Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Review Fraülein Dickes, Prenzlauer Berg
Last month while I was in Berlin I was browsing though my trusty Tip Speisekarte magazine looking for new cake places to try in Berlin. One that caught my eye was Fraülein Dickes as it was not far away up in Prenzlauer Berg; but for some reason there were no details other than the address. I mentally stored it away in my brain thinking I'd check it out next time I was up that way. And then, in one of those weird coincidences, a new blog reader (and fellow blogger), Schlactplatte, happened to mention it was her favourite place for cake. That was it, I didn't need any more encouragement. A short U-Bahn journey later (no cycling thanks to the snow and ice, grrrr) and I was there.
Immediately I fell in love with the place. Tiny, with just three tables, the cafe has been beautifully decorated. From the old window frames hung on the wall to the broken chandelier, and from the beautiful original ceiling painting to the equally gorgeous vitrine of delicious-looking cakes. It has that lovely atmosphere of faded glamour that used to be so prevalent in Berlin but now, as the city becomes more like other European capitals, seems to be sadly in decline.
As if the wonderful surroundings weren't enough to make my heart sing they carry a selection of lovely Kusmi Tea. So, what to order...? Obviously Coffee Boy went for a latte ("really good") and a piece of baked cheesecake. I struggled over the tea selection for a while but ultimately went for a blend called Sweet Love which combines black China tea with liquorice root, guarana seeds, pink pepper and other spices. To be honest these kind of teas aren't usually my thing but I'd had a couple of milky drinks already that day and fancied something spicy and warming. And it certainly fitted the bill. It came in one of those stitched muslin bags and emitted a gorgeous aroma when dunked in my tall glass of boiling water. In fact I liked it enough to actually consider buying some on my upcoming trip to Paris.
For my sweet treat I made the brave decision not to have the chocolate cake and instead opted for a pear and almond one (having been tempted by the words "fresh out of the oven"). Wow. It was truly delicious. Moist and fruity with a just-right almond crumb it was completely heavenly. CB's cheesecake was also really good but nothing was going to match mine.
What a discovery Fraeuline Dickes is. If you can get a seat (and that will be easier as the weather warms up as there are a few outdoor tables) it is totally worth a visit. It really is very nearly my ideal afternoon tea place. Just a couple of things hold it back in my opinion. Firstly there's no loo. This is pretty much a disaster for me. When I drink tea, I need to know I'm going to be able to relieve myself without having to walk for 10 minutes and then go and have another drink in another cafe just to use their facilities.
And finally, and this is especially an issue for Coffee Boy, please don't speak to us in English when we are coping perfectly well in German. The main woman who served us was friendly and stuck to German (in fact she spoke like a machine-gun) and we coped. But when it came time to get the bill another waitress arrived and decided to show us how brilliant her English was. The truth is we're not impressed. Pretty much everyone under 40 in Berlin speaks English and although you might be trying to help us it actually comes across as kind of rude. A bit like "your German is so rubbish I'm going to have to speak to you in your own language". I realise being offended by this might be a very English thing but it really does rankle.
Anyway, I didn't mean to hijack my review of what is a really rather wonderful cafe with a rant about loos and language. Fraeulein Dickes is a gem of a place and the goods on offer are top quality. I guess my only hope for them is that they move to larger premises so that I can comfortably hang out there for hours (and have a loo to use). So thank you Schlactplatte, I await more recommendations with bated breath.