OPERNPALAIS IS NOW (DEVASTATINGLY) CLOSED
It may not be trendy but I don't care. Where afternoon tea is concerned I'm quite happy to be a bit of an old fogey. I'm talking about one of my favourite spots for cake in Berlin, Opernpalais on Unter Den Linden. It's actually a restaurant that's open all day but it is, unsurprisingly, the afternoon tea I'm interested in. Of course it's more properly a kaffee und kuchen place but thankfully they have a really good choice of tea - and in truth their kaffee is not that fantastic, even Coffee Boy opts for tea so that gives you some idea...
They serve Ronnefeldt tea which comes in a bag, although a rather fancy schmancy muslin-style bag. And like so many of the teas that seem to be served in Berlin the leaves within are of a really pretty good quality. But in this establishment, although the tea is good it's the cake that it's really worth making a fuss about.
As you enter the finely decorated Viennese-style dining room you pass a huge case full of the most amazing looking cakes. From creamy gâteaux to fruit tarts and pies to the most amazing traditional Sachertorte. After quite a few visits, purely for research purposes you understand, I have found my absolute favourite. It's called Grillparzer Torte and it's so good both Coffee Boy and I feel compelled to have a slice each when we visit. It's a cake I've never spotted anywhere else in Berlin: a sumptuous riot of chocolate, praline, marzipan and with just a hint of what tastes like orange. Every time I go I plan to try something else but given that I don't get to go there that often I find it hard to resist the lure of my old favourite.
On my most recent visit on a typically wet and grey October day, I had an extra special treat. not only was the Grillparzer Torte as delicious as ever, but my Assam tea actually came served with a jug of cold milk - yes cold! As any of you who have ordered tea in Germany will know it's usually accompanied by a small jug of hot frothy milk so I considered this quite a treat. Whether it was a one off I will only be able to tell on a return visit which I shall endeavor to make in the next couple of months. You see, what ever else you might say about me, you can't say I'm not committed to the afternoon tea cause.