My husband and I are not very much bothered by food. So I’m never particularly interested in “food and travel” type of magazines or blog articles. When I did my comprehensive, fully-coloured scrapbook for Copenhagen, no information concerning food was included. Having to eat and making myself clear what I’d like to order when traveling in a foreign country is a bit of a intimidating thought. I have no idea about their language or the look of any dishes. Do people usually drink wine, juice or water? Can I use my fingers? Is this dish I’m pointing at too big or too small for me? Especially when the waiters are in a hurry or look at me with an unbelievable look, I just hate my existence in that time and space. So, although I heard there are many many 3 star Michelin restaurants in Copenhagen, I didn’t plan to go to any of them (fairly easy decision, probably cannot afford – problem solved).
So to reduce food related stress to a minimum, we chose an apartment hotel with a small kitchen. I thoroughly loved it. The room was huge, clean, considerately laid out, in a convenient location and cheap! The kitchen saved us a lot of money from eating in restaurants as well.
I get hungry very frequently because (I think) I have a smaller than usual stomach. And I do not function well without constantly being fed. So one day we ended up in a queue in Torvehallerne, a market in Copenhagen. Because, one, as a good British resident, you stand in every queue you come across; two, I saw these little things waving at me. They stood so neatly and looked so cheerful. I was convinced straightaway that I was going to love it – the food and the experience. I wasn’t quite sure why.
Thinking about it now, the open sandwiches were displayed in such a tourist-friendly way. It optimises the stressful ordering process to a simple “this one, this one and this one please”. Nice and simple.
Plus everyone speaks perfect English in Copenhagen. Not even with an accent. I specifically had a few lessons to learn Danish and mastered four ways to say thank you. But only had chance to use it once. Maybe I should be brave and say “tak” louder next time.
This was our first stress free and, even for me, a very pleasant food experience in Copenhagen (not because I’m fussy, I’m just easily worried about everything). The second one was near Grundtvig’s Church (the visit to the church itself was a wonderful experience too). So in a urgent need of a loo, we couldn’t see a choice but this obscure restaurant/cafe – by “obscure” I mean the buildings around really were carefully designed to complement the Church, I nearly couldn’t tell it’s a restaurant there. (Does anyone know if there is a toilet in Grundtvig’s Church?)
But do not miss it if you come to this area. It gave us a lovely surprise. Here’s the story.
We went in with great uncertainty (just like we do to every foreign restaurant, even British ones some times). It was a bit early for lunch because there wasn’t a single soul there (question number 98, what time do people have lunch in this country?). There wasn’t a single customer but there was a serious looking lady arranging some beautiful pink roses on a table (question number 99, why does she look unhappy? are we too early?). Very soon there was another friendlier lady appeared, looked like any average middle age women in your street, wavy hair, a floral dress. The menu looked home made and we chose two open-faced sandwiches (I said “open sandwich” at the beginning. The first serious lady corrected me very quickly and said “open-faced”! So I’ll make sure I use “open-faced” here).
When the dishes we randomly picked appeared in front of us, I was telling myself off once again for judging the quality of the food by the look of the restaurant’s building, staff and menu printing. I loved every bit of it, especially the crispy seaweed and onion. Never had it like that before. I wonder if every restaurant big and small in Copenhagen has this standard of food, or if all travel guides miss this restaurant out.
The two ladies became very friendly in the end, plus the third lady appeared later on. I really hope they heard my timid “tak” when we left, but at least I’m sure they saw my empty plate and a big grin on my face.