Impressive value, and to think the co-owner’s a lawyer!

The area between Bredgade and Borgergade in the Inner City has within the last year experienced quite a boom of new (or reopened) restaurants and cafes. So perhaps you might ask yourself: why should we be interested in yet another one? And even more precisely, why would someone want to open yet another restaurant when the competition is already so high? 

And it gets worse. The owners of Restaurant Kjøbenhavn have absolutely no experience in the restaurant business: Peter Hejler is a lawyer and Rasmus Rask is an army officer. Having said that, maybe it’s their enthusiasm and courage that makes Kjøbenhavn a place worth visiting. “We are both entrepreneurs by heart, and when we saw the premises, we instantly knew we had to buy this place and renovate it. We were not sure what we wanted to use them for, and at the same time, we felt that the centre of Copenhagen really needed a place where quality and price would be in perfect balance. That is why Kjøbenhavn is now a reality,” explains Hejler. 

The restaurant opened last November with the intention that it would be “for everyone”. That is why you can get your morning coffee fixture there, or a weekend brunch, business lunch and gourmet dinner − the place is open from early morning until late at night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Perfectly placed in close proximity to many museums, galleries and antique shops, it is a godsend for frugal tourists and culture vultures as a three-course meal for 300 kroner in the city centre is almost unheard of. 

We visited Kjøbenhavn one early Saturday evening, at which time most of the tables in the front room were occupied by cheerful customers. The cuisine is quintessentially Danish; the owners are so inspired by Copenhagen they have even named some of the dishes after different neighbourhoods. 

We started with a soup, a classic winter warmer called Burning Bridges, which is made of leek and potato with a very refreshing twist of lime. Accompanied by home-baked fresh bread, this would make a dish of its own and we slowly began to understand the concept of having the restaurant open all day and offering all the dishes in two different sizes, either as a starter or a main. 

Our second course was the romantically-entitled ‘Memories of Christianshavn’, a buckwheat risotto with pollock that at first sight looked like something served for a trendy Copenhagener on a diet and later turned out to be the best dish of the evening. Delicious and creamy buckwheat risotto accompanied pollock (I don’t recall eating this before here), a mild fish whose texture of nice big flakes resembles cod, but has a slightly more pronounced taste. 

My dining companion opted for a more manly choice: a beef steak with a variation of grilled and pickled onions surprisingly served with hollandaise sauce instead of béarnaise, and it was here that the dish shone thanks to the lemony taste of the sauce, which gave the dish exactly the right sparkle. 

The menu changes about every two months, depending on the season, so by the time you read this, you might be offered something completely different. It’s always worth checking the website. Among the more interesting dishes available on the menu all year round are ‘Kjøbenhavnerstang’, the traditional Danish ice cream, and the ‘Amagermad’, a traditional open-faced sandwich that has always been popular with the working men of this city. The kitchen is run by Rasmus Lund Jonasson, an up-and-coming chef who trained at Madklubben. 

Most of the ingredients come from organic farms around Copenhagen, while the majority of the imported wines and champagnes are organic and bio-dynamic. And the coffee and tea are fair-trade, which indeed goes hand in hand with the fact that Copenhagen is the city in the world where the most organic food, as a percentage of the whole, is consumed per inhabitant. 

Restaurant Kjøbenhavn

Dronningens Tværgade 10, Cph K; 2244 6666,; Open: Tue-Thu 17:00-24:00, Fri, Sat & Sun 09:30-24:00; Cuisine: Danish; Top Dish: Buckwheat risotto; Price Range: 3-course menu 300kr;

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