Having made one successful excursion today to see an interesting exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim, a not-altogether-well Coffee Boy and I decided to grab a late lunch and head home. Luckily, there are plenty of options for take-away cake in this town so we stopped in at Barcomi's Deli on our way back to the flat. Barcomi's is quite an odd place for Berlin. The original branch is in Kreuzberg and on previous visits has been cramped, scruffy and ever so slightly disappointing as an afternoon tea spot. The Mitte branch though feels completely different. It's set in a Hof between Sophienstrasse & Gipstrasse and has a light and airy feel. Also, considering its location in the heart of tourist Berlin, it's usually full of Germans. Perhaps it's because it is slightly tucked away - despite the fact I've been there about 20 times I always have to keep my wits about me to ensure I don't miss it; or maybe it's because it's an American themed deli and not what the tourists are looking for on a visit to Germany (not that that seems to have any impact on Starbucks...)
Anyway, today we were just popping in for a cake-away (do you see what I did there..?) and there was the usual scrumptious looking selection of layer cakes, cheesecakes and other American styled goodies. I chose a rather wicked looking Raspberry Ganache Cake, and Coffee Boy was swayed by the Banana & Blueberry Cheesecake. The smiley woman behind the counter wrapped them up for us in that peculiar German way - a cardboard tray with a paper wrapping over the top (I find it extraordinary that a country that takes its cake so seriously packs them in such a precarious way) and waved us goodbye. Feeling pleased with ourselves for thinking ahead to tea time, we trudged home through the snow.
When we got back to the flat and unwrapped the cakes I suddenly remembered that the portions were fairly American too! These slabs of cake were huge. In fact we had enough to last us two days. Perhaps they were making the slices a bit larger to ensure they weren't left with any over the New Year. So far so good. I brewed myself an oolong/white jasmine blend and Coffee Boy made a latte and we settled down to a plate of scrumptiousness. Or so we hoped. Sadly the reality didn't quite live up to our expectations.
My cake had a really tasty chocolate ganache but the cake itself was a bit bland by comparison, but worse than that it was actually really dry, even verging on the stale. I had chosen it because I love the fruit and chocolate combination but the raspberries were pretty thin on the ground and failed to really make an impact over the ganache. Coffee Boy's cheesecake wasn't much better. For a start it didn't have a crunchy base which alone is enough to put him off; the actual cheesecake was banana flavoured which really didn't float my boat and the topping was blueberry which was full of fruit and, I thought, the best bit. All round though, it was also a bit of a let down - heavy and stodgy and too much of a mix of flavours for my taste.
We were pretty disappointed. We have certainly had good cakes from Barcomi's in the past - the chocolate espresso cheesecake was a particular highlight - but this time they didn't excite. Maybe it's the time of year; perhaps the cakes weren't quite as fresh as they usually are; maybe they didn't do well in the cold temperatures. Whatever the case, Barcomi's has slid down the league table of my favourite Berlin cake spots. I will try it again (just to be sure) but probably not for a while. Now, does that count as a new year's resolution?