Kreuzberg. 08:00 Monday October 28th 2019.
Soft electric light illuminates the calm room. Thirty-five tables. Each table set simply: some for lone diners, some for couples, a few for family; cutlery, white crockery, triangle of napkin, heavy, cool folds of cotton. Some settings will remain empty and some will be filled. I cross the wooden floor and take a seat beneath the window at the far end. The rhomboid morning fits the window, lays across the linen. It bathes the floor, it washes the faces.
At the other end of the room, next to the kitchen, a larger, simply clothed table (perhaps several laid together) bears the breakfast buffet: bowls of yogurts, of nuts and dried fruit cuts, of creams, of creme fraise, of cereals and granolas. Marmalades and jams and chocolate spreads. Plates of floury and crusty rolls and slices of breads, of cheeses and hams, pickles and sausage. Each bowl, each plate is fronted by a neatly penned card quietly detailing the contents. All except one. A centrepiece bowl, larger than the rest and unlike the others in that it is covered with a tea towel, catches my eye as I wander around the table deciding on what to eat and where to begin. There is, as I draw near it, possibly a heat rising from the tea towel, the bowl generally. A second circuit and I can resist it no longer. Peering beneath the (yes!) warm tea towel laid over the bowl’s mouth I am delighted to discover within, a rockery of boiled eggs. This detail will remain with me for a long time yet, becoming in some way representative of Kreuzberg – though clearly, surely, there will be a similar bowl at any given morning on any given city breakfast table.