Cold nights, dark days, and low cash flow are all factors enough to keep one indoors and curl up on the sofa during the long month of January in Copenhagen. But all hope is not lost, if you venture out to the plush Langebrogadekaj in Christianshavn. Now although this might seem like an unlikely idea at this time of the year, a pleasant surprise is guaranteed, as emerging from the corner of Langebrogade is a chic boat named Restaurant Viva, anchored coyly in the waters before the astounding backdrop of Islands Brygge’s skyline.
Mesmerised by this view, if you walk further in and enter the boat, what welcomes you is a cosy and elegant dining room with a modest bar in the corner. Welcomed by the staff as we stepped onto the boat, I was shown to our table – one among those placed along the row of submarine windows that boast a fantastic view. The seating arrangement in Viva is such that some customers benefit from the city view and while others are seated with a quayside view.
Serving food since 2004, Viva has created a reputation as a non-boastful yet elegant restaurant among the dining enthusiasts of Denmark. While the eatery is modest, it is also posh combined with a moderate amount of quirkiness. Owner Buster Schmidt, who is a trained handyman, pursued his passion for food along with his father-in-law and childhood friend Paulo Gomez. Viva first opened its doors as a Mediterranean restaurant serving seafood dishes with influences from southern Spain and Italy. But with the onset of 2012, the menu and wine list have undergone a transformation and now the restaurant serves food inspired by the Scandinavian, French and Mediterranean kitchens.
In a city where restaurants serving similar themed cuisines are in no shortage, Viva certainly sets itself apart with its unique location and thrown-in element of fine food. According to Schmidt, Viva is all about fine dining without the hassle of a formal setting.
While taking in the surroundings and enjoying a fine glass of champagne, we were served a delicious Brioche served with foie gras and yoghurt on what looked like a sleek marble block. This was the style of the dishes in which the food was served throughout the evening – I was told that the set was made especially for the restaurant.
Following this were the Limfjord’s oysters with cucumber foam and cream, which we gratefully devoured – washed down with a 2009 Alsace Trimbach I seem to remember, or was it the 2008 Stellenbosch Rustenberg – before tackling the fried Norwegian lobster, served in a setting of cream cheese, winter cabbage and dill.
As our palates tuned into the many tastes of the sea, we felt at home in our maritime setting. Next was the visually amazing Smoked potatoes and Vesterhave cheese, garnished with chives. The poached turbot served with leek and cress was accompanied by what they call the aroma of November – well, we don’t know if March would have been more appropriate given its reinvigorating appearance. For dessert we were spoilt with a medley of apples – a sweet but not calorie-horrific ending to what was a splendid menu.
The prices at Viva are far from what one would call exorbitant. They are in fact reasonable and mirror the current standards of gourmet restaurants in the city. All in all, while Viva is a good restaurant that pleasures your taste buds without burning a hole in your pocket, its biggest selling point remains its location – a boat setting that sets Viva apart from other gourmet restaurants.
Langebrogade kaj 570, 1411 Cph K;
2725 0505, email@example.com
Open Thu–Sat 17:00-21:30
Top Dish: Smoked Potatoes
Price Range: Four course three-course 350kr, five-course 500kr, wine 300-450kr