These days it feels as though pretty much all of London is open on a Sunday. The City is fairly quiet, I suppose, though pockets such as Spitalfields and St Paul’s are increasingly lively – and open – on the seventh day. Probably because I’m so used to that now, I tend to walk around the capital cities of other countries with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I’m frustrated by the fact pretty much every bijou shop or independent café is closed. We tourists are being short changed! I came for a weekend and only got access to half the rides. Don’t these people want to make any money?? The fools.
On the other, I wonder whether, in fact, it’s London and Londoners who have got it all wrong. Just imagine: no shopping, no people at work, just time to chill out with friends and family.
Case in point: last Sunday, Copenhagen.
I’d seven hours to kill following a few days spent over The Bridge in the south of Sweden. Could there be a better city in the world for a restaurant fan boy to be waiting for a flight? The airport is twenty minutes (max) from the city centre and, oh, wait, an extraordinary number of restaurants that need to be ticked off the bucket list. The only dilemma, it seemed, was whether to go for an all out four hour uber lunch at one of the big names, or take on five places through breakfast, brunch, two lunches and an early supper?
No can do.
Noma: closed. Amass: closed. Geranium: closed. Relae: closed. AOC: closed. No. 2: closed. Kadeau: closed. Paté Paté: closed. Geist, Bror and Fiskebaren: closed until basically flight time.
Of course there are plenty of places open for some sort of feed during the day. They’re just mostly a bit nondescript or touristy, and it’s fair to say it did feel something of a zombie town until at about 14:30.
Here was how I ate my way out of depression. My guess is you could do a lot worse (though would love to know what Sunday Copenhagen I missed out on).
This is half tongue in cheek, half genuinely useful. If walking round Copenhagen in search of breakfast, a pastry and a coffee from Lagkagehust is a good option. There are loads of them. I suppose it’s Denmark’s version of Gregg’s, maybe Pret. Just not shit. In fact, really pretty decent. Quite slick inside and, importantly, some beautiful looking pastries.
Lagkagehust in 3 words
Cinnamon bun. Tak.
My second breakfast / snack suggestion is much like the first: half cheek, half useful. With the biggest difference being that in contrast to the bakery chain, I doubt many people who actually live in Copenhagen go to this shiny double sided covered market. When I was wandering round, pretty much all of the other wanderers were clearly tourists too. That could’ve been because a. there’s (as mentioned) few other places for tourist food in the mid morning; and b. the real Copenhagen hadn’t got up yet. But I doubt it.
On one side, there are various overpriced food trinkets, oils and drinks vendors. On the other (better) side, some expensive looking fishmongers and butchers, and a host of decent enough looking concessions selling bar food, snacks, open sandwiches, flat breads and booze.
It’ll do, though, and indeed looked to be fairly buzzing when I passed later on in the day. As it happened, I got my fix from the best bits of the trinket side: an excellent cortado from the renowned Coffee Collective and a similarly fine poppy seed tebirkes from the bakery opposite (possibly my new favourite morning pastry).
Torvehallerne in 3 words
For tourists. Tak.
Manfreds & Vin
Here we bloody go. A proper restaurant with great food and a lovely atmosphere. Open for lunch on a Sunday. In Copenhagen. Boom.
Manfreds is the little sister restaurant to Michelin starred Relæ, which is situated just across the trendy Jægersborggade street. It’s a mash-up of small rooms: an open kitchen with a few stools overlooking it as you enter, a few tables in front of the bar and mirror balled off-sales wine cupboard, and a room with a clutch of covers round the back. It had a relaxed, casual, easy if slightly hungover feel to it when I was there; I suspect Saturday nights are pretty lively.
There’s only so much you can eat as a solo diner (who ate a couple of Danish pastries ninety minutes earlier). But you know when you know the food in general is pretty banging? Well, that.
The best option, I suspect, is to submit to the vaguely described “7 dishes to share” for a very fair 250 krone per person (£26ish). As the nicely concise menu suggests, I saw a lot of vegetables go past, a little bit of meat too. Possibly some fish. All looked good.
You can also select a dish of the day, or from a short list of “signature” plates too. Which is how I made my meal.
Tatar of beef was first class. Beautifully tender and flavourful ruby red beef had been pushed through a grinder rather than chopped, and was mixed with just a little (land?) cress, some chopped alium, maybe a touch of citrus (or was that from sorrel). There was a spoon of mustard mayo underneath to keep the flavours moving, and crunchy rye crumbs on top for texture. Quality.
Sødam chicken hearts with celeriac and brown butter was a brilliant little dish. Ten chickens died so I could eat their blushing pink hearts. Tagliatelle-like ribbons of just warmed celariac provided a super little cushion. I guess they leave a swirl of them in a small pan with brown butter in the bottom – so some of the ribbons colour and soften more than others. To great effect.
That dish might have been too rich, were it not for a fine “little green” (and purple) salad of mixed leaves. No iceburg, gem, watercress or rocket here. Just a fistful of lightly dressed, mixed flavoured leaves, which cut through the celeriac and offal nicely. Crusty, bouncing bread was perfect for mopping up both these things and the tatar.
After a wait, I had a little plate of kale with smoked pork fat and bergamot. It was a little over salted and could’ve taken more of the citrus, and so I munched through the kale with slight regret that I hadn’t gone for charred onions with elderflower and cheese instead.
The price of the food seems very fair – you can be sated for anywhere between 200 and 300 krone (basically £20-35). The bigger hit comes from the wine. The menu is as much about unfined and unfiltered wine as it is the food (was it the city’s first natural wine bar?), and just two glasses of the cloudy stuff made up half my bill. Looking back, it wasn’t necessarily bad value and I could’ve been a little more economical. But in any event, I can confirm Copenhagen’s not the place to come for cheap vin. Not that you needed me to.
Manfreds is organic, interesting, flavourful, casual, accessible … and open throughout the week. No doubt there are synergies with Relæ, and that brings benefits as well as efficiencies for both restaurants. I couldn’t quite work out the rhythm of the kitchen, which was mostly manned by one chef who also took out half the dishes, whilst others ghosted in and out; at times I wondered if the food across the restaurant could’ve been snappier if a second chef was there throughout. Given most of the other chefs in Copenhagen’s had the day off, just being close to a kitchen should be commended.
About £50 once wine, service and tax included.
Manfreds & Vin in 3 words
manfreds.dk – Jægersborggade 40, 2200 København N – +45 36966593