You probably know that Sonnenallee is often nicknamed “Arab Street” due to the many Arab owned restaurants, shops, and grocery stores. For years, they’ve been mostly Lebanese owned, but with the arrival of many people from Syria in the past years, this has slightly shifted and the offered products and dishes are more diverse than ever. And it gets better and better – here’s one prime example for this development: Damaskus Konditorei is making the most delicious desserts, baklava, and kanafeh on Sonnenallee.
This pastry shop has been in the media many times as a coherent example of a “successful refugee story”. Outlets from Al Jezeera to RBB have told the story of owner Tamem al-Sakka and his family, who fled the war in Homs four years ago, leaving behind their thriving pastry shop that was founded by their father 40 years ago. After stations in Lebanon and Egypt, they arrived in Berlin over two years ago, and have worked hard and tireless to re-start their pastry business under the name Damaskus Konditorei here. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that, because their sweets are divine!
I went with a Syrian friend, and we ended up eating loads, deeply enjoying the sugar rush and later, the crush, because it was worth it. Also, choosing is quite hard with their many kanafeh and baklava varieties. We started with Um Naren kunafa, a Damascus variety of the very popular kanafeh (by the way, while you’re at it, try the Turkish version Künefe at Doyum!) Then chose Madluka, a semolina dough with whipped cream and loads of pistachios, and finally, my new personal favorite, Nabulsiya, a kanafeh with nabulsi cheese, that looks rather unassuming in the pan, but will be heated and then form the most delicious strings of sweet white cheese.
We also sampled very delicious Halawet el Jibn, rolls of semolina dough filled with white cheese and rosewater. They’re a great starter, especially if you worry the rest will be too sweet (which it isn’t, be brave). And take a box of baklava, treats of pastry filled with nuts, cookies, and more, that make a great gift.