If there is one thing Berliners cherish more than anything, it’s a long late breakfast, hearty and loaded with calories. Tourists happily buy into that tradition, flooding the city’s countless breakfast joints for meals where quantity usually trumps quality. Annelies in Kreuzberg is the place that stands out in the equation though. As yet undiscovered by the tourist masses, it operates in a completely different dimension to the usual breakfast joint.
“ "...this dish look like something straight out of a fine-dining pastry kitchen"
Named after the late grandmother of one of the owners, Annelies is the direct offspring of Distrikt Coffee in Mitte, a hip café founded by Sophie Hardy and Hannes Haake who managed to make their pancake stack famous across town. Annelies is their second location, a project that was conceived with higher food ambitions and where a leap of faith created one of the finest breakfast restaurants in Berlin.
“ "As yet undiscovered by the tourist masses, this place operates in a different dimension than the usual breakfast joint"
Matthew Maue, the Annelies head chef, joined the Distrikt Team in 2015 to improve the food offering. As a seasoned cook he's seen more restaurant action than most, running farm-to-table restaurants and sushi joints, as well as Asian fusion mashups before joining the Distrikt team with the vision of starting a dinner restaurant. His ambition was reflected in the dinner series they started running in 2016 but when, after two years of relentless venue scouting, they finally found something they liked, they realized destiny had something else planned for them. They found their dream venue across from Görlitzer Park in Kreuzberg but it just wouldn't be possible to run dinner service there. The solution: Berlin's most forward-thinking breakfast project.
Annelies is the breakfast answer to Berlin’s bistrofication, a contemporary small-plates-to-share approach to your first meal of the day, designed to question all other breakfasts you've had. This translates into a menu that features classic breakfast staples such as pancakes and eggs on toast, re-imagined into 21st century cool-restaurant versions. Take the eggs on toast which are not just perfectly scrambled, but also come served on a crunchy slice of Berlin’s finest sourdough (by Albatross) and sprinkled with a generous shaving of smoked egg yolk alongside a side of fennel kimchi. An egg serving to make you reconsider all other egg servings. The same goes for the pancakes - a perfectly fluffy and crunchy stack with granola and maple-berry syrup toppings as you might expect, but with a quenelle of cultured cream which adds a layer of complexity that blasts away any competition like dynamite.
“ "... at precision levels that are utterly pleasant to take in. This is just really great cooking."
Then you have the overnight oats, served with thick yogurt and layered on plums, basil and amaranth granola - a ridiculously sophisticated version of an utterly rudimentary breakfast item. It's not just the taste that's exquisite either, its dusting of dried strawberry powder makes this dish look like something straight out of a fine-dining pastry kitchen. Incredible. Homemade sausage with potato terrine; roasted zucchini with dried shrimp powder, these are just a couple more examples of dishes that could easily stand up to many of Berlin’s modern bistro menus. Maue is a preservation master with serious expertise in the domains of pickling, fermenting, vinegar making and drying. And he also excels at balancing his food with injections of umami and acid at precision levels that are utterly pleasant to take in. This is just really great cooking.
After countless tests and visits, I'm more than convinced that if Annelies were a dinner restaurant, it would easily belong to Berlin's hippest and most talked about restaurants. At the moment it's just Berlin's best breakfast restaurant. Lucky for us. Don't tell anyone.