Martin's Place – Coffee with good cheer
Saturday, 1p.m. Frau Martin opens the door of the tiny confectionary Martin’s Place on Panierstraße, marking the beginning of the battle over her husband's sweet creations. It’s like Grand Central Station. Regulars and marvelling newcomers alike push their way to the much too small display case that can hardly accommodate the selection of cakes and tarts. Progress is slow as no one can make up their mind. The relinquishment of everything else inevitably bound to a final decision is enough to cast doubt. The internal battle is visible in the customers’ eyes: maybe one more piece? but only one more?
Joseph Martin has nearly forty different cakes and tarts in his repertoire, from which only a small selection is offered at any one time, dependent on season and day of the week. Today, for example, an autumn chestnut and a pumpkin cake, devilishly good truffle tart with three different kinds of chocolate, a layered poppy cake, and a cream gateau with handmade milk marmalade and cream puffs on top count themselves present. There’s also a lightly sweetened fig tart, banana cake, a grandiose New York cheesecake, and “kokoloko”, a succulent coconut cake with alcohol. The “torta de miel” is incredible as well and if you’re wondering how I know all of this, it’s because we tried all of them- honestly.
Born in Tel Aviv, Joseph Martin studied hotel management in his hometown and went to Hilton, where he was introduced to the patisserie and thereafter visited innumerable confectionary courses all over the world. He left Hilton, studied at Lenôtre in Paris, and having passed his tests, returned to Tel Aviv, where he worked as chief confectioner in a hotel for ten years- baking there happened around the clock, or so he tells us.
Ten years ago the couple decided to go to Berlin- three years later they made their dream of having their own confectionary a reality with Martin’s Place. While he works in the bakery, she takes care of purchasing ingredients and constantly researches the best sources for fresh eggs, butter, cream, honey, and also various organic nuts. Aside from creativity, these make all the difference in the end, she says.
A difference whose reputation has spread quickly and now draws customers from Grunewald and Charlottenburg to the distant Neukölln. Even a man from Hamburg drops by during each of his visits to Berlin to enjoy a piece of his favourite cake. Doctor praxis regularly order several tarts, wedding cakes are ordered, and even a number of cafes in the city are supplied. The recipe? “Sugar lifts the spirits,” says Frau Martin. “We sell good cheer.”