It might come as a surprise, but Copenhagen’s oh-so-trendy meatpacking district hasn’t always been quite so painfully hipster. Nowadays, the area might be flooded with organic takeaways, cheap and simple nightclubs and craftbeer kiosks, but it hasn’t always been so hip.
Nicking the title of the oldest restaurant in Kødbyen, Paté Paté has firmly established itself in the hearts of many Copenhageners. Owner Kenn Husted made the risky decision to open it at the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, and with everything but luck on his side, he somehow managed to turn a rundown paté factory into a bustling success – its raw and rustic charm proving a winner with all visitors.
We arrived at Paté Paté to a bustling scene. As Copenhagen basked in one of its first days of summer, the restaurant was filled with friends and family wining and dining in the early evening sun.
Walls and walls of wine line the sparsely decorated, light-filled locale, as waiters rush around with colourful dishes, artfully balancing glasses in the other hand.
The menu – an exotic fusion of French, Spanish and Moroccan – is tailored to genuine perfection with a range of tapas-style dishes that showcase the best the countries have to offer. And there’s a quirky twist of Danishness hidden somewhere in between. I immediately loved it.
What separates Paté Paté from the seemingly unlimited list of gastronomical experiences in Copenhagen is simple: its atmosphere. Paté Paté has none of that fancy new Nordic-ness that seems to have infiltrated all aspects of contemporary Danish dining nowadays. Quite the opposite, in fact. It feels easy, relaxed, like a light and boozy evening meal whilst on summer holiday.
The waiters play an enormous role in this. Dressed in whatever they feel like, with whatever tattoos on show, they practically force you to inhale the calmness before you’ve even managed a sip of wine.
It’s all in the service
I always find it impressive when staff know their stuff, and at Paté Paté, our waiters could reel off the intricate details of each and every type of wine and food dish on the menu with uncomplicated ease.
We were served an assortment of dishes, ranging from deep-fried Danish squid with Kimchi mayonnaise and pickled radish to Irish oysters served with a chilli-honey vinaigrette. All were excellent, although I particularly enjoyed the cucumber fettuccine with feta and cranberries.
Dessert was, as usual, unnecessary, as we had already had our ample sufficiency. But no-one ever says no to dessert, and we gladly accepted the two sweets placed in front of us with graceful appreciation.
And thank god for that, because one dessert in particular made the whole night for us. It was heaven in the form of an almond and pistachio cake, served with vanilla icing and oozy butterscotch deliciousness. Even for a girl that tries to restrain herself, I would’ve gladly accepted another three slices if it was offered.
Wine, oh wine
But we’ve been skirting around the focus of Paté Paté here: wine. It is refreshing to speak to someone who possesses such passion and knowledge for vino, and those are certainly traits Husted possesses.
He swirled around a glass of Weingut Der Pollerhoff Sauvignon Blanc whilst he told us about a trip he’d taken to Austria last week with a handful of his staff members, testing out undiscovered wineries and carrying back his findings.
“Travel is so important if you want to source the best wine. I still travel to France and Spain at least five times a year for inspiration,” he said, looking all parts the connoisseur in his buttoned-down linen shirt and sandals.
There aren’t many negative things I could say about my experience at Paté Paté. It’s the kind of place I’ll be taking family and friends when they visit me here in Copenhagen, just so they can experience the rare charm of the oh-so-hipster meatpacking district, whilst also enjoying nice wine and an outstanding meal.