• Regional Cuisine

    Copenhagen in springtime from the eyes of a Chef

  • –  Chef Rohan D’souza

    Come April, the city of Copenhagen starts shedding away it’s chilly winter and slowly heads for its vibrant summers with peeking sunshine, late sunsets, blooming flora, and a layer less of winter woolies.

    Say hello to the exciting season of spring!

    April is a great month to hop on to a flight and head to the bustling Copenhagen to explore some of their exciting vibrant food and beverage landscape, and if you are a foodie or a chef, this city is brimming with quality restaurants, cafés, bars, coffee houses, historical interest and most importantly a charm which is quite infectious. I last visited this city in its early 2000s when I was a chef sailor for a reputed cruise company and Copenhagen was a port of call quite often in the itinerary. With scores of restaurants in recent years dotting this food capital in Scandinavia and with 48 hours on my hand, I was curious to know what is cooking and serving this spring season and the city does not disappoint.

    I have put a list of brief food experiences on this visit ranging from the classic cafés, the famous coffee houses, extravagant restaurants, rooftop brunch spots, and the latest find!

    Where to eat this spring

    Denmark is full of extraordinary dining experiences with master brand Noma spearheading the list. The table booking can be quite a process to experience what this master’s fine cuisine is all about, but not to worry! There are a few which have stepped up the gun when it comes to the haute niche segment such as the lovely restaurant Relae, which I was gladly assisted in the booking by the Noma team itself.

    Relae

    This beautiful restaurant is located at the hip street in Jaegersborggade, Norrebo.  Hop on the metro to the main stop Norreport. It’s a brisk walking distance from there or if you’re not up to the walk then there are plenty of cabs. This brand gives you a direct land to table experience in a cozy comfortable setting at a very affordable price in that uber restaurant segment with set menus starting at 900 Kr. Dishes such as a simple Havervadgard lamb and farm greens, squid with fermented chili a lovely vegetarian Swiss chard schnitzel to courgette tart are absolutely divine and their delicious table sourdough bread will have your stomach content and inspired by the simple yet delicious clean plates put together.

    The Classic at Nyhavn

    With scores of waterfront canal-facing brightly coloured 17th & 18th-century townhouses dotted with restaurants & bars, this place offers some choice in a variety of meals. With its classic picture-perfect harbour views and buzz, I personally found the vibe of Nyhavn so upbeat even in 2 degrees of some windy climate and what better place to choose than Ravage!

    Ravage

    This is a restaurant which has become popular with locals and tourists serving Nordic ingredient French classic food. This restaurant was a buzz and contributing to it was some prompt efficient service, a smart wine list and a lip-smacking menu ranging from great steaks, the ravage classic mussels, the mushroom pate – a great choice for vegetarians. I started off with this unforgettably light steamed white asparagus with sauce mousseline and handpicked shrimp, but my personal favourite was the fish of Meuniere pan fried Plaice with new Danish potatoes, capers & nut brown butter. It just shredded soft of the bone and the side skirt carcass was crispy.

    That’s when you know their fish chef knows how to cook perfect fish prep! Also, another spring favorite – the coq au vin is a must try there. The coq au vin is a dish made of spring vegetables eaten with their sourdough bread and was a perfect heart warmer for the cold windy day. Finish off your meal with their classic Crème Brulee. The best thing is, when the pay cheque comes to your table, this place known for their supreme food made with top-notch ingredients, will not pinch your pocket!

    The popular brunch hotspot on a sunny afternoon

    On high street city center of Ostergade, you will find Copenhagen’s No. 1 rooftop spot with bars, restaurants and the best views of the city located at Illum. My pick was one of the city’s most popular seafood brands – Skagen Fiskerestaurant.

    Skagen Fiskerestaurant

    A restaurant with the reputation of serving the fresh fish preparations over the last 50 years in the city, this is a place you wouldn’t want to miss. Packed on a sunny afternoon, you will see this restaurant filled with smart office goers catching up over a quick lunch meeting over fresh seafood and some of their own brewed beer. Fish is the central element of the menu and once you take one glance at that menu card, you can’t wait to place your order and yet undergo a struggle to decide what to have as it all sounds mouthwatering! The brand follows the ethos of seafood that you can taste as they serve you the freshest catch.

    Start off with their divine signature Danish Smorrebrod or open-faced sandwiches.  Nothing like a fresh pillowy soft Nordic Salmon on pumpkin bread with sour cream, chives & cucumber! Then move on to some chucked Nordic Oysters off the coast of Denmark served with pickled shallots & lime. Go on to try their homemade brews and enjoy their stunning codfish cakes which are moisture-driven on the inside and lightly crusted on the outside. None of the ingredients in this dish overpower the freshness of the Brosme Cod species served with a dip of curry mayo, pickled cabbage, greens, and Danish red berries. Since we wanted to keep lunch light and with our hotel quite the distance away for an afternoon snooze, we decided another lighter option. I would judge a restaurant by its Fish & Chips as it sounds simple but it’s quite easy to get wrong if your oil temperature and crust don’t go hand in hand. I would say they nailed it for a 50-year-old restaurant and could have given lots of Fish & Chip shops in the UK a stiff competition. The Danish are talented chefs and that speaks volumes on their product delivery. Golden fried fillets of plaice fish had its natural juices between its flakes and you knew that it was screaming freshness. It was accompanied by a simple house made dips of chilly mayo & some cold tartar sauce, not to forget their Danish potato fat chips.

    The famous coffee house

    This city has an abundance of coffee houses on offer and picking one out can be a task amongst so many in the city. However, Bertels Coffee Salon was my choice this spring.

    Bertels Coffee Salon

    Located in the heart of Frederiksberg is Bertel café, a small place with tables on high demand. Head here for some great coffee, some cinnamon buns and delicious cheesecake considered the best in Copenhagen with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. They offer everything from brownies, croissants and more if you are not a fan of cheesecake. You can also spoil your taste buds with breakfast or tapas, just like you can always enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold fresh beverage.  A perfect stop for that lovely spring morning or afternoon, this place won’t disappoint.

    The latest find

    When it comes to the Danish capital, there are so many quality restaurants that spring up. But I must say that there is a restaurant a bit away from the city center, located thirty two stories above the Marriott Bella sky hotel called Sukhaiba Copenhagen. It has be your new gastro hotspot, serving the city’s most impressive view. What’s more to it is that it is quite the value one can get for that lovely early dinner or some great cocktails while watching the Nordic sunset.

    Sukaiba

    At Sukaiba you experience sophisticated Japanese inspired food culture fused with Nordic cuisine. The menu is a total gastronomy experience of bold Japanese flavours put together with well-crafted Nordic ingredients. I headed straight to the food as I was eager to experience the new twist on Japanese Nordic fusion. The menu included lots of sharing small plates and green clean and fresh options, raw bar and sushi, tempura and dumplings, and the Robata grill section.  Order the Lobster salad with crispy salad and saké sauce, then move on to trying their spicy yellowtail uramaki rolls with arugula and jalapenos. Their tempura shrimp is a noteworthy option with Japanese pickled vegetables and ponzu. Then go on to the robata section for a lovely Cod put together with smoked miso butter, rice vinegar, lemongrass, and long peppers. Try the satiating saddle of lamb from vibygard with fermented mushrooms and mushroom juice. Do order the tender stem broccoli grilled with light miso, a great option for vegetarians. Well there was no place for dessert after trying quite a few of these dishes. A true noteworthy gem of a restaurant with stunning interiors, a DJ spinning some deep jazz house music and warm service made an end to that perfect meal in stunning Copenhagen so memorable.

    Beginning his culinary voyage at the age of 17, Chef Rohan D’souza has worked in some of the most illustrious commercial kitchen spaces. From Taj properties to globally renowned cruise liners; to working with food Gods such as James Martin and Marco Pierre White, his experience both in and out of the kitchen has led him to attain the title of Culinary Director / Restauranteur with noteworthy brands like Estella, Silver Beach Cafe (Dubai and Mumbai,) VII Dubai at the Conrad Hotel, The Lazy Goose (Australia,) Basanti (Dubai and Mumbai) and more.