Ho America!

Everything in Nalu diner screams America: Two big spaces with white walls, covered in pictures and posters of american icons, such as Steely Dan; Booths with red leather-like upholstery; Tables with pictures of all the U.S. Presidents; And in the background, american ‘70 and ‘80 music, such as Steely Dan. A soundtrack that gets you dreaming about the big road-trip you’re gonna take, scorching the wide open highways of America in a convertible.

Our breakfast also screamed America. No brunch on the menu per se, but a few breakfast deals that would qualify. Two of us went for the veggie and the third one took the direct approach – straight for the pancakes. The veggie breakfast had a choice of eggs, 2 pancakes and hash browns. After all, it’s not like America to worry hungry stomaches with anything green or fresh. The eggs were standard, the pancakes fatty and round and the hash browns slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The black coffee, re-filled by the waiter just like you’d expect, was surprisingly good compared to its American counterpart. More than anything, there was much of everything.

Just do yourselves a favor and don’t use the junk wannabe-maple sauce on the table. Ask the waiter for REAL maple sauce. They have it, but charge extra for it.

The plate test: neither was empty. Torn pancakes and egg leftovers

Music: wonderful (Steely Dan was joined by Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel and the Boss)

Crowd: young and unified. The presence of only one child was noted

Price: reasonable. Mostly around 8-9 Euro

Breakfasts: array of combos which include eggs, pancakes, hash browns and bacon

The bottom line: Okish +, for Americana lovers

NALU DINER

http://nalu-diner.com

Dunckerstraße 80a, Berlin

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We were a bit excited going to Al Hamra. From the intelligence we had – a recommendation from a good friend and some googling – we knew it’s an Arabic/Middle-Eastern restaurant, or what the Berliners sometimes refer to by mistake as “Oriental”. Doesn’t matter how you call it, for us it’s home. Since temperatures were still below freezing, the city was covered in snow, and our legs felt like popsicles, we were relieved to arrive at Al Hamra, and be cuddled in warmth and scents from a warmer life.

We pealed off and settled at our reserved table (recommended). Not an easy task, since the place was packed, and even if the two-leveled space were empty, the furniture is packed. The tables are so close you can actually fell human warmth. Like the U-Bahn in rush-hour, but in a good way.

On Sundays there’s a brunch buffet: a colorful selection of delicacies is weighing down two large tables, wrapped in a long queue. During the full length of our stay, about 3 hours (yes, it was that good), there were constantly people standing in line. “Memories from the good old DDR times”, we heard someone joking. We don’t have any memories from the Stasi era, so we didn’t let the long line spoil our mood. Not even the shortage of plates, forks, spoons, and where the hell is the waitress around here? Granted, it took some time to get everything together, but once we managed to fill our plates and try the goods – we had no more complaints.

In addition to the regular Berliner brunch goods, that is cheese, ham and sausages, the Al Hamra buffet had some original (and yummy!) surprises up it’s table cloth: Hummus, eggplant salad, boiled red beats, pickles, mushroom salad, pita bread, other baked carbs and some sweets. One of us really liked the Hummus, the other the eggplant salad, and the third noted the the evening menu has Couscous so we have to come back. We didn’t have too much room left for desert, but that’s ok, since they are definitely not the forte of Al Hamra.

Price: 7.5. All you can eat. One of the cheapest deals in town

Space: crowded. You should reserve in advance and even then – it’ll be packed

Service: problematic ratio between guests and service personal. They were nice and wanted to be helpful, but didn’t really manage to juggle everything

Breakfast: not just the brunch, but also breakfasts by nationalities

Lighting: quite dark but contributes to the cosy atmosphere

Music: no

Pets: Yes, but only if they’re up to knee-high and well behaved

Kids: yes. Well, it’s Prenzlauer Berg after all

Summery: we’ll be back!

Al hamra

http://www.alhamra.de/

Raumerstr 16, Berlin

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