Way, way back, before Christmas, before babies and shops and massive influxes of Japanese stock, we went to Copenhagen. The trip started and ended with a sausage and in between we ate and drank incredibly, incredibly well. Turns out you can put a price on quality and it is quite a steep one but, if you make it a brief weekend, (manage to snag some cheap Ryan Air flights, a bargainous Airbnb apartment, and walk everywhere) it is still well up there on the cost-benefit scale. Do it. Just do it quickly and with only half an eye on the exchange rate and without asking the barman about the disgustingly good quality of life most Danes enjoy.
I came back meaning to write a full round-up of the whats and wheres of the trip but Christmas got in the way. Thanks to the creepy way in which my iPhone documents my location every time I take a photo and the Instagram archive, I am still able to do a quick round up of the highs of the trip. It is less of a mouthful by mouthful account of everything we ate and more a run down of memorable highlights but here goes...
- MIKELLER (AND FRIENDS): the city is literally peppered with bars that are variations on the Mikeller theme. They are all excellent. Go to one, go to them all. You are in Denmark, beer is acceptable if not mandatory at any hour.
- MOLLER KAFFE & KOKKEN: you haven't tasted rye bread until you've tasted it in Denmark, and certainly not before you've had it topped with whipped Danish butter. Let me repeat that, whipped butter. This looked like your average cafe but the breakfast of small plates was fantastic and introduced us gently to the nordic fermented, pickled and fruity flavours that were to come.
- RESTAURANT GERANIUM: as if Copenhagen wasn't already expensive enough, we decided to go the whole hog and stick in a visit to a Michelin starred restaurant too. It was absolutely incredible, both in terms of the food and the service but intended by us as a once in a lifetime really special treat. Razor clams with edible shells, what looked like moss covered pebbles that melted in your mouth, the most succulent duck, all on top of a football stadium (the location is a little odd). A must-visit when you go to Copenhagen? No. But if you have been saving your pennies for a blow out experience/have a large expense account/someone else is paying, then definitely, definitely do it.
- VINBAREN VED STRANDEN 10: Want to imagine you are in a Nordic noir drama and surround yourself with beautiful people wearing architectural glasses and sipping on natural wines? This is the place to do it. Achingly cool and the perfect reward for slogging it all the way to see the little mermaid. This would be my stand out top tip and, unlike the other places which are more obvious, might be somewhere you would otherwise miss.
- BAEST: Baest was the recommendation we were given the most. It was pretty darn good - not in a blow-your-socks-off way but in a solid and really delicious way. To describe it as like Pizza East would be to sell it short - it's roughly that sort of vibe but much more sexy and Danish. The staff were beyond charming and, once Saunders had shown much enthusiasm after a couple of negronis, arranged for a tour of their salami curing facilities upstairs. Pizza might seem like an odd choice but after several rounds of very Nordic-style food - fermented-berried-sour-pickled-fishy-goodness - this came as a welcome interlude to untrained palates. Also Brus, a very good craft beer bar opposite.
- TORVEHALLERNE: we live in London, food markets and street food are second nature to us. That said, this was central, beautifully done and pretty darn good for snaffling down some open sandwiches and cinnamon buns. Also, if you like a good fish counter (and we at KP do love a bit of photogenic fresh fish) this is top sushi grade stuff (literally and figuratively).
- MANFREDS: A perfect lunch menu - a tonne of interesting wines by the glass, a selection of fermented (never eaten so much fermented stuff) and pickled vegetables, banging steak tartare, and chocolate mousse served with salt and olive oil. Aside from the chocolate mousse, the stand out offering was a mushroom three way where they were fermented, pickled and juiced into something delicious and bizarre in equal parts. The wine list alone makes this place worth a visit, although sample with caution as after a few heady glasses of natural wines we impulse purchased a rug on the way home to squeeze on to the flight as hand luggage...
- WARPIGS: with literally an hour to spare before the flight home we made it across town (via a Marlene Birger sample sale, at which point we were reaching peak Dane) to Warpigs. Right in time for the Friday night post-work crowd. We still managed a couple of beers and a few rounds of tacos at Hija de Sanchez but really needed longer to explore the bars and restaurants in this old meatpacking district.
* One other thing to note, as well as being disgustingly knowledgeable and good-looking, Danish waiting staff are also incredibly well informed about what you can and can't eat when you are pregnant and happy to tell you unprompted how this affects your menu choices. Good if this is a concern, but also slightly perturbing that they probably know more than you do. Or definitely more than I did.