The writing on the wall informs me that G. Buchwald has been around since 1842, 159 years. Looking around at the customers, it feels like some of them have been patrons since the very beginning. The lace curtains, pink tablecloths and dark wooden chairs upholstered with chintz feeds my fantasy further.
Stumbling across this kind of culinary heritage is a novel experience for me, coming from London where everything is new and even the old has been updated a multitude of times at great expense (case in point, the Savoy Hotel, opened in 1889 and recently subject to a €255 mil renovation). It’s refreshing that, here, these old places are treasured and maintained in a vein similar to their original incarnation.
Channelling a bygone Berlin is secondary to the main attraction, Baumkuchen or tree cake. It’s an odd concept whereby a long thick skewer is dipped into an almond meal batter, put into an oven to cook and then dipped in batter again. The result is a sequence of rings, similar to what you would find were you to chop a tree in half. The ‘donut’ is then painted with a thin layer of apricot jam (I think it’s apricot at least) and then the thinnest imaginable coating of dark chocolate. You can buy a slice of Baumkuchen cake or pick up one of the donut shapes (which is sold by weight 1 kg = €39, a baumkuchen donut usually comes to €4.50).
Friends of mine have said that they find the Baumkuchen to be rather dry and the other cakes to be too old-fashioned. Baumkuchen are kind of dry but somehow I don’t find that off-putting at all, I like them, I crave them even. I appreciate that in a city where it’s not uncommon to find sugar glazed croissants, I found a cake that is just a little sweet and that I can leave it on the counter, cutting little slices off throughout the day – because they are never around longer than that.
Mon – Sat 9:00 – 18:00
Sun 10:00 – 18:00