[Ah-sigh-EE ] in Hamburg

{Guide: skip to 🍧 for my opinion on the acai bowls, or to ❄ for info about the temperature}

San Francisco, Summer 2015: “The coolest breakfast I ever had” My very first açai bowl was from BOWL D’AÇAI, a food truck on Mint Plaza. The area around it is quite grubby,but then you land here: full of business men splurging on their quarts of açai before work… Made right in the truck.  All I can say is that these bowls were soo amazing, the best ever, creamy and just awesome! And right across the street is Blue Bottle Coffee if you need even more energy… or just a restroom 😉   My second try was from BASIK CAFE.  An actual café this time with seating spots. Again, I don’t remember much other than that this slush kept me just as filled and speechless as the first…….

………and they kept my expectations very high.

Back in HH I was desperate to find this wonder.  At first: nothing.  After three months of waiting I saw a sign on the street by a new café (Paledo).  Written on it: acai bowls.  What!?  Did I see that right?  I stopped mid-bike to turn around and check it out, and yes, that’s exactly what it said.  Since then this business has constantly been growing.

At the start of my survey there were exactly three spots that served açai bowls (which all had opened within the last month), now there are nine!  Just last week my favorite vegan spot, Happen Pappen, added açai to their breakfast menu.  So I better finish this survey before it turns impossible…

I can’t call myself an açai-pro (like my cousin whose second home is Brazil) but will try my best to review the variety of this breakfast… snack or lunch (whatever it is for you) – in the order by which they started serving this fruit bowl.

For a quick evaluation, this is my opinion
⇒ the slushy, cold one – best for a hot day: MAD about juice
⇒ beautiful spot, lovely café and delicious other dishes: Nord Coast
⇒ feels like you are on Bali: Ombak Bagus Bowls

However, I’ve come to realize that how ever much I like acai-bowls, Hamburg isn’t the place for them. Although some aren’t bad at all, most are pricey and not too spectacular. So if you’re new to alai-bowls or aren’t craving one, I would suggest you save the experience for San Francisco, or better Brazil or Hawaii, maybe Bali and devour some amazing ice cream, cinnamon rolls or waffles as a sweet snack.

 

 


Ombak Bagus Bowls

açai bowl, green smoothie bowl and hot matcha tea

ACAI TASTE: +
CONSISTENCY: +
TOPPINGS: +
PRICE VS. QUALITY: ++ (6,50€)
AMOUNT: medium, not that large

They were the açai pioneers of Hamburg – started as a delivery service, then residing in Eppendorf as a Pop Up, now having their own location downtown.  It turned out to be one of my favorite açai bowls of Hamburg!  We were in here in the midst of winter and once we dug into that açai bowl (and green smoothie bowl) we felt teleported onto Bali. Seriously, it just has that vibe. The bowls are super light coconut shells, topped with homemade and not to sweet granola with extra roasted coconut strips and tropical fruit.  The two owners are surfers themselves, who spent lots of time on the waves of Bali.  For lunch they make the famous Poké Bowls: that’s like a rice veggie buddha bowl topped with sashimi, tempeh or tofu.

PALEDO:

DSCF8812

ACAI TASTE: 0
CONSISTENCY: +
TOPPINGS: +
PRICE VS. QUALITY: + (7,50€)
AMOUNT: not too small, filling

The first açai that I heard of in Hamburg was from PALEDO.  A paleo café in Eppendorf, which already opened a second branch on hip Mühlenkamp, less than a year after their first opening on Lehmweg.  I went here with the açai-pro, aka my cousin.  🍧 She said it didn’t show any similarity to those of Brazil (which I now realise none in HH do, except maybe MAD about juice) but she still liked it as much as I did.  Nice portion, not overpriced, spoonable consistency and plentiful toppings! They’re the café with the biggest variety of a-bowls, well that’s three, but they also offer overnight oats, chia pudding, smoothie bowls, buddha bowls or sweet-potato avocado toast.  And it’s definitely a heaven for the gluten-intolerant.

 

OH MY JUICE:

DSCF6679

ACAI TASTE: 0
CONSISTENCY: –
TOPPINGS: 0
PRICE VS. QUALITY: –
AMOUNT: very little

This was the first açai bowl that I actually tasted in Hamburg; and my first breakfast of my raw food week.  This instagram worthy, stylish little juice studio is just of the main street in St. Georg.  It’s definitely unique for a healthy, fresh “grab and go” breakfast on your way to work – only a 10min walk from the main train station (Hbf).  They serve a variety of juices, and small pre-made breakfast bowls or paninis. 🍧 Unfortunately my açai breakfast was very small and much too liquid with just a few toppings that sunk into the liquid.  However OMJ didn’t open for their açai proficiency.  They specialize on home-made, delicious cold-pressed juices made with local, sustainable ingredients.  So just be sure to come here with the right desire 😉

 

moki’s goodies:

ACAI TASTE: 0
CONSISTENCY: 0
TOPPINGS: +
PRICE VS. QUALITY: 0 (7,90€)
AMOUNT: medium, not that large

A casual café between Eimsbüttel and Eppendorf…  They started out quite small with daily avocado smoothies that I used to always get after my races, baked goodies and basic brunches… which have now expanded to vegan breakfast platters, avocado toast and açai-bowls!  This one I had as a pre-run snack which worked perfect (and I’m picky when it comes to eating before running)! 🍧 I personally liked the tangy flavor (more fruity-ish than berry-ish) and the change of toppings: nutty granola, puffed amaranth, pomegranate, dried flowers… A bit too liquid in my opinion, but very refreshing and appetizing.

 

Mad About Juice:

here you can see the thickness

ACAI TASTE: ++
CONSISTENCY: ++
TOPPINGS: + (nice granola)
PRICE VS. QUALITY: ++ (6,50€ Mühlenkamp, 6,90€ Downtown)
AMOUNT: not too small, filling

Mühlenkamp is a collection of hip places; amidst them was the only raw food café of Hamburg (Gracias Madre, that unfortunately now moved to Isla Hotbox on Mexico).  This juice bar has a stylish and dim upscale surf feel to it; a peaceful sous-terrain with creative interior.  It attracts all those posh sunglass ladies from the Alster, or the suited men in downtown.  But they serve açai bowls, so why not? 🍧 They’re literally mind-blowing, a bit too cold for my head at first 😇 (compare to Lebeleicht ❄️ below) but with that comes the creamy smooth and thick texture that no-one else in Hamburg can make.  And I loved the super crunchy cinamonn-y granola, although that always varies.

 

Nord Coast: 

DSCF9307

ACAI TASTE: ++
CONSISTENCY: +
TOPPINGS: ++
PRICE VS. QUALITY: + (7,50€)
AMOUNT: medium, not that large

A noticeable advantage: it’s owned by a Brazilian.  We chatted with her and it turns out that they import their frozen açai pulp straight from Brazil (so nothing like those too liquid smoothie bowls with a tad of acai powder)!  Their speciality is coffee for sure, and café-ish meals (like amazing red beet-lox toasts, avocado with poached eggs, banana bread and gluten free waffles…)  🍧 but the açai bowls hit the spot as well (backed up by 2nd açai-pro, aka my cousins mom).  It was creamy-fruity, had the best texture-temperature combo yet, with classical toppings and pretty toppings.  Next I recommend the mango-matcha-spinach bowl.  It’s sorta half savoury, half sweet and quite an interesting unique bowl, especially for Hamburg.  But if you wanna play it safe, the waffles are truly splendid and the red beet lox toast doesn’t lack in toppings.

 

Fetch closed down, not a big loss to be honest.

Fetch:

DSCF1526

ACAI TASTE: –
CONSISTENCY: 0
TOPPINGS: 0
PRICE VS. QUALITY: – (6,90€)
AMOUNT: very little

Well I’ve been wanting to come here for a while already… but was quite disappointed from my experience.  This acai bowl was worth the try, because now I know even better what they actually should be like.  And even if it were half as expensive I wouldn’t come here again.  Only now I realized how important small, individual cafés are to Hamburg.  The staff should feel like it belongs to the place, cares and knows what their menu and food.  Fetch sounds as perfect as it could get: avocado on sourdough, ricotta pancakes, banana bread with cream cheese and berries, vegan quinoa salad… but the two things I had weren’t very satisfying: 🍧 the immensely overpriced tiny acai bowl with a very uneven texture and temperature, and topped banana bread with a sweet fluffy cream cheese, but still too dry.  The interior tries to imitate a fancy city-version of a chilled post-surf hang out and the posh people around Mühlenkamp only pay these prices for looks and sounds, not tastes…

 

Happen Pappen (only in the summer):

DSCF9898

ACAI TASTE: –
CONSISTENCY: 0
TOPPINGS: +
PRICE VS. QUALITY: – (9,50€)
AMOUNT: not too small, filling

I love Happen Pappen over everything and not only cause they’re the most chillax vegan that’s been around the longest… but everything is literally finger-licking (if you forget to bring along your spatula to clean the dishes more politely).  So I’m allowed to be critical – 🍧 I think that the açai bowls weren’t the best; not terrible, but it tasted more like a wild berry (a bit too liquid) smoothie bowl.  However the portion was large and filling enough for a breakfast.  But for any brunch when it’s not bursting hot I’ll probably always opt for the triple decker avocado-tempeh sandwiches… (read more here)

 

Lebeleicht Hamburg:

DSCF0295
ACAI TASTE: ++
CONSISTENCY: 0
TOPPINGS: +
PRICE VS. QUALITY: + (7,59€) (all organic)
AMOUNT: somewhat small “great refreshing delicacy”

This is the first cold-pressed juice bar of Hamburg.  Right in the center of Eppendorf, super clean design, bar stools along the glas walls, an open area in the middle and some stylish products  presented on side shelves. But more importantly, all their smoothies, juices, raw lunch plates, and breakfast bowls are 100% organic!  I’ve finally managed to come and try their newest breakfast addition, of which there are also three different kinds!  🍧 The açai was real tastable, I want to describe it as delicate and fine somehow – every spoon I savoured from beginning to end. The owner, lady chef of Lebeleicht was super nice and honestly curious of our opinion: When I said how I loved the taste and toppings (especially the Rawnola) but had hoped for a bit thicker consistency she had a clear opinion.  In the end it depends on what you prefer: thicker or thinner texture… but for her it was important to get the temperature just right ❄️ so it does not freeze off your head and tastebuds.  In that case it can only be so thick, before turning into a slushy sorbet.

Was wir wirklich lieben:

ACAI TASTE: –
CONSISTENCY: +
TOPPINGS: –
PRICE VS. QUALITY: – (6,90€, but tiny)
AMOUNT: quite small 

Was wir wirklich lieben means “what we really love”.  This trendy and casual is in the midst of posh Eppendorf.  Acai bowls, salad bar, sandwiches to go, avocado toast…  The interior is dim and comfortable and there’s nice outside seating too. 🍧 My breakfast date here was explicitly planned to sample the açai bowl.  The bowl wasn’t surprising in any way – similar to most others we find here.  In this case it was more of a small berry smoothie bowl than an acai bowl.  Fine to spoon, tasty, but nothing striking. I would wish for a bigger portion and a more special topping, that “normal people” might not have at home – such as hemp hearts or sprouted buckwheat, instead of flaxseeds.

Locations and hours:

→ Ombak Bagus: Uzwei – Große Bleichen 23-27 (downtown), Mo-Sa: 10-17

→ Paledo: Lehmweg 31a (Eppendorf/Hoheluft) Tu-Sa: 9-18, Sa: 10-17 ; also Mühlenkamp 1 (Uhlenhorst/Barmbek-Süd) Tu-Fr: 8-18, Sa-Su: 10-17

→ OH MY JUICE:  Schmilinksyallee 30 (St.Georg/HBF) Mo-Fr: 8-17

→ moki’s goodies: Eppendorfer Weg 171 (Eimsbüttel/Hoheluft) Tu-Fr: 9-16, Sa-Su: 10-18 (a-bowls only till 12 on weekdays and 14 on weekends)

→ Mad About Juice: Mühlenkamp 12 (Uhlenhorst/Barmbek-Süd) Mo-Fr: 8-19, Sa-Su: 9-18 (a-bowls all day!), Dammtorstraße 29-32 (Downtown by Gänsemarkt) Mo-Fr: 8-20, Sa: 10-20

→ Nordcoast Coffee Roastery: Deichstraße 9, (Hafencity/Neustadt) Mo-Fr: 9-18, Sa-Su: 10-18 (a-bowls only till 12 on weekdays and 14 on weekends)

→ Happen Pappen: Feldstraße 36, (St. Pauli) Mo-Fr: 10-18 (a-bowls only on weekends till 14)

→ Lebeleicht Hamburg: Eppendorfer Landstraße 60 (Eppendorf) Mo-Fr: 9-18, Sa: 10-18 (a-bowls all day!)

→ Was wir Wirklich Lieben: Hegestraße 28 (Eppendorf), Mo-Fr: 9-18, Sa: 10-18 (a-bowls only till 12 on weekdays, all day on the weekend!)

 

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2 Comments

  1. […] are not as slushy as ice cream, but a healthier breakfast version, one of my two favorites in HH. (more here) There’s also a more savory matcha-mango bowl for a […]

  2. […] the pioneers of açai bowls in Hamburg.  I had tried every other açai bowl in town last year (check out my guide) except Ombak’s cause I’m not the type to order food home.  As soon as it popped up […]

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