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17 posts from May 2010


I loved the light, the walls, the glossy Alexanderplatz-turquoise tiles fronting the bar, the vitrine laden with Hudson's treats, and I will be back very soon, I'm certain.

Cafe Nest, Görlitzer Str. 52, Berlin-Kreuzberg (map)
Open M-Su from 10am
Tel. 030 627 357 87


Chestnut blossoms

The scent of chestnut flowers is intoxicating.

Such moments of ugly beauty are dwindling

I've been looking for this shade of metallic lilac in linen so I could have a summer dress made. No luck yet.

A tree grows in Moritzplatz


Wouldn't we all like to make our own seasons? Take a bare set of branches (a beautiful deep impression), stamp on petals and birds at will, and find yourself in mid-spring, deep summer, or elsewhere.  Nicole Bednarzyk and Sylke Rademacher dreamt up this set, on sale at their stylish shop dedicated to sustainable design, schœner.wærs.wenns.schœner.wær. Alongside their own creations you'll find all manner of home accessories, sweet toys and -- rare for Berlin -- exquisite stationery, backed by a sleek espresso bar. (James, this will be your thank-you card, but for now: the books are amazing.)

schöner wärs wenns schöner wär (Conceptstore für nachhaltiges Design), Oranienstr. 58a, Berlin-Kreuzberg (map)
Open M-F 11am-7pm, Sat noon-4pm
Tel. +49 30 43201488

Park Babelsberg, Glienicker Park & Pfaueninsel


Now I know this cold weather is an insult to everything we cherish in the month of May, but you must forget it's only 11°C and prize the light instead. The blossoms are still clinging to the trees, and isn't Saturday the perfect day for a grand day out?

Take the S-Bahn to Babelsberg station and walk north on Karl-Liebknecht-Straße, stopping for tea-to-go along the way. Take a left at Grenzstraße and enter the neglected gate to the Park Babelsberg. You too might climb the hill and pause under the sycamores in the clearing, delighted to find such ample space for the taking. Keep the water to your left and follow paths and attractive vistas at will: the scenery conspires to lead you to the Kleines Schloß. It's a sweet restaurant with pretensions, and you, like me, might find the results mixed, but what luxury to sit with the water before you and the green lawn, and the willow bobbing in the wind, while the waiter shows himself to be attentive again.


From there, you might follow the coastline to the little bridge over Lankestraße, then head northwest, the water always at your left, as you walk past the Glienicker Brücke and up the quiet path that curves along the Schloß Glienicke. The path knits its way past an attractive Biergarten before bringing you to Pfaueninsel. There I boarded the 218 bus, pink-cheeked, and made my way home -- but that was in April. You might be tempted to take the ferry over to explore the Luise: Queen's Island World exhibition and Olafur Eliasson's Blind Pavillion, which I'm dying to see. If you go, will you tell me how it is?

Kleines Schloß, Park Babelsberg 9, Potsdam (map)
Opening hours here (I wouldn't dare try and summarize all this)
Tel. 49 0331 705156

Apple streusel of an afternoon


I dither between the chocolate cake, the carrot cake, the Linzer tart and the New York cheesecake, but when Sgaminegg's got their apple streusel on offer it's hard not to succumb. A tart cinnamony sweetness seems just right for this chill.

This year’s rhubarb


This rhubarb from the Zionskirchplatz market became a rhubarb crumble last night. I've tried fiddly recipes with ground almonds and oat flakes, but my mother-in-law's recipe is simplicity itself. Slice a kilogram of rhubarb into the bottom of a gratin pan and mix in a little white sugar. Rub 200 grams of butter into 400 grams of 550 white flour, then toss in 200 grams of white sugar. Spread the crumble over the rhubarb, then sprinkle with a spoonful of demerra brown sugar. Slide into the waiting oven (375 F/190 C) for 40 minutes or so, and serve with a pitcher of milk or cream.

Zionskirchplatz Farmers Market, Thursdays from noon to 6:30pm