My boyfriend and I had a a weekend through on the East Coast recently, and we may have made a pilgrimage to bakery Falko Konditormeister on both the Saturday and Sunday mornings…whoops. Falko Konditormesiter is owned an run by German master pastry chef Falko Burkert (konditormesiter means the highest state qualification for a pastry chef in Germany). The Falko story began in 2005 with a mega-successful stall at Edinburgh’s Farmer’s Market, followed by a cafe in Bruntsfield, then finally the Gullane branch.
First of all – the surroundings. The café is in a lovely sandstone corner shop, and, with its dark wood paneling and log fire, is the perfect place to wile away a winter hour or two.
We started off with the Schwarzwälderkirschtorte (black forest gateau), and the Schokoladentrüffeltorte (chocolate trufflecream gâteau). I also ordered one of their specialty teas, opting for a pot of refreshing lemon, while Ian upped the treat ante with a hot chocolate.
Both cakes were delicious, and far lighter than looking at them would suggest. The only slight criticism I had was that I would’ve liked a more pronounced cherry flavour in the schwarzwälderkirschtorte, but that’s a personal taste thing.
We also bought two further cakes to take away – the Opera Torte, and the Schoko-Orangen-Kuchen (chocolate orange tart). The Opera Cake has similar flavours to a tiramisu, but with a much firmer texture. The boyfriend fell in love with the chocolate orange tart, with its strong rich flavours and rich thick ganache. I have to say, although our earlier cakes were good, these really knocked our socks off – rich, though not cloying – the opera cake was beautiful to look at with perfectly balanced layers while the tart had a deep, bitter ganache and fantastic, light pastry.
In terms of cost, you are talking around £4 per item – not cheap in itself, but compared to the dried up husks you so often find in cafes, the quality is incomparable. I have seen some comments around about the quality of service (surly staff, orders having to be repeated…) but I didn’t experience that myself – our waiters were friendly, if not overly so, and everything arrived as swiftly as it was ordered.
The next day we decided we couldn’t resist and had to have one last visit while still through in the east, and ordered the pancakes with honey roast banana and bacon. The bananas had a slight hint of curry flavours, which sounds unusual to a British palette, but I think fruit and curry are a fairly common pairing on the continent, and they do work together well.
For me, both branches of Falko, but particularly the Gullane branch, are really special places to visit – the quality of the cakes and tarts can’t be faulted, and curling up next to the log fire with a pot of tea and a treat feel so luxurious.
ETA: Since I initially started drafting this post, we’ve been back yet again, this time taking friends and their toddler. Due to being with friends, I didn’t take any photos, but I can heartily recommend the black pudding and goats’ cheese open sandwiches we had!