The tapas house comfortably keeping memories of Biscaya at bay

Tapashuset in Vesterbro certainly delivers the goods

It’s a big lie. The rain in Spain doesn’t fall mainly on the plain, but it does in Denmark. The sky looked ready to burst as we dashed into Tapashuset, a bustling eatery located not in the Catalan foothills, but in the heart of Copenhagen, ten minutes’ walk from Rådhuspladsen.

If you’re desperate for the warmth and chatter of an authentic Spanish restaurant, but can’t cram in that dreamy Iberian getaway, settle for a warming meal at Tapashuset – the perfect contrast to Copenhagen’s wintry evenings.

Catalan fire in abundance
In line with its subtly Spanish interior and well-stocked wine display, the restaurant has deep connections with España.  Our hostess for the evening, Alexandra, the manager of the restaurant, has Catalan fire in abundance. After ordering the well-balanced house red, we followed her advice and followed up with her punchy Rioja favourite – a powerful 2006 Viña Pomal. 

Alexandra recently orchestrated the restaurant’s relaunch. It was out with the ageing interior and in with fresh colours, lighting and a new waiting team and name. “We sometimes get customers coming in asking where Biscaya [its name since 2001] disappeared,” jokes Alexandra. “But the makeover has been very popular.”

Why settle for three?
Why have three courses when you can have 14? Tapas always gets a gold star from foodies like me who love to try a bit of everything.  We opted for the tapas deal (349kr/pp) that showcases the restaurant’s 14 most popular morsels in five waves of glorious culinary exploration. 

To kickstart the nibbling frenzy, we had a traditional Catalonian bread rubbed down with olive oil and grated tomatoes. The first tranche of tapas were neatly presented two-by-two on a wooden block.  We slowly marched through the colourful display of seven savoury goodies starting with spicy chorizo and superbly salty serano. 

Next up was a filling cube of Spanish omelette sat next to toasted bread slivers topped with crushed olives.  Topping this round were the bacon wrapped dates – a salty sweet combo with an orange marmalade that helped the calorific bundles slip down perfectly.  

Round two was a perfectly sized portion of calamari. It’s easy to get overloaded with this rich snack, but the accompanying aïoli, lemon and crunchy sea salt cut through the crisp rings to balance the fishy treat. Chalky goat’s cheese with chunky watermelon was a perfect palate cleanser to prepare us for the next wave.

The peak of piggery
Alexandra then delivered four palm-sized stew pots starting with meatballs in a dark and savoury sauce, tender pork cheeks, spicy garlic prawns and handcut chips.  Tapashuset’s menu is constantly under refinement and we were the guinea pigs for this latest tweak – a change the management felt necessary due to the pork cheeks being a little too rich with red wine. Its replacement, a beer-based sauce, superbly complemented the moist choppers.

We had just reached the peak of our piggery but still made room for the dessert selection: a chocolate mousse or savoury serving of manchego, goat’s cheese and walnuts. Battling between the two might be tricky, but both rounded off the culinary expedition successfully. 

Perhaps I’m biased to any gastronomic style that explores so many culinary niches, but Tapashuset’s touch on these Spanish morsels was simply magnífico!

Jernbanegade 4, Cph V; open daily 12:00-24:00; three courses 450kr, 14 tapas 349kr, takeaway included; 

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