Copenhagen: wine and cheese at Vinhanen

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It’s difficult to explain the difference between Denmark and Sweden, or the difference between Stockholm and Copenhagen, especially as both countries and cities have different areas with different vibes, but overall I would say Denmark is just so much more relaxed.

Sitting like this, on a wobbly bench on the pavement outside a wine bar amongst parked bicycles drinking wine and using an old IKEA stool for a table is very Copenhagen. The bicycles are definitely a part of the scene and I like the no-fuss approach to basically everything.

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I actually can’t remember how we found this wine bar, but it was on our way to the restaurant where we had dinner after, and tired of shopping we just fancied a glass of something cold and some nibbles.

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And that’s exactly what we got at Vinhanen. Lovely cold wine (much needed in the August heat), crusty sourdough bread and yummy cheeses. The owner was lovely and chatty and we got to try the different wines so we got one we really liked. So nice!

In the store (you can also fill a bottle and take it away) they have big barrels of wine on tap, so you can order a bottle, a glass or a carafe. Clever!

Apart from the good booze and cheeses Vinhanen also offers a nice eclectic mix of people and fun people watching on the street. It’s the kind of place you want to hang out in all night. And that’s exactly what I intend to do next time.

Vinhanen, Baggesensgade 13, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

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Copenhagen: Hija de Sanchez

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When an ex-Noma chef opens a taco restaurant you just know it’s going to be good food. On my day trip to Copenhagen this summer with my usual Copenhagen travellers Maria and Daniel, we didn’t have enough time to go to the restaurant but got to taste Hija de Sanchez’ tacos at our favourite lunch place; the food market called Torvehallerne.

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There are several restaurant stalls here, so you can sample a bit of this and a bit of that. But we went straight to Hija de Sanchez and ordered a plate each of tacos.

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And some cava. Because why not?!

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All three of the tacos were (of course) delicious! The one with cheese and avocado (queso fresco) was nice and fresh but I also really liked the one with fried runny egg and guacemole. And the barbecoa was the best I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve sampled a few…)!

Next time I really need to go the restaurant – can’t wait to sample the whole menu! Which I’m sure my travel companions are up for.

Hija de Sanchez, Taquería and market, Torvehallerne, Frederiksborggade 21, Copenhagen

First week of holiday!

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My holiday was rather busy, but that’s what it’s like when you’re living abroad; lots of family and friends to catch up with and you’re constantly behind on that front, however hard you try, as there simply isn’t enough time. My strategy this time was to start off busy and try to wind down a little towards the end, as I need to sleep and relax as well. And for once I think it worked. To say I feel refreshed might be pushing it, but I feel less tired than when I left London, which is the whole point of a holiday, isn’t it?!

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But since I had a 7am flight on the Saturday I took that day to relax and really feel that I was on holiday. It was pure bliss to arrive at the beach house, change into a bikini and a cover up, have an glassbåt ice cream in the sun and just try to switch off a little.

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I also walked down to the beach to dip my toes in the water and breathe the fresh air. And in the evening I enjoyed some bubbly and a nice homecooked dinner (pork fillet with lemon and herbs, new potatoes, tomato salad and a cold garlic and herb sauce).

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The next day I went to Helsingborg for lunch with friends and got to see both the hosts’ lovely new house and meet other friends’ little baby for the first time. For lunch we had a lovely poke bowl with sesame marinated tuna and ice cream for pudding. It was so nice to sit in the garden catching up with dear childhood friends like that. The afternoon went by in a flash!

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On the Monday I went to Copenhagen for the day with two friends, and we’ve been doing it for so long it’s a tradition we do everything to keep every summer.

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We started off with tacos and smørrebrød for lunch at Torvehallerne, had fika at our favourite café and in the evening wine and cheese at one place before dinner at another. It was a perfect day chatting away with friends, looking in a few shops and just enjoying what this lovely city has to offer!

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The next day I didn’t have many plans so started with a lie-in and a late breakfast in the garden. I did a few errands and sunbathed a bit and had dinner with my parents in the evening before a visitor from London arrived late that night as the flight was delayed.

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So the next morning another lie-in was in order followed by a cooked breakfast outside. By the way, poached eggs on toast with tabasco is delicious!

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We continued the day driving around the south coast, checking out the beaches and eating ice cream.

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And in the evening we had a crayfish party complete with Västerbotten cheese quiche, fresh and smoked prawns, snaps and silly hats!

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The following day my visitor played golf in Falsterbo while I spent the day with by best friend and my god daughter before meeting up with the golfers for lunch. Afterwards we went to Badhytten for a drink followed by a quick swim in the sea.

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Then I was put to work making burgers (with fake shack sauce) for us all. So yum!

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Friday was my visitor’s last full day in Sweden so we made the most of it spending most of it on the beach and after a late lunch we made our way into Malmö for drinks, dinner and some more drinks.

The next day we had time for a long breakfast and a swim before my visitor had to leave for the airport and I spent the rest of the day taking it easy and had dinner with mamma and pappa in the evening.

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The next day (Sunday) we drove to the southeastern part of Skåne to have lunch with two of my cousins and my auntie. We had hot smoked salmon with new potatoes, soft boiled eggs, asparagus and a cold dill sauce. Very Swedish and so yummy!

It was a lovely week and as you can see I got to see and do a lot and catch up with many of my friends!

Copenhagen: Street Food at Papirøen

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Being from the south of Sweden, I sometimes feel like I have two countries, and definitely two capitals. Stockholm, of course, because it IS my capital, and Copenhagen because it is a capital and so close by. It’s the airport I travel to and from every time I go home to Sweden, and it’s one of my favourite cities. Partly because I know it so well, but also because it’s just fantastic. It’s pretty, not too big, has lots of water and parks interspersed, it’s easy to get around and the people are friendly.

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And they take food seriously. On my last visit, in August last year, Daniel, Maria and I were all super excited to have lunch at The Corner of Rene Redzepi’s No. 108. As we approached in the torrential rain we noticed they were closed, but luckily we were only a few minutes away from Copenhagen Street Food at Papirøen (which I was dying to visit anyway)  so we had lunch there instead.

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It was the perfect place to take shelter from the rain. And walk around the different food stalls and pick a nice buffet lunch. For as you can imagine, it’s impossible to only eat one thing here. pap19.jpg

We started with traditional Danish smørrebrød (openfaced sanwiches) and they were very good.

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Then we shared some yummy tacos and had a little breather. The hardest thing was finding somewhere for us to sit, so make sure you secure a few chairs before you go looking for food, unless you’re happy with a quick bite standing up.

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Next I had the best thing ever; a GOURMET hot dog. It had mayo, crispy onions, parmesan – the works and was the best hot dog I’ve ever had. So yummy!

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I was seriously full after these different snacks but we decided we could share one more dish before throwing in the towel.

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And this is what we went for; fries topped with duck meat, creamy dressing and pickled red onions. It was seriously greasy but absolutely delicious and a perfect ending to our meal.

I just read on their website that Copenhagen Street Food is closed until May this year, but hopefully the same vendors will be back then.

Copenhagen Street Food, Hall 7 & 8, Papirøen (Paper Island), 14 Trangravsvej, DK-1436 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen: Royal Smushi café

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One of my favourite things to do in Copenhagen, especially in the autumn or winter, would be to go to Royal Copenhagen for cake with my mother. They used to have this amazing old-style café on one of the top floors where you could pick out your cake from a large table in the middle of the room, just filled to the brim with cakes, tarts and the likes. It was wonderful but it’s sadly closed now.

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But one can get a very similar experience, but in a more modern way, at Royal Smushi Café, at street level.

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The cakes look (and taste!) fabulous and they have a nice selection of both savoury and sweet treats. All served on Royal Copenhagen crockery.

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I had the carrot cake and although it’s usually not my first choice I was seduced by the lovely looking frosting. And I must say, it was a very, very good carrot cake. The best I’ve had, in fact.

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The interior here is lovely too, with high ceilings, modern chandeliers and pink walls. The perfect place for a mid-afternoon treat!

Royal Smushi Café, Amagertorv 6, 1160 København K, Denmark

Copenhagen: four course dinner at Uformel

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The highlight of our day in Copenhagen was definitely the four course meal with matching wines at Uformel. It was my first time visiting the restaurant and we thoroughly enjoyed everyhing from the relaxed atmosphere to the quirky details (black cutlery!) and of course the delicious food.

We started our meal with a glass of bubbly each and some snacks; pork scratchings with sourcream dip. Pork scratchings are actually more popular in Denmark than in the UK and they’re sold in every supermarket. The supermarket varieties are nice but these were amazing, especially together with the dip.

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Then we started our four course meal with lovely sourdough bread and delicious butter and this first course consisting of scallops, pickled green strawberries and olive oil. It was a nice fresh start to the meal, but didn’t blow me away.

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But the next course certainly did! This was how it was presented, and the thinly sliced mushrooms made me think of woods and earthy flacours.

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But hidden underneath was the most amazing steak tartare with mayonnaise and crispy bread. Loved this!

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Next up was this duck with grilled pointy cabbage (but in my case grilled little gem instead) and the most amazing sauce. it was proper minimalism on a plate but it really worked.

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The pudding with apples, crumble, custard and a frozen lid with apple was a nice finish to the meal and very refreshing. We also got some petit fours with our coffees but we were too full to appreciate them.

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But the fullness didn’t last that long as we didn’t have many carbs, and we’d been walking around Copenhagen all day. This is not a criticism however, if we hadn’t been walking around all day this meal would have been enough, but after some bar hopping especially Emma and I got hangry and we had to eat something more. Unfortunately all the pølse trucks were closed at this point so we had to go to Burger King (it was an emergency!).

And the wines? They were all nice and expertly paired with the dishes, but I couldn’t tell you much more than that. Both the food menu and with wine flight were very reasonably prised though, and the ambience in the restaurant nice and relaxed. Highly recommend a dinner here!

Uformel, Studiestræde 69, 1554 København V, Denmark

Copenhagen: Balthazar champagne bar

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After the sushi lunch and some quick shopping for me, it was time to try Denmark’s only champagne bar; Balthazar (to my knowledge not related to the New York and London restaurants).

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Although located in the famous D’Angleterre hotel the bar has its own entrance off the street (Ny Østergade), but I’m sure it’s connected to the rest of the hotel in some way. We came here in the late afternoon on a weekday between Christmas and New Year, so it wasn’t exactly buzzing but a few tables were occupied and the ambience was really nice.

So was the service. Our waitress was very attentive but also left us to enjoy our drinks. Three of us had champagne (Pol Roger if you’re wondering) while the fourth person wanted a cocktail not on the menu, but the bar staff were happy to oblige.

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I must say I really like Balthazar. Partly because they serve many decent champagnes by the glass, but also because they’ve managed the not so small feat of balancing a luxurious feeling with a relaxed vibe. Make sure to visit on your next trip to Copenhagen!

Balthazar, Ny Østergade 6, 1101 København K, Denmark