished I lived in this kiez area, lucky for the Berliners who do.

Reichenbergerstrasse 101
U-bahn: Goerlitzer Bahnfhof

http://www.fiveelephant.com/

Coffee: 10/10   Cake: 10/10

Passenger Espresso, Kreuzberg



A great little find in Berlin, a small espresso bar again run by an amazing New Zealander Barista. These guys and Antipodes are really competing for the best Flat White in Berlin or possible Germany and I can't pick a winner, they are both exceptional. Seemingly I have been told by other kiwis' who frequent here that it is the best flat white they have had outside of New Zealand. 

Ok the cafe might not be the type of cafe where you would hang out all day, its not that type of cafe, like Double Eye Cafe in Schoeneberg this is the kind of place where you come for one thing, a perfect coffee! It is a small establishment run smoothly and has a nice and friendly vibe and check out those cool Anzac biscuits. They also serve a small selection of cakes, banana bread and drinks, a small cafe with big ideas, coffee that leaves a taste in your mouth. You can also buy roasted beans here.

Passenger also operates a mobile cafe at the market at Boxhagener at the weekend so great coffee on the move.

Address: Oppeinerstrasse 45
U-bahn: Schlesisches Tor

http://passenger-espresso.de/

Coffee: 10/10   Cake: 8/10

Feb 21, 2013

Zwei Berliner, Schöneberg


Well its not good enough having Double Eye in the neighbourhood, in fact on the same street but now you will find Zwei Berliner, a brilliant cafe offering superb regional coffee which is also organic and fairtrade. Zwei Berliner is all about the coffee (and of course a fine selection of tea), it also serves a nice selection of cakes and snacks which are all homemade and look great. The coffees are also served with a very tasty homemade biscuit that some other cafes would charge for since it is a generous size... it is one of those nice extras that is a cut above the rest that you remember. The coffee was excellent, nice and strong, but very smooth and served with a jug of warm milk which we hadn't asked for so that was also a nice additional detail picked up on by the warm and friendly barista.

The decor has a kind of retro feel but it has been modernised very well and I must add that the toilets were exceptionally clean, a rarity at times in Berlin so a nice plus too. The owners were very friendly and we enjoyed a nice conversation with them while we were there, very attentive indeed. Well I can only recommend this great cafe and lucky for the people in the Akazienkiez area having another great addition to the neighbourhood, Schoeneberg just gets better and better all the time, if Bowie was still living in the neighbourhood this is probably the kind of cafe he would frequent, cool coffee, cool people and very laid back. can't wait to get back there again!
Address: Akazienstrasse 26
U-bahn: Eisenacherstrasse

www.facebook.com/ZweiBerliner
Coffee: 10/10   Biscuits: 10/10

Jun 23, 2012

Barini, Neukoelln


Barini was one of those great discoveries when you are not on the lookout and we found Barini on such a day hanging out in Neukeolln. The interior of the cafe is really stylish with beautiful oak tables, warm lighting and in the back there is a really nice room with a large old looking oak table which would be a perfect room for a group of friend or a party. At this time there was a very cool slide show in operation and it was very impressive. The waitress was so warm hearted and friendly and you cannot underestimate the importance of friendly staff, it is always an important reason why I would go back to a place and in this instance it was very refreshing in a city where customer service at times can be, well you know. The menu is a mix of Turkisk and Italian cuisine and they have come up with a mix that works, everything has been thought through and the design from the cafe to the menu and business cards balance throughout, really well executed.... a perfect crossover. They seem to have a very tasty looking breakfast choice so I hope to get back and check that out.

They have some of the best home made cakes, all scrumptious looking. It took us a moment or two to order since they all looked so great. We settled for the lemon cake and the apple tart, both were immense and then there is the coffee. When we walked in the door we spotted their great barista machine, we had high hopes. The coffee was fantastic, one of those great cups of coffee, even when its cooling down it still tastes damn good...it was pretty strong too so we just settled for the one cup. Neukoelln is lucky to have such a great addition to the neighbourhood, while it might not be as cheap as some people may expect in the neighbourhood, the prices were still very inexpensive, the cakes were only a couple of euro and for a home made slice, you can't go wrong. Its so worth a visit and if you live around the corner you couldn't have a better local on your doorstep.
Address: Boehmischestr. 46  
U-bahn: Karl Marx Strasse  S-bahn: Sonnenalee

www.barini-nk.de/
Coffee: 9/10  Cake: 10/10

Jan 28, 2012

Cafe Dritter Raum, Neukoelln


So I have been meaning to review this place for a while after having a great breakfast here. Well what can I say about Cafe Dritter Raum...I think the picture says a lot about the style of cafe it is, the decor is a complete mix of brilliantly put together retro style and you feel so at home here, that and the very friendly staff where a nice warm welcome can make all the difference. You can also enjoy an old school video game ... remember these things? The food in the cafe is completely organic and the prices are great considering this too, all the food is homemade and scrumptious. They do regular breakfasts during the week and a brunch buffet at the weekend, not to be missed. There is great care taken in the food preparation and you can see the owner really cares about the product they offer here and the fact that they only use organic produce says a lot about their ethics too.

Cafe Dritter Raum is a really home away from home and with wlan here also, you can bring your laptop and just take it easy and unwind in one of Berlin's great urban cafes, they have got the concept just right, great food, great cafe, great decor and friendly to boot! Check out the Swap Night 'Tauschring' on Wednesday where people swap services, check their website for more details.

Hertzbergstrasse. 14 U-bahn: Karl-Marxstrasse 
or S-bahn: Sonnenallee
www. cafe-dritter-raum.de

Coffee: 8/10 Cake: 10/10

Jun 13, 2011

Suesskramdealer, Friedenau

The setting of this wonderful chocolate haven is in an old tabacco shop which was originally opened over 100 years ago in 1906. The decor remains the same, its a wonderful feeling of olden times with a new twist. When you walk into Suesskramdealer your eyes dart all over the place at all the wonderful sweet treats, an amazing selection from all over the world. You can order a coffee and either pick a treat of your choice or choose one of their scrumptious cakes which are baked daily. The cakes are exquisite and really feel a bit upmarket in that their quality is superb and the prices are still really decent. You can either sit inside in the side room, or in the shop at the window or like most people sit out the front in the middle of this nice Friedenau kiez. The shop/cafe also sells a nice variety of gifts and everything is colourful and a treat for the eyes. The coffee is pretty decent, ok not the best in Berlin but it is made up for by the best cake around and also because of the nature of the cafe, its almost like walking into the sweet shop in Willy Wonka... no sign of any Oompa Loompa's but that aside you feel as full as an Oompa Loompa when you leave. People in Fridenau have really won their Golden Ticket!!! A really great cafe.


Varzinerstr 4, Friedenau S & U Bahn: Bundesplatz

www.suesskramdealer.de


Coffee: 7/10 Cake: 10/10