One Sunday afternoon, I was in Mitte looking for a place to drink a good coffee while waiting for a delayed appointment and discovered Confiserie orientale. Unfortunately, it was shortly before the closing time and couldn't have my treat. Left the place jealous of the guy who was waiting for his carefully packed boxes of lokoum (Turkish delight) and promised to come back as soon as possible.
Three days after, I'd found an opportunity to return and offered myself, not only a delicious yet very strong cardamom coffee, but also a pear tart with almonds and pistachio on the top - very fruity, with a fine dough that you hardly notice - and a tahini little cookie - that tastes like halva and may go well with a cup of tea. Except the lokoum that is brought directly from Turkey, all the other delicious treats are freshly prepared on the spot.
Confiserie Orientale, or Cemilzade in Turkish, was opened in Mitte in 2005, as the one and only Europe-wide representative of the century old confiserie from Istanbul, where is currently running. Its creator was the multi-talented Udi Cemil Bey, singer and poet and talented cake lover and maker, which opened its sweet shop first in Cairo, at the end of the 19th century. After his death, the sons moved the business in Istanbul, where is currently run by representatives of the same family.
The decorations, designed by the Berlin-based Claudia Medrow, are integrating the old history - through old pictures hanging on the walls - into the eclectic pace of the city, especially the dynamic and non-conformist ambiance from Mitte.
At the counter, a lot of sweet temptations, and while having a look at the fresh cakes, I wonder how many centuries I will need to prepare such perfect pieces of confect. While chatting at the counter, I find out why I enjoyed the tarte and the cookie without feeling overloaded by sugar: all the ingredients are natural.
The prices are acceptable, and the service is more than friendly.
Besides the coffee and the equally traditional tea, the customer can also discover the less known Turkish wine, made in Cappadocia, with colourful labels inviting you to jump in the first plane to see the famous balloons.
The space is relatively small - around 10 places -, with outside places during the summer time, but quiet enough to host a variety of guest: from students on a reading break, to mothers with small children and some curious bloggers.
As long as I will continue living here, I know that in the center of Berlin, there is always a corner of the European Istanbul that will always call me back.