Monday, August 15, 2011

As cute as a Knickelkopp

In the back of my mind, a clock is ticking. My Berlin hourglass drips grain after grain of sand, I know that time is running out. There won't be another white Christmas – in any case, we've already sent our thick coats back home to Melbourne, where we shall join them in just under a month.

In the past ten months, we have certainly done a lot in Berlin, but there are still a few lingering points we are yet to cross off our 'to-do' list: ride our bikes along the Mauerweg, the path of the former wall, explore more abandoned spaces such as a paediatric sanatorium and Nazi training camp or even go barbecuing (called grillen auf Deutsch) on a nice day – I guess we're just waiting on the nice day ;)

I did, however, manage to cross one thing off my list this weekend.

We are fortunate to be located in Kreuzberg – a really great suburb in the inner-south of Berlin (yes like the Bloc Party song). We live within walking distance of Tempelhof: an abandoned airport (now public park), Hasenheide: a lovely 50 hectare park, and Viktoriapark: home of Berlin's highest natural point and great place to catch some sun on a nice day/go sledding when it snows. When we first arrived in our area, we did some exploring, and really enjoyed visiting Viktoriapark and climbing to the very top of the hill. At any time of day, but especially sunset, people walk to the peak and have a beer or two while taking in the view.

After visiting the park a few times, I began to take in the surrounds. En route, we would walk past a little sunken cafe with the cutest name ever: Knickelkopp. Each time we walked past, I would grab Mr von S's arm and tell him how cute the place looked. He soon grew tired of me telling him how cute the place was and put it to me: pick a day, and we'll go. It only took me nine months to pick the day!

Berlin's current wasp invasion forced us to sit inside the cafe, despite the unusually nice weather.

The cafe's décor is adorable – retro, 1950s style furnishings, gingham linens and a touch of shabby chic. Call it twee, but I love it!

even the menus are cute!
The little handmade menus are filled with breakfast options, from muesli, fruit salad with quark, waffles and eggs, along with lunch options, such as sandwiches, salads and quiches. The drinks list is complete with teas, juices, sodas, beers, prosecco and coffee every way you can imagine. Scattered throughout the menu are old-fashioned images of the owner's grandmother and great grandmother, who looked to have been bakers of all things sweet back in the day. And it seems the gene for baked good has carried. The cake display boasts several different types of Torte und Kuchen, making deciding which one to order difficult. I finally chose the Käsekuchen (cheesecake made with quark) with a chai latte, and Mr von S ordered a Belgian waffle and hot chocolate.

chai latte, complete with chocolate freckle; totally digging the retro saucer.
Our drinks came served with a chocolate freckle, as I squealed for the umpteenth time how 'cute' everything was. Yes, I was overloaded by the cuteness, and Mr von S was overloaded by how many times I used the word 'cute'. Hm. Anyway, my chai was sprinkled generously with cinnamon sugar and was more a chai tea than the traditional syrupy-sweet chais that I am used to getting in Berlin. I felt the chai lacked spiciness and visually resembled dishwater; and while it made me feel somewhat more wholesome to not have my teeth ache with every sip, some sweetness would not have gone awry.

Likewise, the Mr felt that his hot chocolate could use a dose of Zucker. I think he may have actually received a hot cocoa rather than a hot chocolate, which is rather popular in Germany, especially laden with cream.

hot Belgian waffle
On to the eats. Mr von S was thoroughly pleased with his Belgian waffle, which had filled the little cafe with the most wonderful smell while we were waiting. Light and slightly eggy, as a Belgian waffle should be, it was served hot with a dusting of powdered sugar. My Käsekuchen had the texture of a baked cheesecake – dense, yet almost crumbly. German cheesecake, which is made with quark, has far less sugar than the typical New York cheesecake. This can be a welcome difference, as I usually struggle to finish this type of cake owing to its density and sweetness.

German cheesecake
Overall, the atmosphere of Knickelkopp won me over. The owner, who also plays waitress, is such a sweet lady, and you can really see that the cafe is her baby. I feel that if I were to ever open a cafe, it would mimic the design and feel of this cute – there's the word again - cafe, and even for that alone, I would make a return visit.

xox Fifi


  1. Nice text - fort a nice place!! ;-)

  2. So very pretty! I am in love with the handmade menus!


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