Here, it soon became apparent that we shared the same attitude towards food; a love of produce and a desire, wherever possible, to support independent, local suppliers and business. Intrigued by Noemi’s brunch and infectious charisma, we met for dinner, our mutual passion for food flowering into friendship and on my part a willingness to be involved in her monthly pop up.
Born and raised in Berlin, Noemi has lived in London for six years. With a background in hospitality management, upon moving to England she managed to secure herself a job as a hotel consultant in the city. Having worked in the corporate world for five years, in August 2014, under the realisation that her ‘dream job’ was no longer making her happy, Noemi boldly left in order to devote her time and energy to a career within food. Now, less than a year on, her concept of the Berlin Brunch is in full swing, a roaming pop up that aims to bring a little bit of the Berlin experience to London.
Thus far 2015 appears to be the year of the brunch, yet whilst Londoners have just latched onto the trend, Berliners have been pioneering it for years. A city renowned for it’s all night partying, a Berlin brunch is often a necessary port of post rave refuel. Eaten with friends and strangers alike, it is about bringing people together through food and music. This spirit is echoed in Noemi’s pop up. Sharing platters line the tables whilst chilled house music plays out, venue permitting, by that month’s resident DJ. Food may be at the core of the pop up, yet like any good dining experience, it is the overall ambience that makes it exciting. In choosing quirky locations such as the Brixton Salon, Battersea Doodle Bar, and the latest Lassco Ropewalk, Noemi succeeds in creating a great atmosphere wherby you can choose to relax, or carry on the party.
I helped Noemi at last Sunday’s event inside the Lassco Ropewalk, Bermondsey, an incredible antiques store that has recently transformed an area of the shop to be able to host pop up events such as Brunch. Inside, the place is an Aladdin’s treasure trove, with so many weird and wonderful things available to buy. I would definitely recommend a visit, especially if you go on the weekend when the Maltby Street Market is taking place. You can sample some great food and drink whilst getting lost amongst the antiques. Sunday’s rainy weather actually added to the atmosphere of the brunch, gloomy skies enhancing the warmth of the wood and the intimacy of July’s chosen venue.
Food at the Brunch is traditional German fare, think artisan bread, cheeses, ham and smoked mackerel pate, yet the emphasis is on British produce. Ham and fish are sourced nearby to Noemi’s south London home, meat from the incredible M.Moen & Sons butchers on Clapham pavement and the smoked mackeral from equally as great Moxons in Clapham South. Bread for this month’s brunch was sourced within an even closer distance, baked fresh on the morning of the pop up from Maltby Street’s own St John’s bakery that is just opposite the Ropewalk. As you would expected from one of Fergus Henderson’s renowned London bakeries, the sourdough was phenomenal.Noemi takes a lot of care in choosing her suppliers and I particularly like that she makes her guests aware of where the food that they are eating has come from. Each menu is complimented with a piece of paper, aptly named the ‘food stories’ that gives a brief summary about the ethos of each supplier. Alongside this great produce are Noemi’s home-made treats such as soft boiled eggs with remoulade as well as amaranth granola with Lake District vanilla quark. I have to say I was dubious about the quark but was left pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I am now playing around with ideas about how to use it in baking as a substitute for yoghurt or buttermilk. For dessert there are also fresh waffles, made out of a batter that is predominantly buckwheat. It is these home-made tweaks that makes Noemi’s food relevant and interesting. I had great fun playing around with toppings for waffles, with combinations of nutella, syrup, fresh fruit and homamde compote. All made on the incredibly cool swinging waffle maker.
Three iconic Berlin drinks are on offer at the brunch, Club Mate a caffeinated yerba mate extract drink, Fritz-Cola and Berliner Weisse, a white beer that is served through a straw and flavoured with raspberry syrup. Additionally on Sunday guests could order a gin and tonic made from a gin distilled in Bermondsey itself. The selection of drinks, Berlin classics alongside neighbourhood, London based brands could be seen as a representation of Noemi’s ability to retain her Berlin identity whilst embracing her current London home.
Noemi’s pop up is a triumph to the care and attention that she puts into every detail from the personalised name tags, to the choice of location and produce. Brunch is more than just a pop up it is a platform for a food community and I am very happy to be a part of it.
Two events coming up in August:
The first is on Sunday the 16th August at new East London rooftop bar Proof. Tickets are available from today!
The second on Sunday the 23rd of August is in Peckham. More details to be confirmed soon.