a) Proximity. It's at the bottom of Warschauer Str, a mere two minute walk from our apartment.
b) The fairy tale-esque white rocking bench sat outside is always occupied by very satisfied looking customers.
c) The promise of over 80 different toppings for their Belgian waffles. Yeah, 80. We were sceptical too, so we decided to eschew our customary healthy lunch (ahem) and put Maerchen to the test. And by God, I'm glad we did.
That 80 topping promise was no exaggeration. We stood in front of the counter, jaws on the floor, marvelling at the spread of sweets, glazed fruits, sauces, cream, jellies, sprinkles...I could go on, but I'm sure you get my drift. It took us a good five minutes to decide what combination of goodies to load onto our freshly made waffles, and that was with the help of the very patient owner. I chose chocolate pudding, strawberries and sprinkles, whilst Oli plumped for the chocolate Oreo spectacular. It is no exaggeration to say that it was the most decadent lunch I have ever eaten. It's a sweet tooth's wet dream, and the expert balance of light, fluffy waffle combined with just the right amount of topping meant that eaters remorse was non-existent. Even with a gloriously creamy cappuccino, our meal was satisfying, not sickly.
The food is wonderful, but it's the little quirks that make Maerchen unforgettable. Maerchen means fairy tale in German, and the genius owners have taken that theme and embedded it into the very core of the cafe. The influence is everywhere, from the original Brothers Grimm fairytale book perched on the window ledge and the crown and frog prince motifs to the gilt-framed screen that projects 1950's German fairy tale films and the tiny edible heart confetti pieces which are dusted over absolutely everything.
Best of all, the owner (who is clearly very committed to maintaining Maerchen's theme) has an astonishingly large selection of costumes, and he ain't shy about utilising them. When he served the neighbouring table whilst decked out in full wicked witch regalia I LOL'd so much I choked on a strawberry chunk. You can see him up there in his Big Bad Wolf mask - my personal favourite. Excellent.
At 13,30 for coffee, waffles and water, Maerchenwaffel isn't the cheapest (or healthiest) place to fill your belly on Warschauer Str, but the incredible food, welcoming atmosphere and sheer hilarity of watching a straight faced man serving bewildered customers whilst wearing a prosthetic witches nose never gets old. Gooooo toooo Maerchenwaffel. You won't regret it.
Maerchenwaffel, Warschauer Str 61, Freidrichshain, 10243 Berlin
Betti Baudelaire xxx