Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Copenhagen trip, Feb 2013

I have just got back from a very chilly, but fantastic few days in Copenhagen with my lovely friend Emma.  It’s the first time I have been, and would recommend for a few days exploring with great museums, galleries, shops and lots of pastries.  The city was full of bakeries, cafes and restaurants, and although it’s an expensive place, we found some excellent affordable options - all very chic in the minimal Scandinavian way.

Hot dogs are popular, with stalls dotted around the centre, selling some very good versions of the often grim fast food stalwart – we went to Den Økologiske Pølsemand (translated as the organic hotdog man, or Døp for short), next to the Round Tower in the city centre.  The organic sausages come in toasted sourdough buns, with onion, mustard, ketchup and lots of gherkins (around £4).  It’s the best hotdog I’ve had, and definitely worth searching out (great view from the top of the tower too).

One of the best areas we discovered for eating and drinking was the trendy meatpacking area in Vesterbro .  We came across the buzzy Mother, which serves organic sourdough pizzas (most around the £12-13 mark).  We shared one with salami and mascarpone , and the other with prosciutto, rocket and pesto – both with nicely charred,  chewy bases and fresh tomato.

We didn’t come across lots of restaurants serving traditional Danish food, but thought we needed to try smørrebrød(open sandwiches on rye bread).  We went to the Royal Smushi Café (just near the central Strøget shopping street) to try their take of bite-sized sandwiches with the attention to detail of sushi – hence their term ‘smushi’.   The smoked salmon and egg custard smushi was an expensive bite (£6ish for one), but the place has a fabulously over the top interior, and the rich, caramel pecan and oat tart was good.

Copenhagen’s most famous restaurant is Noma, voted best in the world.  It is definitely out of our price range and also unsurprisingly very booked up with waiting lists, but I had read an article which had tips from the Noma chefs on where they eat on their days off – much more accessible.  Brunch is big in Copenhagen, and we headed to Bodega, one of the chefs’ brunch recommendations, on the edge of the famous Assistens cemetery in the Nørrebro district.  

This was the best value place we went, with really delicious food – soft scrambled eggs with crispy bacon and warm rye bread, and light, fluffy pancakes with home-made syrup and rhubarb and strawberry compote.  Our favourite place, and if we were there longer we would also have returned for drinks in the evening (they open til 5am with a DJ at the weekend).

Another of the places in this article was the rather un-Danish La Galette (on Larsbjørnsstræde), run by two Frenchmen and serving Galettes with proper Breton buckwheat.  The galettes were crispy around the edge, with tasty fillings including spinach, cheese, egg and bacon (around £11).  Sweet crepes were also very good, topped with caramelised apples and chocolate, almonds and chantilly.

There are fabulous bakeries all over the city, with buttery pastries and lots of interesting breads.  A branch of the chain Lagkagehuset was near where we stayed and became our breakfast spot.  Soupy, rich hot chocolate and delicious Snegl (snail cinnamon pastry with a blob of icing on the top) set us up for the day.  I’d normally be put off by anything that’s a chain, but these seemed consistently excellent.  There was even a branch at the airport for our farewell pastry.

We left Copenhagen feeling very full and content.  But decided it was probably best for our waistlines that we didn’t live there.

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