A neighbourhood café with a naturally slow vibe and fantastic home made lunches…

Image by Paul Sullivan

There’s something immediately agreeable about Sgaminegg, an unassuming sanctuary of Slow located a few minutes stroll from Schönhauser Allee’s bustling U & S-Bahn station.

Maybe it’s the way the light floats gently through the two large windows, bouncing off the large floor and splashing across the simple green tables. Perhaps it’s the liminal hum of alternative music, always set at just the right volume. Or it could be the heady aroma of freshly ground coffee and fantastic, home-made cooking.

Probably it’s all these things and more. Sgaminegg is one of those places whose simple charms can’t be easily explained nor reciprocated. It’s not particularly fancy, nor trying to be too hip.

It’s pleasantly down to earth yet special, an aspect no doubt helped by its location on Seelower Straße, which keeps it slightly apart from the high-street hordes that rage up and down Schönhauser. The relative quietude of the surroundings lend it a real neighbourhood atmosphere.

You’ll meet the owners Christine (Munich) and Hardy (Stuttgart), since they’re there daily, serving up their soups and casseroles, patiently talking their customers through the copious choices of Kusmi tea or explaining their considered collection of bio wines in the small shop out back. So much care has gone into the choices of these products that they know them intimately, and can happily tell you about that menu item or this wine producer…

Now it’s true that the lunch menu is limited; mostly a selection of fresh deli produce bolstered by specials scribbled on a small blackboard. But, as mentioned, the place is big on attention to detail, which means that those “specials” really are special. Whether its couscous, lentil soup, spinach casserole or the simple but delicious South German speciality Leberkäs with potato salad – they’ve all been made with love, by hand, in the Sgaminegg kitchen.

Which is why, if you walk in too late in the day (after, say, 3pm) and expect food, you may well encounter several content-looking customers leaning back with empty bowls and plates in front of them, a blackboard full of scratched out menu items and a shrugging, apologetic looking Hardy. You have been warned.

Though lunch is a very good reason to visit Sgaminegg, it’s not the only one. The breakfasts are also very decent, the coffee (Andraschko, made in Berlin) excellent and the Van Nahmen fruit juices are cosmically good – especially the rhubarb.

Shop in Sgaminegg
Image by Paul Sullivan

Then there’s the afore-mentioned shop. Small, yes, but well proportioned and certainly well stacked. This square space offers an array of bespoke goods including wines (look out for one called Sgaminegg: it’s the wine that gave the café its name) plus olive oils, crisps, chocolate from Zaabär and other mouth-watering items. Any time of day – or any day of the week (note that they’re closed on Sundays) – is good to saunter through Sgaminegg’s doors, settle into a window nook or table and enjoy your newspaper or book.

Perhaps also reflect on Sgaminegg’s former ‘incarnation’ as a Christian bookstore: does this explain why the ambiance is so restful and the food so divine?

Every Saturday you’ll find a small bio market outside Sgaminegg on Seelower Staße, selling fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and fish.

For more information, check the Sgaminegg website.

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