Kropkå had been opened for four days. I was at this cafe twice in a row and already feel like it is my neighborhood favorite. After pondering over doing so since high school, the owner Katrin quit her job to create her dream. She now bakes cakes day and night, and prepares her childhood open-faced sandwiches for Hamburg locals – whilst personally serving the forming group of regulars and phoning up her traditional baker and coffee roaster for personalized orders.
Kropkå is a place to come with friends, family or just a laptop. It serves breakfast platters, fresh yogurt-berry bowls, rustic but fancy “toasts”, a few cheese and meat appetizers, daily varying mains, homemade cakes, specialty coffee, and some wine & co. for the fancy guests from Eppendorf. Katrin, and her loyal helpers curated and tested every dish to perfection. The cheese comes from an organic cheese farm, Hafenkäserei Münster, the coffee beans are a special roast from Das Neue Schwarz in Dortmund and the various breads are delivered daily from a small and traditional wood-oven baker, Der Holzofenbäcker.
Some things you can take from the pictures – the cozy, somewhat minimalistic and dark interior. The dishes taste as perfected as they look: fluffy soft and crunchy farmers baked bread with hearty delicacy toppings. But I asked Katrin for a few more details on how she came up with the name Kropkå, where the menu inspiration comes from and what the interior concept is.
The Name Kropkå:
It truly just is a made up name for this cafe. Jumbled together out of nowhere from her and her friends. After settling on this combination of letters, they looked it up. Kropka actually is an existing Polish word, meaning the figurative “cherry on top”, so she added a literal “cherry on top” of the a – turning Kropk-a into Kropk-å.
The Menu Inspiration:
Katrin grew up in the Ruhrgebiet, the old industrial city hotspot in the midwest of Germany. Thither, it still is common to have sturdy breads with hearty toppings. Two years ago, Hamburg had almost none of these to offer, so Kropkå was starting to form in her mind.
Today, Kropkå makes up for it with bread toppings partially from her mom’s recipes (like the tuna, shallot, caper mingle or the braised mushroom with parsley and garlic creme), and partially inspired by what trendy clientele is expecting – avocado toast (especially good with the crispy bacon). All are a winner for me. Then there’s the Käsezupfbrot, which literally means “cheese-pluck-bread”. I thought it was a long-established comforting dish from the area, but no. She completely made it up! A little soft and crusty round loaf, cooked in cast-iron with cheese, garlic and fresh herbs, that gets dipped in sour cream. I could have been on an idyllic alpine hut while eating this. So the menu inspiration comes from her childhood and hometown, plucked up by pure creativity that hit todays standards of an excellent, and special cafe.
The Interior Concept:
Katrin and her friends observed how most special cafes in Hamburg are cute and girly – antique plates, étagère breakfasts with macarons and dainty detailing. Not the guys’ favorites when their girlfriends drag them out here (think Zuckermonarchie, Gretchens Villa, Herr Max). Kropkå is an open space for all types. It’s dim and rustic but beautifully cozy with an old bookshelf, lots of clean wood and a mix of little cacti and colourful flower bouquets. You can expect an interior designer to have fine tuned this concept here, but Katrin did it all by herself, just choosing what she liked most. Her friends say, to her surprise, that it looks just like her home.
To summarize: the dishes are traditionally German pepped up by the trending food culture. Mostly young friends and couples were here on the first days. However I saw lots of seniors eye it out on their afternoon stroll too. You are kindly served at your table, food is prepared freshly in the back and might take a while, but the atmosphere is wonderful to spend some time here. I can’t think of anything I would want to change in any aspect or dish of Kropkå . . . although, maybe yes: the currywurst whiff from next door when sitting outside 😉 Now some cafes I recommend to a specific type of person, and others to others… but Kropkå I could to everyone (except vegans might have to ask their way around). It is all-embrasive, not by being basic and conservative, but by making simple, hearty food in delicious ways.
Where? Eppendorfer Weg 174 (Eimsbüttel/Hoheluft)
When? Tu-Su: 9:30-19:00
How much? Flat White 3,10€, breads 7,50-8,90€, breakfasts 6,50-11,50€
Other Info: great veggie, ask for vegan options, free wifi