Where the summer sandwich spread is no small potato
The arrival of summer (and thanks to the recent spate of sunshine, it is fair to say that it has indeed finally arrived), means a bountiful crop of potatoes. To celebrate both the arrival of the new potatoes and the warmer climes, Restaurant Kronborg has devised a concise but well thought-out menu of kartoffelmadder, or potato sandwiches. Carbohydrates served on top of carbohydrates can be a tricky one to sell to audiences, and like the potato pizza, many people won’t even try it. Admittedly, potato served on rye bread doesn’t initially sound like a mouthwatering prospect, particularly on a warm day when everyone claims to ‘just wanting something light to eat – like a salad’. It only seemed fair then to try each of their four open sandwiches on offer to give them all a fair trial, and it was done on a recent blisteringly hot afternoon. The four different kartoffelmadder that my friend and I were served were a pleasant surprise.
Potatoes with smoked salmon and herb crème were always going to be good – I’d say this was the safest option. Potatoes with oven baked ham and a crème of smoked cheese were also pleasant. Thanks to it being oven baked, the ham is best described as being like very crispy bacon, but without the grease or the fat and with a very good crunch to it. Perhaps the smoky flavour of the cheese was a little lost, but all in all, it tasted very good.
Things got a little bit more interesting when the potatoes were served with a granny-salad – that is, lettuce tossed with lemon, sugar and dressing and served under deep -fried anchovies. In being fried, the anchovies had lost most of the vinegary taste that I personally love, but some people aren’t so keen on. My accompanying friend wasn’t a fan of anchovies, but she even enjoyed the dish, and the batter was light and didn’t overwhelm the tiny fish.
My favourite of the four, however, was Kronborg’s Aquavit sandwich, which consisted of pickled herring, onions, capers and of course, potatoes. Even after spending a year in Copenhagen, I had never tasted pickled herring, and it tasted divine. Admittedly, I wanted to like the pickled herring anyway because it’s a Danish delicacy, and so I was very pleased when my taste for it turned out to be genuine. Just writing about it, in fact, makes me want to go back and eat it again. I’m now left wishing that I had discovered this restaurant earlier as it’s definitely somewhere I would take visiting guests who are after a taste of traditional Danish food.
Restaurant Kronborg’s focus on good quality, local ingredients that celebrate Denmark is even continued onto their drinks menu. To accompany our food, we drank the New York Lager from the nearby Nørrebro Bryghus, which conveniently happens to be my favourite beer from that brewery. We were also offered a glass of the Kronborg aquavit, which we both tasted, but neither of us were big fans of. Even still, it felt right to have it on the table. Aquavit may be a little lost on my taste buds, but the menu boasts over 20 different aquavit varieties for those who can appreciate its subtle nuances.
Admittedly the kartoffelmadder aren’t cheap, and the tight-fisted student in me would struggle to regularly pay over 79kr for an open-faced sandwich. However, after eating the equivalent of two each, I was feeling rather full. Having said that, if I ever visit again I will definitely be leaving room for the almond cake with chocolate crème.
The restaurant also deserves credit for retaining its traditional food and décor but not being left behind from a technological perspective – the restaurant has a well-kept and regularly updated website and blog which is worth a look, particularly for the recipes. Judging by the interaction between the staff and some of the other customers, the restaurant has its regulars. This comes as no surprise as the warm, traditional interior combined with the fantastic service, makes for a very welcoming experience. If you live in Copenhagen you should pay a visit, and if you are just visiting, then I can’t recommend anywhere better to go for a traditional Danish kartoffelmad.
Brolæggerstræde 12, Cph K; 3313 0708,
Open: Mon-Sat 11:00-17:00
Cuisine: Traditional Danish
Top Dish: Aquavit Sandwich
Price Range: Kartoffelmad starts at 79kr