As a child, the one thing that I knew about Berlin and its relation to food was the ‘Berliner’ donut…and the only reason I knew about that was because of my unhealthy obsession with reading about the glamourous Kennedys. JFK’s infamous “Ich bin ein Berliner” statement of his status as Berliner, or a sugared doughnut on his visit to Berlin in 1963 has gone down in history.
What I know now, is that a Sunday brunch buffet is a new tradition in the city of Berlin. Many cafes and restaurants will open on Sunday for a day-long ‘brunch’ buffet, where for only about 10 Euro per person, you can go and eat to your heart’s content. One of the most popular of these cafes is Café Morgenland in Kreuzberg, where K and I headed for our own experience of the Berlin Sunday Brunch. We got there just after it opened for the day and were just lucky enough to get a table. If you arrive later in the day, be prepared to wait for at least half an hour to get a table!
We started off with a tall glass of freshly squeezed Orange Juice each – not cheap at 5 Euro (especially as the buffet is only 10 Euro per person!), but I suppose that’s how they make their money – if they lose a bit on the food, they make it back in the drinks! Still, given how large the glass was, and how sweet yet tart the orange juice was, it was worth what we paid.
The buffet itself is situated in a room just off the main dining area, in what seems to be a bridging room between the dining room and the kitchen. There’s a window from this room into the kitchen, where you can see the chefs prepare more platters of food for the buffet. The space is small and crowded – so there’s no time to stand back and contemplate what you want to try, you have to make some snap decisions!
There’s not much in the range of hot food in this brunch buffet – cold foods are definitely the highlight. There’s a range of cheeses, from sliced Emmental to wedges of soft brie and chunks of smelly blue cheese. There’s a large range of sliced meats – mortadellas, salamis, hams. There’s a range of salads as well – garden salads, pasta salads, cous cous salads.
There’s a large selection of baked goods to choose from – mainly a variety of simple bread rolls rather than sweet pastries. I was confused about why people would just choose to have plain white bread, then I saw this display of tapenades – clearly the bread is really just a vehicle to try these tapenades! Olive, tomato, capsicum, beetroot, tuna…there’s a few to try!
The cereal table was surprisingly popular as well, though I personally wouldn’t bother with generic Fruit Loops and Coco Pops at a buffet when there’s more exciting foods to try!
The little hot food available was made up of grilled chicken wings and frankfurts, wedges, and eggs cooked a few different ways. I wouldn’t normally buy or eat frankfurts at home in Australia, but I did get a bit addicted to them while I was in Germany and Copenhagen – hot dogs are just done so much better there than at home!
To finish off the buffet on the sweeter note, there’s a table of fruits and fresh yoghurts as well. Strangely enough, they also offer a dish of sliced bananas drizzled with chocolate sauce…it almost makes sense? I avoided that though, and just finished off my meal with a plate of fresh cut fruit to cleanse the palate.
Café Morgenland offers a pretty comprehensive cold buffet for an extremely reasonable price. The hot buffet is less impressive, but by the time you try a little bit of each of the cold dishes available, you can barely fit in the hot food anyway. I can see why it’s a popular brunch spot for Berlin locals, with large families and groups of friends all dining together in the small and crowded restaurant. I’d definitely recommend going to Café Morgenland on a Sunday if you’re keen on having a Berlin brunch buffet experience!
To finish off this post, here’s a few photos of the few dishes that K and I managed to sample off the buffet…we were absolutely stuffed by the end of our meal!
Cafe Morgenland is located at 25 Skalitzer Strasse, Berlin.