Friday 22 August | 2014
Summertime in Cologne. It’s not a city known for its beautiful landscapes, despite having the Rhein river in its backyard. Instead Cologne offers its plucky accent, impressive Cathedral, Halver Hahn delicacy, and vibrant streets that love to celebrate the annual Karnival, a festival which seems to take place mostly in February and March, and then on and off throughout the year anyway.
A colourful little spot in Cologne is Wo ist Tom? – an initiative of Lebenshilfe Köln, a local charity established in 2012 that supports people with mental disabilities. Wo ist Tom? provides meaningful work opportunities in the primary labour market, a very worthy reason to get out of bed on Saturday morning and head along to the Neustadt-Süd district.
A lot of thought and effort has been put into this lovely little venue, beginning with the fresh flowers on the tables. There are cute children’s tables stacked with books and colouring pens, while fur babies are also welcomed and provided with a water bowl. Customers fill out a form with their menu choices, to account for those staff who may have learning difficulties.
I have to admit to being more than a little bit excited to see mocha (€2.80) on the coffee list. Chocolate has a knack for disguising a host of coffee errors, and so our unfashionable habit began, in the back streets of unknown suburbs that would do better to just serve an instant brew.
However the latte macchiato (€2.50) here needs no such disguise. It has a bold yet smooth flavour, and is topped with a very dense foam made with bio milk. The mocha arrives hot (rather than those dreaded warm versions), and is a beautifully balanced mix of coffee and quality chocolate, a guess since it is not too sweet.
Drei Rühreier (€2.90) are of course three scrambled eggs, served with your choice of tomato and herbs, ham or bacon. Although prices are irrelevant in Lovebrunch reviews, it’s hard not to comment on the amazing value this is for a dish so beautifully presented. The cherry tomatoes and shredded basil are a modern update to simple scrambled eggs, which were well done.
Wo ist Tom? is talented at presentation, with the fruit salad and porridge (€5.90) combo being yet another example, served in asymmetric glass bowls. The fruit was very fresh, right down to the pineapple – no canned stuff here, however the porridge has been made with water rather than milk and lacks flavour. We should have ordered extra milk on the side, which would have cut the dryness.
The German style pancake with cranberry and banana has us sitting on the fence. The flavours work well and the maple-style syrup is great, however the heavy rubbery texture is in stark contrast to the fluffy croissant (€1.00) that we ordered on the side.
Fresh sweet banana loves tart cranberries, but you’ll need a very strong stomach to digest all of this!
Artwork at Wo ist Tom? is for sale, with many of the pieces already sold. When you’ve admired the gallery backdrop, divert your attention to the cake cabinet, a popular destination all morning with its choice of 12 divine looking creations including a strawberry and mascarpone torte, chocolate cream cake, orange and almond cake, cinnamon plum pudding cake, and several cheesecakes.
Those who speak German will understand the significance of this shot. The strawberry halves with caramel and nut drizzle is an innovative departure from traditional Konditorei cakes, a display of more gorgeous homemade flair from the crew at Wo ist Tom?
Homemade food with love, care, and flair.
Check out the menu here.