Al-Pascha: Breakfast for Champions

Arabic food is more than just Falafel and Shawarma. It's also Hummus, in many more variations than you can imagine. One of the Levantine favorites is Fatteh, which you can find plentiful on Sonnenallee. For example at Al-Pascha.

by Sara · 26.08.2013 · Crew Life, Food, Places · 9 comments

I could under­stand if Al-Paschas break­fast menu wasn’t for every­one. It’s hearty and heavy, but delight­ful and so tasty. So if you’re ever up for a per­fect Msa­baha or Fat­teh like you’d get it in Beirut or Dam­as­cus, you should def­in­itely stop by someday. After all, the culin­ary exper­i­ence makes for a great entrance into new cultures.

Msa­baha, for instance, is the long-lost sis­ter of the global staple dish Hom­mus. What can I say? You’ve been miss­ing out. Nobody actu­ally knows who inven­ted Hom­mus and nations have been arguing about it for quite a while, so don’t even try to ask who came up with the divine Msa­baha. It’s guar­an­teed to be dif­fer­ent every time you eat it. There’s no stand­ard recipe. But what is Msa­baha? Well, it’s made from basic­ally the same ingredi­ents as Hom­mus — chick­peas, lemon, gar­lic, tahini. But the chick­peas are not mashed and the tex­ture of the dish is more like a rough guacamole with extra-olive oil than a creamy yogurt. It’s gentle and soft and you can eat it with the flat white Arabic bread or with a spoon or even with your hands. The messier it gets, the more authen­tic it is (I’m deriv­ing this inform­a­tion from my own exper­i­ence from my Syr­ian family).

My second favor­ite is the Man­a­kish with Za’atar. It’s the clas­sic snack of my child­hood memor­ies: a sort of pizza with spe­cial herbs, mostly Oregano and Thyme.

Fresh onions, olives and pickled radishes

For the people who visit Al-Pascha reg­u­larly, it’s more than just the qual­ity of the food. Here, the com­munity meets up as if the little hole in the wall was an exten­ded liv­ing room. Aside from the fact that the dishes are won­der­ful (to me they are espe­cially so as this is the stuff my mother used to cook us in the morn­ings of spe­cial occa­sions), the people are, too: where Ger­mans tend to be a bit reserved, down­right dis­tanced, Arabs are warm and wel­com­ing, and they’ll have you join the fam­ily within seconds.

Man­a­kish with Za’atar — Arabic style pizza with tra­di­tional herb mix (Oregano, Thyme, Basil)

Deli­cious sides: pickled stuff and olives

Al-Pascha is just one of many options in Neuk­ölln and I bet there are plenty oth­ers all around Ber­lin. There might be noth­ing fancy or spe­cial about the little cook­house and yet, within our group of friends, we just love to hang out there and enjoy it. The own­ers of the premises never let us get away without an extra pizza on the house and they’re always charm­ing with their little jokes and the famili­ar­ity. The spot is super pop­u­lar with the mem­bers of the Lebanese com­munity and it is always filled to the brim with young Arab kids, fam­il­ies and guys who crave their favor­ite meals from “back home”, so if you end up there at rush hour, there’s a fat chance there’s noth­ing left to eat anymore.

So here’s some straight advice for you: if you ever pass by a tra­di­tional break­fast place like Al-Pascha, don’t miss out on your chance and jump right into the Foul, the Hom­mus, the Fat­teh and the very spe­cial fla­vors of Arabic Manakeesh.

Update: Al-Pascha changed their man­age­ment some time ago, and nowadays I prefer the Fat­teh at Akroum. Al-Pascha is still very good though. More and more Fat­teh shops are open­ing up on Sonnen­allee and in fringes of Kreuzkölln, so keep your eyes open for these spe­cial Levantine dishes.

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  1. um, where is it?

  2. You actu­ally took this cheesy photo of me…

  3. Sounds good, could you tell us the address please!

  4. Co-sign on everything. I love this place. AKKO on Pank­strasse, Wed­ding is almost as good as Pasha!

  5. I came to have lunch and besides the staff not being patient with me as I don’t under­stand Ger­man explain­ing their menu , lunch was awe­some!!! I had fatte and loved it!!! Thanks for your art­icle as it brought me here!

    Alesia Rodriguez

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  2. […] Al-Pascha. Although I’ve found bet­ter Fat­teh in Ber­lin (prob­ably Akroum Snack), the Foul and the Msab­bah stay per­fectly on point. Also: best treat­ment in the city. Gotta count for some­thing. Sonnen­allee 77, 12045 Berlin […]

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