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House of Small Wonder Whimsical afternoons

Following in the footsteps of a certain Leonard Cohen song, House of Small Wonder first took New York before heading over the pond to Berlin. Seeing as their cafe was such a hit with the Brooklynites, the husband and wife team thought they’d try their luck in Europe, whose relaxed cafe vibes inspired them in the first place. Their concept of Americo-Japanese fusion has been an immediate hit with the Mitte masses, starved of an original lunch spot around Friedrichstraße.

Serving all-day brunch and home-cooked lunch, the menu is a combination of breakfast classics, baked goods and tasty sandwiches—alongside Japanese options, like Okinawan Taco rice, a take on the Tex Mex special that actually has no taco in sight. The space itself is a large wonder, flooded with light and reminiscent of a greenhouse. Or maybe it’s the abundance of potted and hanging plants that stirs this feeling. A mish-mash of materials, the walls are made of salvaged wooden planks, and stained glass windows have been transformed into quirky lamps. While the entrance at first seems like a waste of space, up the spiral staircase awaits a little paradise. And lots of cute Japanese waitresses.

Nansen Distinctly Deutsch

On the northern brim of Neukölln, an area previously known more for its döner and cheap eats, Nansen stands out as a beacon of culinary sophistication. It might be on a cosy corner but this isn’t any old Eck-kneipe. Forget the tried-and-tested Schnitzel, Sauerkraut and Schweinebraten—here’s a menu that is both creative and distinctly German. We’re talking about shoulder of lamb with beetroot chutney and pan-fried potato cakes, or grilled trout and mashed potatoes with an artichoke and coriander sauce. There’s a price to be paid for such delicacy with mains hitting the twenty mark, but you get a whole lot of bang for your buck. Take note: skipping dessert would be a folly of monumental proportions—they are specialists here. And the canal-side location is an absolute winner in warmer months as you can eat outside and take a digestif stroll along the waterway.

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