Allan’s Breakfast Club & Wine Bar doesn’t draw the crowd you’d expect.
“On Sundays, we have the families and kids for breakfast, the younger adults for brunch, and the kids who come straight from Berghain in the afternoon for Bloody Marys.”
Allan, the proprietor and chief of Allan’s Breakfast Club & Wine Bar, tells me as the service winds down. French, but with an accent coloured by twenty years of living on the Gold Coast of Australia, he speaks English with a wonderful lilt as he explains the origins of his restaurant.
After a diverse career as an antique restorer, a sommelier and several years spent working at a number of different restaurants and popups, Allan decided to leave behind the sun, the waves and the endless coasts for the bougier districts of Berlin. To absolutely no one’s surprise, his restaurant, a brunchery-cum-wine-bar, was an instant hit in Kollwitzkiez.
The concept focuses on classic brunches made well during the day – eggs benedict, croque monsieur, potato waffles, french toast – paired with some of the best wines in France once the sun sets. “I wanted to educate Germans about what good wine is.” Allan says, only half joking. The wine list reflects serious knowledge and appreciation of the art of winemaking, and an inordinate number of Provence Rosés are a clear nod to Allan’s taste and proclivities.
Allan’s Breakfast Club is small and almost always full – It’s prudent to reserve your seats in advance.
The crowd it attracts is wonderfully varied, and a mould-breaker for those who think that Sundays in Prenzlauer Berg belong only to young families and fleets of prams. Like the land that inspired it, the interior is warm and inviting. Pictures of surfers gaze down on patrons and the smell of fresh coffee is always in the air.
We visited on a Sunday on the tail-end of the lunch service. Allan not only runs the place, works behind the counter and orchestrates the floor staff, but he greets and seats us too. A sign outside tells me that the Bloody Marys served here may or may not be the best in Berlin and so I order one to find out. While I haven’t hunted down the best of these tomato-based cocktails in every kiez – that’s an undertaking for another article – I can verify that ABC’s Bloody Mary is bloody delicious.
Eggs Benedict is Life at Allan’s Breakfast Club.
While everything on the menu sounds incredible, I ask Allan for their most popular item. “Always the Benny.” he tells me, and 10 minutes later I’m looking at an Instagrammer’s wet dream. Two perfectly poached eggs sitting atop mounds of smoked salmon and sourdough bread, smothered in hollandaise sauce. There’s no footage of the moment the eggs were cut, but it was a money shot Ron Jeremy would have been proud of. A classic dish with classic flavours, executed perfectly. I have no critique of the meal other than it was gone too quickly, but otherwise it was deeply satisfying on every level, from taste to presentation.
To keep things interesting, we also try the Boost Up Smoothie Bowl. It’s a great option for the health-conscious, and is as beautiful as it is tasty. Acai, banana, chia seeds, seasonal fruits and some coconut flakes make for a refreshing and satisfying lighter breakfast.
The menu offers a lot of food in this vein, such as savory porridge and freshly-baked banana bread, and it’s easy to see the appeal of it. The food makes you feel good, and coupled with just being present in this hive of early afternoon activity, it’s enough to brighten anyone’s day.
The evening sees coffee mugs being swapped for wine glasses, with charcuterie platters and cheese on offer to buffer the oncoming liver damage.
Bright lights become dim, and an intimate and somehow more relaxed mood permeates. It’s the perfect place to take a date or simply sample several of the wines on offer, tasting France while dreaming of Australia. In the summer (weather dependent), there are also regular events held both in the restaurant and on the street terrace, but you’ll have to follow ABC on Facebook to keep up-to-date with the latest happenings.
Allan is as affable as he in relaxed, and in this way the venue truly lives up to its namesake. If you’re after good brunch, better vibes and maybe the best wine (and Bloody Marys), then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to laze away a Sunday.
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Allans Breakfast Club & Wine Bar