Cocoro, Japanese Cafe, Kreuzberg

CocoroI feel like we are starting to have real choice in Berlin.  Gone are the days where lunch options were limited to schnitzel, ungainly maultaschen or the abiding curry wurst.  We have a street food market, how San Francisco of us!  We’ve got so many pop ups it’s like that video game with the moles or rabbits or whatever.  On Sunday I went to Gourmandise 3rd pop up at the Beta House where there were at least a hundred people queing with their Tupperware (as requested by the organizers) to buy cake.  I can’t afford to throw away a half hour to line up for cake when I’ve got a babysitter on the clock at home.  Instead,  I went round the corner to the adorable Ganz Wien and had coffee on a silver tray and found the lopsided home-made Sacher Torte endearing.
Ganz Wien, KreuzbergSomething else is happening. The bubble tea shops are closing en masse, leaving plenty of well-appointed store fronts for rent. On Mehringdamm strasse a Japanese Kitchen named Cocoro has opened. I nipped in on that first sunny Sunday to grab coffees on the way to our maiden visit to Tempelhof Freiheit (I know! It’s taken me 3 years to visit!).Salad at CocoroI was dubious about the extensive menu of beverages on the wall. Listing everything from coffees, to matcha soya latte (€3.60 -had it, not for me) or that David Rio Chai brand I would sooner associate with the Balzac chain then someplace I might want to eat. I saw cakes from Nazuna, organic power bars from Foodloose and macarons from Makrönchen.  IMG_2081
I’m suspicious of too much choice. Often, the more choice there is, the poorer the quality is. This is true for fashion and for food.  But then I saw a copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss and that made me decide on the spot to have lunch there. Read more of this post

Smart Deli, Japanese Fast Food, Mitte

You know those pervasive Berlin bakery sandwiches? The multi seeded brown bun with green lettuce poking out like a frilly petticoat? Which when you open, reveals a shriveled  up slice of skin on cucumber, cut exaggeratedly on the bias. A slice of cheese, dark brown and curled in the corners with a pale imprint of the once moist cucumber on its belly.  Salami, a slice so thin you could read your newspaper through it, glowing like it is lying in a fluorescent cabinet – except of course it’s not. One bite makes the inflated sandwich collapse into a chaos of sharp shard like crumbs; it seems to be all crust.  I don’t do those sandwiches.

Sure, like all people new to the city, I was excited by the prospect of sandwich that did not come in a triangle, served at 4°C but after a few I declared the sandwich genre in Berlin bakeries ‘dead to me’.Which is a pain because it means I have no easy work free solution for lunch.  It is a bore to make food for yourself twice a day.  Especially when the little diva seems to subsist on a diet of white things and needs separate meals made up (and then more often than not, thrown out when they don’t meet her exasperating standards.  Oh and what sounds like unguarded rage towards my offspring is more like an unabating amazement at the wool that Mommyhood can consistently pull over my eyes.) and then dishes need to be washed, dried and put away.  At the same time, I don’t like things on bread, in between slices of bread.  I like my sandwiches to be gourmet and that takes just as much work as a hot meal.Some days I debate whether it is a frivolous waste of time to get on the M1 tram to Nazuna in Prenzlauerberg so I can have a pitch perfect bento box.  With the pram and the kid, convincing the kid that she needs sock and shoes – it’s all too much to contemplate especially when it means that it will be the only thing I do that day and I will come home once again to be confronted with “What in the world shall I make for dinner? For me? For her?” Read more of this post

Nazuna, Japanese Deli, Prenzlauerberg


Excuse me as I breathe a very audible sigh of relief, that for once, a new place has opened that is not doing some variation of Alpine food, Swabian food or falafel.

I mean finally!

The Japanese Deli: Nazuna, is on Danzingerstrasse.  In a mint ice cream coloured building with speckled walls that make it look like it has perpetual goosebumps.  The tiled walls and floors of the former butcher’s shop have been kept intact with a new addition of a large bar, painted in a thin layer of matt white paint so that you can still see wood blemishes beneath.

Shuffling back and forth behind this space, with a brightly coloured scarf tied around her head, was Tsuki.

Everything in the glass cabinet was laid out with care, like they were of great value.  I ordered a large bento box (€7.50).  (I love bento boxes, they are like an advent calendar except you get to open it all at once. )  Read more of this post


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