Brunches are a great invention for several reasons. They don’t take place so early that you are either too sleepy to enjoy them or not hungry yet. It's the perfect time slot between waking up and lunchtime, when you still have enough left of the day to savour the feeling that you just have time to enjoy yourself. You get your breakfast-time nutritional boost and by the time you finish, lunch is usually taken care of as well.
The majority of my brunching experiences have taken place in Hamburg, a lovely city on the river Elbe in the North of Germany. Hamburg boasts many cafes for any taste and budget. There is a special kind of coziness to some of them, plus the typical local mix of polite Hamburg-style discretion and engaging familiarity among its clientele and staff. Judging by the crowds that flock to the citys’ cafes on weekends, this is a successful way to handle things.
A recent weekend outing is a typical example of the popular brunch meeting in Hamburg. A friend and I met in the Schanze district, a trendy, somewhat alternative part of Hamburg that gives off a slightly quirky and artistic aura. The choice of places to eat here is well-respected among locals. A short walk from the subway station takes us to Omas Apotheke, a restaurant and café situated directly on a busy street corner. The name literally means Grandma’s Pharmacy, or Grandma’s First-Aid Kit, if you like.
On weekend mornings it fills up quickly with people craving Omas' wonderful brunches. We sat at the end of a long table with two other groups, but it didn’t bother us in the slightest, probably because Germans have a real knack for respecting privacy and personal space even in crowded conditions. The happy, chatting eaters and the communal enjoyment of the food contributed to the great setting. Our plates were heaped with warm bread buns, fresh croissants giving that little elegant French feeling, different slices of cheese and ham, fresh fruit, cream cheese patted into perfect round mounds, those tiny containers of jam, honey, and butter. You get as much coffee as you want. It’s so good, one ends up drinking three cups and then buzzing through the rest of the day like an Energizer bunny.