All’s well that ends well for this fairy tale of puppy dog tails

Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away there was a castle: Eremitagesletten (check!) And there was a huntsman’s cottage: Peter Lieps Hus, check! And there were two weary, hungry interlopers in a foreign land: us, check! It was thus, in fairy tale mode, that I entered Dyrhavn for the first time and walked through the forest to the Peter Lieps Hus restaurant.

It proved to be an appetising stroll, and it wasn’t just the sight of the deer roaming free, majestic and graceful. Centenarian trees leave the area thick with scents from the dying leaves on the damp ground, oozing their last drop of life, flushed with autumnal colour. I recalled Keats. “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.”

It was like going back in time, as if I was mingling with the past. The park, which has a long and distinguished history, has always been a favourite haunt of the royals – for many centuries, they owned it. Valdemar the Victorious (1202-1241) originally acquired it when it was it was a smaller area of land known as Boveskov, and it was one of his descendants, Frederik III (1648-1670), who decided to fence it and populate it with deer from the surrounding area. His son, Christian V (1670-1699), then extended the area to include the village of Stokkerup (he pretty much relocated all its occupants!) and turned it into a park suitable for hunting with dogs – a hobby that he picked up as a young prince at the court of the French king Louis XIV.

Peter Lieps Hus was named after Dyrehaven’s first gamekeeper – the huntsman of the piece. Behind its heavy, dark solid wooden door, it provides those who have braved the park a warm, rustic shelter. Its décor is sophisticated, but also reflects its environment. Hunting trophies and historical portraits adorn the walls, which are illuminated by tender lights, suffused with small lamps and candles, reverberating the colours of the forest. It is a venue suggestive of hidden treasures, ancient gestures and long-held knowledge.

We immediately felt at home. While the staff’s welcome was friendly, it was lovely to enter a restaurant where our German Shepherd Dog puppy, Anuk, also felt welcome (maybe we should have mentioned her when we were walking through the park! But the deer didn’t seem to mind). There were hugs, goodies and even some conversation, and it was clear the waiting staff love dogs and have expertise in the area.
As a starter, I could not say no to the promise of Fresh smoked salmon accompanied by French bread. It may be a simple and tasty combination, but I was immediately vindicated as the fillet melted in my mouth.

Next came the Fillet of steak, served with fried potatoes, carrot, aubergine, courgette, Café de Paris butter and bouquet garni. The fillet, cooked rare of course, was served with an excellent Café de Paris butter, whose secret may lie forever buried with its inventor, so difficult is it to prepare.

This deceptively named sauce, which was actually concocted in Geneva in 1941, went particularly well with the vegetables, which has been cooked on the griddle and brushed with extra virgin oil.

The first gastronomic advice I received moving to Copenhagen was: “Taste the restaurant’s Danish apple pie, it is one of the most delicious I’ve ever eaten!”

And it was true: After the first bite − or this being a fairy tale, the first kiss − I wished it would never end. The slightly sour aftertaste of the apple, paired with the sweetness of the fruit and cinnamon, and the fragrance of the base combined perfectly with the buttery white fresh cream. From that moment on, I knew life would never be the same again.

Satisfied and satiated, we left the restaurant after heartedly thanking everyone. Our hunger, walking to the restaurant, had reached a ripe old age before dying peacefully in utter contentment. And then we all lived happily ever after. The end!

Peter Lieps Hus

Dyrehaven 8, Klampenborg;
3964 0786
Open: Tue-Sat 10:00-20:00;
Sun 10:00-18:00
Cuisine: Danish
Top Dish: Dådyrhakkebøf (venison)
Price Range: Starters 84-144kr
Mains 120-204kr


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