A “must-visit” on my Berlin list was Roamers, a rustic-looking café in Neukölln at the end of a rather nondescript street that my friend and I passed by without realizing at first. Once we saw the crowd of hipsters around the corner we chimed, “This must be it!” And we were right. That crowd was actually everyone waiting for a table, not just people smoking cigarettes in between bites. One of the baristas told us that they were actually out of food so they were not serving anyone for at least a half hour before they got more ingredients in. I guess brunch on a Saturday in any major city is going to be a nightmare. We decided to wait it out, and eventually squeezed in between two groups at a communal table. The barista told us we could order coffee first while they got the kitchen back up to speed, which was fine with me: it was going to take me ages (yet again) to figure out what to order.
One little tangent first: the family I babysat for in Paris lent me their Lonely Planet Berlin guidebook, and I had it out on the table. One of the guys next to us said, “Did you find Roamers in the Lonely Planet book?” in this condescending tone.
“No,” I said. “I found out about it online.” I was rather miffed by his comment, and it seemed like a perfect example of the sometimes pretentious clientele at these places. Why can’t someone find unusual cafés and also consult a mainstream travel book for maps and other sites, at the same time? Between the two of us with no smartphones, I don’t know what we would have done without the book’s maps.
Back to Roamers, now: the interior is teeming with plants and succulents, giving it this jungle yet Southwest feel. It was unlike any café I had ever been to, which might be what makes it so appealing to city dwellers who need some green exposure. Heck, even the food was covered in leaves!
To drink, I ordered a cappuccino and an avocado smoothie. The latter was so creamy, reminiscent of my mom’s own avocado smoothie creations. The tree branch on top was quite a riot.
After all of that liquid consumption, we could finally order. Since it was brunch, it was a hodge podge of sweet and savory, which I didn’t mind at all. Get ready for a lot of food, and I hope you are not hungry because otherwise this will be painful!
We started with a small (thankfully actually) slice of carrot cake, which did not disappoint:
From what I recall, my friend got the soup of the day, which I think was lentil. But as you can see, it comes loaded with hunks of bread and a luscious salad, and is served on a skillet.
As for me, I rationalized that because I did not know when I’d be in Berlin again, why not order two things? I settled on the French toast with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt, and the beetroot bread. The pear slices and berries really made the French toast, but I still wished there was a drizzle of maple syrup. Maybe that’s the New Englander in me. It was still amazing, as was the bread: a thick slice of wheat, smothered in goat cheese, beets (duh), walnuts, honey, greens, thyme, and yogurt. It was several flavors all at once, yet they worked so well together.
Yes, it was a lot of bread and yogurt for one meal, but considering how chewy it all was, it took me a while to eat it all anyways.
It was very much a “scene” here at Roamers, probably full of indie fashion designers. More people had piercings than not. So if you wear Uggs (do people still wear those?), maybe don’t wear them here if you don’t want people throwing you shade. Or just wear whatever you want because you’re a badass.
My friend and I must have spent about two hours there in total, and left with our bellies full. The ingredients were so fresh, like Daluma’s, so I didn’t feel like I was going to roll over in the street. Somehow, we had room for coffee and chocolate later in the afternoon…
Tues-Fri: 9:30-19h00 // Sat-Sun: 10:00-20:00
Pannierstrasse 64, 12043 Berlin – Neukölln
Also check out this lovely interview.