Geist im Glas is a big name in the fledgeling Berlin brunch scene, to the point where its stellar reputation precedes even its name. By (weekend) day, you’ll find an outwardly-unassuming, cosy hideaway, and by night – an utterly transformative, lively bar oozing low key sex-appeal and that charming Berlin grit. This marriage culminates in the perfect backdrop for their weekend brunch sessions – serving up a cosy, indulgent, mouth-watering experience to the punters flocking through the doors.

The lack of signage keeps it hidden from prying eyes, but those with a keen nose will easily be able to track the delicious scent of freshly made coffee and smokey bacon down the cobblestones and into this discreet wee bar. Although we arrived a mere fifteen minutes after opening, it was already bustling – and by the time we left an hour later, it was packed with a queue to get in the door. You can expect a friendly, careful table service from the roster of friendly female staff (who run a pretty tight ship) with a standalone bar and a bottomless coffee buffet for those who are so inclined.

We ordered:

  • The Sweet and Salty:
    2 banana-filled pancakes loaded with dulce de leche, fresh fruit, a pile of maple cured caramelised bacon, three scrambled or fried eggs and a shot of bourbon maple syrup.
  • Chicken in Sweet and Spicy Waffles:
    Two buttermilk and sriracha waffles stuffed with a spicy ‘crispy filet’ from the best neighbourhood chicken shop, Risa. Drizzled with mayo and hot sauce, and served with a shot of toasted chilli-maple syrup on the side.
  • The Mixed Plate:
    A mix-up of all of your favourites. A small portion of Huevos Rancheros, a half portion of Chicken and Waffle, and a pancake with dulce and fruits.
  • Sloe Motion Spritz:
    Mimosa for the winter months. Made with cranberry, grapefruit and tarragon Sloe gin topped with cava.
  • Bottomless filter coffee

Geist im Glas has earned their hype status because of these darn pancakes. The pancakes are the real primadonna of this menu – the star everyone comes to marvel at. As well executed and delicious as the other choices may be, they are relegated to a mere supporting act and pale in the shining star of our banana and buttermilk belle. They are moist, fluffy, and thick to the point that each bite expands almost lovingly in your mouth. The banana is the key to this texture, but does not dominate the palate – the dulce de leche will do that for you, thick, sweet and gooey with little tangy bites of fresh fruit to offset that thick sweetness.

The Chicken and Waffles punch above their weight due to the syrupy smokey chilli dripping into each square. The waffles themselves are crisp, the fat pieces of chicken are tender with that hallmark Risa coating, elevating it ever so slightly. But the hot sauce and maple syrup brings up the standard from basic to remarkable.

The Huevos Rancheros portion that came with the mixed plate is nothing to write home about – it was served lukewarm, the crunch expected from the house-made tortilla chips never came, and there were too many sauces and sides jostling for attention. There was no symbiotic harmony of flavour – something the other two plates hit the nail on the head with. The saving grace was the smokey black bean base, and the tangy pickled red onions. The rest could be chalked down to excess.

The point of difference between the Geist and other contending brunch spots is its unique location. The fact you’re eating in a well-stocked bar means you can indulge yourself and go full boozy with your brunch – a concept that isn’t as widespread in Germany as you would think. They have a pretty stellar and extensive breakfast drinks list – I’m talking different types (! more than one!) of mimosas, bloody marys and breakfast cocktails by the glass or the pitcher – each one creative and well-thought out to fit into the breakfast schematic, and a testament to what makes Geist so special. We may have sunk a naughty mimosa or two…

Despite its slightly grungy, hip exterior and the crowds of Berliners in the know singing its praises/jostling for a spot, at its heart Geist im Glas is unpretentious and delicious. They shine where they focus their energy – making simple things just a little more special, and are a worthy contender for the proverbial Berlin brunch crown.

Where: Neukölln – Lenaustraße, 12047
Order: The Pancakes (with a side of bacon).
Free Water: Yes
Reservations: No
Payment: Cash only
Price: 8-13 EUR per dish
Hours: Daily from 19.00, Weekend Brunch 10.00 – 16.00
Contact: +49 176 55330450 / Facebook

Photos: Outdoor Breeze