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Rushing to in't Veld, knowing we should get lunch soon so David could head off for work, unsure of what Kakao offered in the way of savoury options, we passed Duckwitz, and all our problems evaporated. The white script on the windows promised organic local Mediterranean food, pushing (as David put it) all my buttons, and the bright interior managed to look inviting even on a gray windy day in Helmholzplatz.

We examined the chalkboard menu - venison terrine, potato and goat's cheese gratin, baguettes in the usual variations - before settling on the fennel quiche with a small salad and the baguette filled with chèvre, pear, and hazelnuts. (Baguettes are 3.40, the other dishes around 4.80.) I'm always a sucker for the well-packaged beverage and I homed in immediately on this French lemon soda (who can resist a label that trumpets "Pure sugar"?).

Their slogan is "Discover how delicious it is when Brandenburg meets the South of France." To be honest, I don't know enough about French cooking to know where the items - Gallic to my eyes - diverted to embrance the Brandenburgian, but after trying my tasty if unexceptional quiche I decided the food, though perfectly fine, wasn't really the thing to come for.

Instead I admired the furnishings: secondhand garden chairs and tray tables unified by gleaming coats of white eggshell paint, tiled floor in a cheery blue and white pattern, rough concrete walls painted pale lilac and lime. The shelves were laden with the usual French treats and some German ones (I was most tempted by a neat aluminum jar of dried blossoms to sprinkle on salads or heat in oil). And I felt very content, ensconced in my white deck chair, leafing through the magazines and watching the wind whip the trees outside. For a place to laze, it's perfect, and the range of quirky French drinks is amply complemented by local specialities such as elderberry, elderflower or Jerusalem artichoke sodas.

Duckwitz opened in September and if today was any indication is doing a roaring trade; its wall of south-facing windows giving onto Helmholtzplatz guarantee it will be a hit come spring. We made a mental note of the generous long table against the western wall, perfect to reserve for a celebration with friends, and plan to try the cakes next time.

 Duckwitz, Lettestr. 3 (map)
Tel. 41 19 88 82
Open Mo noon to 10 pm, Tu - Sat 9 am to 10 pm, Sun 9 am to 8 pm



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