If I lived in Nørrebro, Aroiidee would be the reason I didn’t cook at home more often. Formerly ‘Aroii Thai Take Away’, Guldbergsgade’s best-loved Thai bistro and takeaway started out in 2010 as takeaway only, and I remember well how quickly it became a fixture in the neighbourhood and a favourite eatery among my city-dwelling friends. To many, it is loosely but correctly associated with the Michelin-starred Kiin Kiin restaurant next door. But Aroiidee has morphed into a real restaurant in its own right these days. Walls have been torn down to seat up to 28 people inside (and 60 out, weather permitting). Still, the ties to Kiin Kiin remain to this day, as both produce and kitchen facilities benefit both sets of diners.
Kiin Kiin is obviously not for all wallets or occasions, but sometimes time is the deciding factor. If you’re in the mood for a film later – and Empire Bio is practically next door – it’s not a night to get fancy and have to hurry through several courses. Aroiidee – which means something like ‘tasting really good’ – offers smart dining and zero pretentiousness. Ideal for sating appetites of all sizes, its hospitable staff and relaxed attitudes make it a haven for people who value flexibility, informality and wholesome good eating. One example for the light eater with a movie to get to: grab a spring roll or two (they’re 15kr apiece) with sweet chili sauce and then go for the tasty grilled beef salad with mint and red onion and spicy dressing (65kr). There – that’s less than you pay for a movie these days.
You’ll need something to drink, naturally. One of the pleasant surprises this night – pleasant because it established context and spelled responsibility and vision – was the discovery that Aroiidee develops its own beer in collaboration with the renowned brewer Mikkeller. We tried two varieties, neither too exotic nor bland: the Dim Sum with lemongrass and coriander and the Kiin Kiin with lemon and lime. The latter is flavoured by the restaurateur himself, Henrik Yde, who spent four years in Thailand soaking up inspiration and know-how enabling him to finally realise his several gastronomic projects.
I mentioned the spring rolls earlier because I think that’s a good way to start. There’s no doubt in my book that they outshine the agreeable but somewhat anonymous Thai curry fish cakes with cucumber and chili dip (four at 55kr). Another habit-forming starter, however, is the Tuna tartare with soya, lime and a pitch-perfect array of avocado slices. In a word: smooth – and very deliciously spiced without deafening out the fish.
Whatever grabs you, take a minute to appreciate the stylish ceramic plates and materials on which the food is served. Taking in these details is to leave Nørrebro behind for a few moments. Risk it. You’ll return.
Among the subsequent dishes, what stood out to me was a kind of flagship dish at Aroiidee: the Red coconut curry (with chicken) with assorted vegetables. Served with jasmine rice, it’s priced at a very student-friendly 95kr. Not all quality food comes with the added bonus of feeling exactly wholesome. But, if the autumn chill has hit you hard lately, this invigorating treat seems to effectively mend the fraying edges of your immune system.
My American companion was puzzled to discern a decidedly US Southern feel in the Spare ribs with sweet soya and ginger and noodle salad (105kr). Though the menu declared them “Asian-style”, to some ribs are ribs and will conjure barbecue associations that no oriental marinade will muffle. A bit tricky to eat, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them to the dating community, but make a mental note that here’s a good place to get decent ribs.
For dessert you have two options for 65kr: Pineapple braised in rum with coconut ice-cream or Home-made vanilla ice-cream with airy passion fruit. I had the latter which, besides making your dinner complete by ticking the sweet box, is a delicious palate-cleanser.
Affordable, approachable, hospitable, delicious – at this price level it’s hard to be a naysayer. The hard-earned name has been earned one more time.
Guldbergsgade 23, Cph N
3535 9505, email@example.com
Open: daily 17:00-22:00
Top Dish: Red coconut curry with chicken and veggies
Price Range: 100-300kr,