The street of dreams.
How is there so much awesome culture all in one place?
Let me count the ways.
The Coffee Collective. Arguably (most would agree) the best coffee in Copenhagen. They have a counter in Torvehallerne and a newly-minted, wide space in Frederiksberg, but this one’s the original and always populated by all sorts of people. More often than not you see someone you know.
And of course, the coffee is superbly sourced, roasted, and brewed.
What makes it so good? It always has flavour beyond standard ‘coffee’. Floral notes, acidic fruit, spice, herbs, roots, chocolate. It reminds you that coffee is not a powder but a complex, chemically charged elixir; that it requires a long, involved production chain, demands skilled craftspeople to make properly, that it is something that deserves a premium, that it is a treat.
Keramiker. Some of the most mind-boggling ceramics I have experienced. Inge Vincent makes everything of off-white clay, thinly shaped to the texture of paper, down to the folds and crinkled creases. Vases, cups, bowls, boxes. Really incredible stuff.
Karamelleriet. Artisanal caramel shop. They make the most divine toffees: soft like butter, dense like fudge, pliant like taffy. And they use the best of Danish flavour favourites, most notably the liquorice with salmiak – deep, salty, savoury, super mouth-watering.
When Arielle and I walked in one time, the caramel man handed us each a soft ball of cream caramel freshly pressed on the vintage machine. No better toffee has ever passed my lips.
Grød. The porridge place in cph. The Danes take their grød seriously so you know there’s a self-instituted reputation to live up to when the place claims the food so eponymously. Open all days all day, with offerings both savoury and sweet.
Here, a stellar specimen, with red currants and strawberries tossed in sugar, puffed malted barley, and skyr.
We actually had one of their chefs come work with us at the lab for a day back in October, to prepare for the World Porridge Making Championships in Edinburgh. There was some wild and masterful technique.
And then, of course, there’s Manfred’s. Beloved neighbourhood hang-out spot with insanely good simple food, some superb natural wines, and a vibe that’s always enticing and relaxed. Whenever you ask someone from the restaurant they’re favourite place to eat in Copenhagen, they will invariably say Manfred’s and something about ordering multiple tartares.
One day back in August, after finishing up sensory analysis on the vinegars at the university, Arielle and I made a soft beeline for Manfred’s to enjoy some crusty bread, olive oil, and anchovies, a nice glass of wine, and of course, a tartare each.
They just do it well. Meat that has flavour and texture, mussed up with watercress (crisp and not bruised) and fried crumbs of rye bread. And underneath, a pleasing tangy dollop of crème fraîche.
No wonder it’s an institution. Always a new wine to try, and the waiters wear these awesome full-length leather aprons. Must be heavy as hell but they sure look sweet. And did I mention the tartare?
The owners of Manfred’s also run Relæ, an inventive prix fixe place just across the street. I’ve yet to go but it is firmly on my list. I hear good things and at 375dkk for four courses it’s quite reasonable considering its recognition at home and abroad.
And that’s only the beginning – this street holds even more wonders:
– Ladyfingers. Handmade jewelry of unsurpassed grace and geometrical interest.
– Lyst. A café on the corner by the park that’s always packed.
– Meyers Bageri. Organic bakery by Claus Meyer. It’s good – I prefer Lagkagehuset but won’t say no to a Meyers Chokolade Kanelsnegl.
– Musiksmag. My friend Anne Brandhøj took me here one of my first weeks in Copenhagen. A simple bar a few steps down from the street with short stools and tables, two turntables, and a steady stream of well-considered, live dj’ed music.
– And all sorts of other great places: green grocers, wine importers, more ceramics, antiques, bookstores, record shops… you can see why I’m captivated.
A further testament to the street’s awesomeness? They have their own blog.
Chloe and I wandered the sidewalks when she came. Some things were closed, but we still managed a coffee at the collective, a porridge and grød, and an intent browse of the ceramics at Inge Vincent.
Afterwards, we made a trip to Torvehallerne, the huge indoor/outdoor food market near Nørreport station.
For a duck confit sandwich, renowned across the city.
And a green plum.
And a beer at Mikkeller, the world-illustrious experimental brewer in Copenhagen, to finish the day.
Even in the bright evenings of summer, the without-which-not candle in candle-holder. Very hyggelig.