German Gastronomy: Berlin – Part II – Nola’s, Berlin

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but with brunch you kill two birds with one stone. Especially to quell the stresses of getting a little lost in unfamiliar country…

Day Two. Our extensive and constant travelling the day before earned us a little lie-in in our new digs – we had arranged to meet Jon at a place called the Mauerpark, not far from the Bernauer Straße U-Bahn (or metro) station. Apparently it’s a regular thing there for daytime karaoke sessions to be held, reportedly attended by thousands of people. For Jon, it seemed to be his mission to have me take part, and Aaron, a student opera singer at this time, was also willing.

The park at Veteranenstraße

We had not bought breakfast in, however, so our idea was to eat out before meeting Jon. However, with no guide at Bernauer Straße, we none of us knew the way to the Mauerpark, nor the direction of any reputable restaurants that could apply to the dietary restrictions of our group. Over the course of our travels, we eventually came across a park that we felt met the description of that which Jon had described (see pictured), which was complete with a restaurant that overlooked all the greenery that lay below. Named, simply, Nola’s.

We arrived just in time – it had just begun to rain. However, a word to the wise – if you do arrive before a rainshower is suspected, try to sit away from the edge of the gazebo. As Shahan and I learned the hard way, even under cover, one is not totally safe from the wet when the wind gets taken into account.

A 13-euro brunch buffet. All boxes ticked. For that, we had free reign of the enormous spread — breakfast and charcuterie-related items were up for grabs, as were main meals such as Spaghetti Bolognese. Nola’s is a Swiss restaurant, by the way, so we expected food from France, Germany and Italy to be on show.

A buffet brunch, including charcuterie items and cheeses, plus smoked salmon and pâtés

For my first visit to the buffet table, my mind was in a general savoury direction, with cheeses like Brie, as well as a couple of the number of good pâté portions (pork and chicken liver in my case), and the spiced cured salami making their way onto my plate (see pictured). They also have a good helping of smoked salmon, cream cheese and cress. A couple of bread rolls and butter seal the deal for me – it’s little more than I regularly look for in a breakfast or lunch these days.

A dessert selection, including cherry cake and Apfelstrudel

While they do have a few choices, the sweet numbers were a little depleted next to the savouries. A traditional German favourite of mine – Apfelstrudel with a bit of cream – joined the likes of, what I can only describe as nuggets of sponge cake, delicious enough on their own but helped along with a drizzle of maple syrup; and a cherry cake, quite like that which I last had on my visit to the TV Tower in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, on my dessert plate (see pictured). The strudel and the sponge were gorgeous, however the cherry cake tasted quite bland and the cherries themselves felt quite rehydrated. Never mind – you can’t win them all.

By the way, in case I forgot to mention it – Nola’s is not in the Mauerpark as Jon soon informed us, after he traipsed across the other end of town to meet us. It is actually in a park on the Veteranenstraße – in the totally opposite direction! But whether you mean to go there or not, it is well worth a visit. Especially for that price, and the view over the beautiful park is quite a relaxing and therapeutic sight. Given the grey and urbanised alternative.