The image of Copenhagen used to be more fairytale than food, but in the last decade, the city has elevated its culinary profile with magical speed. This is largely due to Noma’s legendary win at World’s Top Best 50 Restaurants (and for four years at that), but Denmark’s capital also quickly tucked into its comestible reputation with gusto, much like a kid with ice-cream, and churned up a splendid itinerary as a food destination.
So yes, you can now have your organic pasta at Che Fe as easily as a more traditional smorrebrod (open-faced sandwich) at Selma, before punctuating your sightseeing with plenty of flat whites at a cute cafe like Rist Kaffebar, all within the city. From glasshouse to warehouse, there’s also a dining setting to fit any Instagram theme.
A visit to Copenhagen can’t all be about its food, but the ease of finding excellent grub – both local and international – lends itself to any type of agenda you might have in mind. So prepare a loose belt with your walking shoes, and get ready to dine like a Dane.
NODDING TO SOME NEW NORDIC COOL
One can almost hear the mental fireworks around the world when Noma reopened last year in its new home at Refshalevej 96. Famous for thrusting New Nordic cooking into the spotlight, chef Rene Redzepi leads his team with inventive philosophy and a fervour for hyperlocalism.
Expect the same delightful creativity at the new Noma, even as it expands its in-house journey with an urban farm. The winning formula of experimental techniques on familiar ingredients served with masterful flair straddles the Scandinavian ideology for extracting natural flavours from fresh produce and the revolutionary execution the restaurant is famous for.
The seasonal menu revolves – from Vegetable in summer, to Game & Forest nearing winter. If you’re fast enough, you might be able to clinch seats for its Seafood Season when they are released on Oct 22.
KITCHENS BEARING HALLMARKS OF THE OLD AND NEW
If you missed the boat, there’s always The Standard over by the waters near Inderhavn Bridge. The former customs house is a perfect example of Danish Functionalism, and holds two kitchens that serve excellent Nordic cuisine, both old and new.
There’s also newcomer Alchemist that opened its doors earlier this July. Describing a dining experience there as “filmic”, chef Rasmus Munk has designed 50 “impressions” for diners to go through, as they move between backdrops ranging from a planetarium to the streets of New York City. Prepare yourself, as this holistic gastronomic journey will take a good three to five hours.
TAKE TO THE STREETS
While the fine-dining options mentioned earlier have a casual air by international standards, one can understand if there are those who prefer their meals a little less designed. If that’s the case, start learning how to pronounce “Torvehallerne”.
It is not a supermarket – it’s a super market. Overflowing with fresh produce like briny oysters, crunchy nuts and juicy berries, there’re also 60 stalls to find your meals. From ocean-fresh sushi to savoury tacos, you’ll want to share these with your friends just so you can try more food.
If you want to continue the adventure, head down to Reffen at the industrial area of Refshaleoen. It’s a wonderful collection of street food start-ups, all raring with energetic creativity and delicious recipes. It also celebrates sustainability and art, with pop-up workshops for visitors and a move to reduce food waste.
Over at the Bridge Street Kitchen, a little more polish comes from players like GROD, Kejser Sausage, Dhaba and Will at the Bridge. Enjoy world-class street food with harbour views, accompanied by appearances from guest chefs, at the Greenlandic Trade Square.
GO GARDEN ORGANIC GREEN
With a cooking tradition fixated on original flavours, it’s small wonder “organic” comes naturally to the Danes. So for fans of the untainted, you might want to ask the iconic Little Mermaid for advice. As it turns out, Amass Restaurant – renowned for strictly using organic local produce – is nearby!
Against the shipyard backdrop, one can expect contemporary items like confit halibut with a garden infusion and lemon oil, or a refreshing flower parfait, all gold-certified to ensure that 90 to 100 per cent of the ingredients are organic.
Then, there’s Gro Spiseri. Visit this 24-seater rooftop outing and enjoy not just a farm-to-table experience, but an education with lively stories from its employees.
If the garden experience is luring you in still, the popular Tivoli Gardens hides Gemyse. Expect unconventional combinations of green courses that play with techniques like fermentation and preservation, as you enjoy a flavourful journey in the cosy greenhouse setting. For those who still crave a little protein, you can add it to your meal or head over to the Tivoli Food Hall afterwards.
Singapore Airlines flies direct to Copenhagen five times weekly, and from Jan 1, 2020, Singapore Airlines will fly daily to the Danish capital. With promotional fares now on, your hunger pangs for some of the world’s most sought after kitchens can finally be sated. Begin your epicurean journey on Singapore Airlines’ A350 to experience specially designed in-flight meals with cabin mood lighting that changes from cruise times to chow times. For more details on routes and promotions, visit singaporeair.com.
Read more travel tales of Copenhagen here.