Sunday, October 28, 2012

Italien: enttäuschend

Maybe the problem is that my hopes for brunch at Aroma were too high. I've eaten there before - it's one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. It's associated with Slow Food and the web site proclaims it as a "Berlusconi-Free Zone." They have good art from local artists that changes several times a year. There are invariably tables of Italian diners in the restaurant. I've always thought it was a cut above most of the Italian restaurants in Berlin. And a few people I recommended it to, raved about their brunch. So when we finally (after living around the corner for three-plus years) managed to go for brunch, I was excited. Was it better than most of the brunches you find in Berlin? Yes, definitely. But was it great? No, not really. It's nice to have a restaurant brunch that isn't made up of par-baked rolls, sweaty cheese, and cheap cold cuts. And I know that brunch isn't exactly an Italian concept, but many non-German restaurants in Berlin from Indian to Turkish to pretty much any place that wants to make money offers a brunch of some kind because Germans like to go out for brunch, preferably a buffet. Also, my hands-down favorite brunch in Berlin is Italian: Pappa e Ciccia in Prenzlauer Berg. Somehow the brunch at Aroma had that cleaning-out-the-walk-in feel that a lot of cheap brunches have. A lot of the dishes were at weird slightly too-cold temperatures, like they had made the night before and taken out of the fridge just before they landed on the buffet. But also, unlike Pappa e Ciccia, for example, a lot of the stuff was just sub-par. The bread, for example, was either rolls they bought par-baked and finished off or that they got from any average bakery in Berlin. Germans eat these rolls (Schrippe or Broetchen) for breakfast all the time, but they always taste like cotton to me. Germany is full of good bread, but good white bread is harder to find. That said, it is findable and a place like Aroma (Slow Food?!) should be buying or making better bread. Along the same lines, there was a big bowl of blah fruit salad just like you see on most any brunch buffet - no thought is/was given to the season in terms of varying fruits, it's just always the same apples and grapes and ick. Standing next to a big vat of starch-thickened yogurt that is getting warmer by the moment. Finally, there was a platter of different cake slices - not a nice crostata or anything remotely Italian, but the same squares of cake you see at any chain bakery in Berlin. I have a serious weakness for poppy seed filling and have been known to purchase a slice of the stuff sandwiched between two tasteless pastry layers from Thoben's (a local chain of no particular quality), but this stuff has no place at Aroma. Maybe it was an off day - I don't know, but from now on, I'll happily make the trek to Pappa e Ciccia when I'm feeling the need for brunch. Cafe Aroma (not to be confused with the Chinese Aroma of dim sum fame) Hochkirchstrasse 8

1 comment:

  1. Well I don't know if I'm ever going to come to Berlin, but thank you for this guide, it's very well done!
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