Mahalle – fabulous Lebanese food in Copenhagen

When I saw the pictures of the food in Mahalle, a Lebanese cafe in Copenhagen, it was straight onto my to go list.  I had wanted to try the signature dish out for a while and I when I found myself close to the Mahalle in the city on Nansensgade, I thought I should give it ago (they also have the original location still in Nørrebro).

I arrived just after midday and whilst I was tempted by one of their mezze plate I decided to go for the halloumi salad (which isn’t really a salad as you will see) and also the citrus salad. The prices of the two dishes on the menu suggested they were not enormous helpings but as it turned out I ended up with a lot of food!

Whilst I was waiting for my food I admired all the gorgeous little touches all around the small basement cafe. 

Then my food arrived and I involuntarily said ‘wow!’ The ‘salad’ was a warm flatbread with a generous spread of delicious hummus, each segment topped with fried salty halloumi, a slice of avocado and a generous topping of pomegranate seeds, sumac, sesame and fresh mint. The citrus salad was a mix of orange, grapefruit and lime again topped with pomegranate seeds and mint with nuts and something wonderfully sweet.

As you can see I couldn’t manage it all but it was truly amazing! I wished I’d tried the lemonade with mint or one of the specialist teas. Definitely next time!

Kafeteria at SMK

Over the Easter break, my son and I went to the SMK for the children’s workshop and to take in a little art. I had also heard that Frederik Bille Brahe, the restaurateur behind Atelier September had recently opened a new cafe in the museum called Kafeteria. Looking at the pictures on Instagram I wasn’t immediately sure where in the museum it was but it wasn’t in the location of the previous cafe. We arrived and found that the shop and ticket office had moved sides and Kafeteria was in its old spot. A genius plan as it means you can come to the cafe without paying the entrance fee for the museum. As the area is billed as Museum Park, with tons of other museums, many without cafes, it is the perfect place to be.

It goes without saying that the appearance of the place is spot on; very Scandi but also very different to Atelier September. The menu was a little confusing at first as they offer weekly specials so the wall menu is pretty generic – for example it simply lists vegetables, meat, salad and soup etc. You need to check the printed menus for the details. The prices were reasonable but not super cheap but if you have an SMK year pass you get 10% off. However once we saw the food and tasted it, the prices make more sense. I had the cauliflower soup and bread, which was delicious, as my son chose the organic, slow cooked beef and root vegetable ragout (pictured below) and I suspected he wouldn’t managed the whole plate. Sadly I was left with very slim pickings as he loved it. I can concur that it was superb! We later found out, when I spoke to the chef to rave about the food, that we could have got a half portion for children, which is good to know if your child has a less robust appetite. The cakes looked lovely too and the coffee smelled great. We had planned to return for coffee and cake later in the afternoon but the place was packed with nowhere to sit so we decided to leave that for another day. I’m definitely coming back!

Moroccan hygge at South Harbour Cafe in Sydhavn

For some months we have been walking past a potential new cafe in Sydhavn, close to the station (come out of the station and walk towards the big crossroads). The type of place it was going to be was shrouded in window covers with not even a little gap for nosey people like me to peer into. One day I saw a man unlocking the door and although I picked up the pace to see what was inside the door was already closed by the time I got there. So on Monday morning as we walked out of the station in the early morning dark, there it was open with a man handing out delicious samples of tiny croissants. At last!img_7565

After dropping my son at school, I headed back to try out South Harbour Cafe. I have been saying for the last year and a half that we need a coffee shop here but I had no idea my wishes would be answered by something so amazing.

The cafe is owned by a local woman, Jamila, whose family are originally from Morocco, so much of the food and drink in here is inspired by that. They serve the most amazing fresh mint Moroccan tea, there is a soup of the day (only 39dkk), traditional pancakes (savoury and sweet), couscous salad and some outstanding savoury pastries called pastilla (I think) filled with meat flavoured with delicate spices. Of course there is the usual coffee menu, juices and bread rolls with cheese. All very affordable.img_7564

But what about the hygge factor? Well it is there in spades with a couple of hyggekrog, candles, and board games (my son and I sat for about an hour with our tea and a chess board, with two twenty-something girls next to us playing backgammon and then crocheting).img_7556

It is also the attention to detail I love. Jamila’s husband fitted the place out and it is just lovely. On a practical point of view they made sure there were plenty of plug sockets for laptop users and hooks under the high tables for coats and bags. The local history society helped them out with old photos of the place when it was a bakery and other wonderful shots of trams on the streets nearby. You must check out the table tops near the front door and the inspiration quotes in the bathroom.img_7582

I have been in here every day since it opened and I can see it become a regular place for me to work, read or hang out with my son. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and it has been busy with a real mix of local people so far. If you are in this area you must pop in, in fact I recommend you make a trip here regardless and enjoy some Moroccan hygge!img_7580 img_7587

Follow them on Facebook and visit at Hørdumsgade 1, 2450 Copenhagen.

Djuus – slow juices and healthy food in Østerbro

Last week I had massive cravings for the spicy eggs here but as they were closed until 10am I decided to try a new cafe, Djuus on Blegsdamsvej, close by. I was intrigued when I went passed this place on the bus before the summer holidays and the clever play on how Danes pronounce Juice (something that amused me when I was learning Danish). It also saw it getting noticed on Instagram which is always a good thing to me as this is real people endorsing something.IMG_5588

Djuus is run by Rikki and was opened a few months ago. They offer a mix and match breakfast plate (which is becoming a refreshing antidote to the standard Danish cafe brunch offerings), decent coffee (with a selection of milks including cashew milk), slow juices (of course) which were delicious. I had the matcha bowl as part of my breakfast plate and I think I need to try it a few more times to really get my taste buds around it.IMG_5589

It is a cosy place offering a healthy breakfast (and lunch) alternatives and is something that is really needed in this area close to Rigshospital. I am sure patients would enjoy a fresh juice from this cafe brought into them by their visitors (I know I would!)

Do pop in if you are in this area and enjoy a healthy start to the day (note they are not open at the weekends). IMG_5590

Address: Blegdamsvej 78, 2100 CPH Ø

Website

Grød in Østerbro

Last weekend we were walking up Nordre Frihavnsgade on Saturday morning and I spied the shop front for the new Østerbro opening of the now famous porridge cafe, Grød. I knew that one was opening in my neighbourhood but I didn’t know where. Being me I poked my nose in to see when it would be opening and I was delighted to meet the Porridge King himself, Lasse Skjønning Andersen, who was working hard to get the place ready for its opening on the 3rd May. He was charming and we had a lovely chat, as always it is great to meet the real faces behind places.IMG_4673So I headed down on Tuesday morning to the opening and as usual it was a delight. The is a certain look to all the Grød cafes (a little less so on Torvehallerne out of necessity) and I love it. The porridge as usual was tiptop and try as I might I just can’t get away from my favourite with caramel sauce, apples and almonds!DSC01690Now I don’t have to travel too far for my Grød fix and neither do you if you live this side of the city.

Address: Nordre Frihavnsgade 55, 2100 CPH Ø

 

 

New culture cafe in Østerbro

A month or so ago I noticed one of the shops on Østerbrogade on the run up to Svanemølle was under refurbishment and the sign said it was to be a culture cafe. An exciting development for a somewhat unexciting area. Salonen (The Salon) opened earlier this month and I made sure I popped in to check it out and I liked what I saw.IMG_4395

The place was bustling with a variety of people enjoying a coffee, reading magazines and just chilling out. Salonen is a  Coffee and Culture House and is the brainchild of Annemette Albrectsen, who also owns a gallery. On the flier in the cafe it says that it is a breathing space for people to enjoy an organic coffee. tea or glass of wine. There is original art of the wall from up and coming artists and book shelves of books to read or buy. There were yummy cakes and also little sweets for pocket money prices and little tummies. The basement is set up for readings and other arrangements. I picked up the events list for the month and there is something for everyone from readings for children and adults to tasting evenings and concerts. IMG_4397 IMG_4399

It’s a lovely little place and definitely worth checking out, I know I say this all the time but I really do believe that these individual kinds of places need to be recognised and used.IMG_4401

Address: Østerbrogade 222, 2100 CPH Ø

 

Bringing some Soul to Østerbro

I am often heard bemoaning the lack of interesting cafes and coffee shops in Østerbro compared to other parts of the city,  preferring to get my coffee fix in other parts of town rather than my own neighbourhood. So I was delighted when I was contacted by the team behind a new plant-based cafe opening up just a few streets away from my home. Souls certainly offers something a little bit different too.

burgerThis what they say – “At Souls, we want to put the soul back into food by offering locally sourced food of the highest quality for people who are conscious of not only what they put into their body, but of the footprint it leaves in order to reach their plate.

“Founded by two Australians, Souls keeps the Australian approach of being straight forward yet laid back – we are honest about our produce and want to offer an alternative for people who want worry-free food on the go. This translates into buckwheat pizza, authentic avocado smash, quinoa pancakes and seriously healthy juices.”panckaesWhilst I am not a vegetarian or vegan myself (don’t worry if you enjoy meat, they do have free range chicken on the menu), I do like this kind of food and like to feel that there are healthy but tasty options out there and if I am honest I am a little bored of the same kind of fare offered in cafes in the city. It is great to have something different to try and Souls offers just that.

Located on Melchoirs Plads, just off Nordre Frihavnsgade, to breathes life into a square that looks like it has real potential to become something of a community hub, rather like Balders Plads in Nørrebro. This is something that Matt, one of the two Aussies behind Souls, would like to see happen.DSC01661

I’ll be upfront and say that prior to their official opening on April 1st (tomorrow), Matt invited me in to try some of their menu but I can be honest when I say how much I enjoyed the food. My son and I had coffee and cake one afternoon and I am afraid we enjoyed the gooey chocolate cake and yuzu ‘cheesecake’ so much that we didn’t take a picture but I did take a photo of this lovely sweet potato salad I had there over Easter. Packed full of flavour and a decent size for a good filling lunch, it was delicious.DSC01659 With coffee brewed from beans from Contra Coffee, a simple but healthy breakfast menu plus wifi, this place is looking very appealing as my new morning ‘office’. They will also be open in the evenings with a great selection of wines and local beers, for a more chilled out after work tipple.

I love the simple and slightly industrial decor coupled with a warm and cosy atmosphere. There are more than few nods to the Australian heritage of the owners around the place including a surf board. Despite not being officially open yet, Souls has been busy with new customers already (I took this photo between busy periods as I tend to avoid photographing strangers)DSC01660

Souls is not worthy but offers a worthwhile and diverse experience of good food, coffee and cosy place that will, I have no doubt, be putting its mark on the local community very soon.

Why not see what it’s all about at their official launch party on Friday 1 April from 4pm. They say you will be welcomed by various bites, drinks and live music! Sounds like a great way to start the weekend. More information on the launch event here.

Address: Melchoirs Plads 3, 2100 CPH

Facebook page

Thanks to Sweet Sneak Studio for the first two photos featured here.

My new obsession – Huevos al Plato at La Esquina

It has been a while since I last found a real food obsession – one that after I eat it I want it all over again, and then can’t stop thinking about it until I have it the next time.Well, the Huevos al Plato (eggs in a plate) in a little cafe called La Esquina have become my new must eat.IMG_3320I have been to this cafe a few times before and thought the food was OK. It’s a lovely place to meet friend or to work and being close to the Lakes on the edge of Østerbro and Nørrebro makes it a perfect location for a little stroll after. I popped in here last Friday after enjoying the sunrise over the frozen lakes and just chose the warmest dish on the menu as I was frozen. It turned out to be the best choice, ever. The little earthenware dish arrived with a beautifully silky egg omelette dotted with crispy (and very spicy) bits of chorizo. The best surprise (as I hadn’t heard of this dish before) was the spicy tomato mix underneath. I devoured it and even mopped the remains out of the dish with the bread. 25kr very well spent but I wanted another. I decided it made me look a bit greedy so I didn’t.

IMG_3293I raved about this dish for days and kept thinking about it. On Tuesday despite still having a streaming cold, I found myself getting off the bus a few stops before mine and walking back to this breakfast heaven. This time I discovered they do a larger (and its is much larger) proper dish of Huevos al Plato for 65kr (small one above)  and I was happy, very happy and very full!

I shall try and last a week before i go back but there are no guarantees!DSC00381 Two other things about the place, as well as being a wonderful Spanish inspired cafe it also houses a hairdressers at the back in a separate little shop. The other is a confession from me.  I always thought that the name meant The Horse – quite why it would be called that I don’t know but upon recommending the cafe and the eggs to a Spanish barista in Riccos I discovered it means The Corner – which makes a lot more sense and makes me think I should have paid a lot more attention in Spanish class! Anyway regardless of whether it is named after a horse or a corner, make sure you try their Huevos al Plato at least once, you won’t regret it!DSC00380

La Esquina, Ryesgade 76, 2100 KBH Ø

9 great cafes in Copenhagen for freelancers

I truly believe that there is no better city to live in than Copenhagen! As a freelancer it is the perfect place to find a cosy little spot to work in.

I have lived in Copenhagen for 8 years and for the last three I have been working as a blogger and freelance writer, balancing this around my six year old son. He attends a school the opposite side of town from our home so rather than waste time travelling home after school drop off I regularly find one of my favourite cafes to work in. It isn’t difficult to find a cafe serving great coffee and pastries with free and fast wifi in Copenhagen, you just need to look for the ubiquitous MacBooks but of course there are spots that are little more special than others. Here are my favourite nine places.

Centre

Democratic Coffee, Main Library (Hovedbiblioteket), Krystalgade 15, 1172 Copenhagen democratic1In the front of the main library, in the historic centre of Copenhagen, is Democratic Coffee. This is a small cafe serving great coffee and croissants. As well as the seating inside the cafe area, you can also take your coffee to a lounge in the library. The shelves are populated with carefully chosen books from the library if you need a little distraction. With the space available in the library this is a place you can linger as long as you want.

Paludans Bogcafe, Fiolstræde 12, 1117 Copenhagen paludan1This historic cafe and second hand book shop is super popular with students and freelancers as it is located smack bang in the middle of the university quarter of the city. You need to get there early to get a seat next to a plug socket. I love this place, it has a real intellectual feel to it and once you have finished your work you can wander around the cobbled streets taking in the beauty of the area.

Frederiksberg

Maude’s Salon, Gammel Kongevej 164, 1850 Frederiksberg CmaudesMaude’s opened in 2013 and immediately became super popular with all parts of the community and in the mornings it is common to find students and freelancers looking for fast wifi and a comfy chair. The decor inside might confuse people used to the simple Danish look  but it is based on the parlour of a character – you guessed it – called Maude from the popular Danish TV programme, Matador. I regularly work here in the mornings and usually buy a couple of coffees. They have plug sockets but you need to situate yourself strategically to get one. Seating varies from comfy chairs to dining room tables and chairs – just like the proper parlour.

Nørrebro 

Retro Nørrebro, Jægersborggade 14 – 2200 København Nretro2This place is something of an eccentric choice – a slightly studenty but extremely homely not-for-profit cafe located the multi ethic neighbourhood of Nørrebro. The cafe opens at 11am and is a bustling place favoured by students of all nationalities and freelancers who are looking for a more casual environment where you can sit all day working without expecting a tap on the shoulder asking you to move on. There are shelves full of a jumble of board games just like a living room and the wifi password of ‘second home’ totally sums this place up.

Østerbro

Kaffestuen, Østerbrogade 150, 2100 Copenhagen ØkaffestuenFurther out of the city but worth a mention is this tiny cafe located on Østerbrogade, minutes from my apartment. The front of the cafe in generally for coffee drinkers but the back morphs onto a little laptop haven. It is common to find people huddled over their laptops working hard in this cosy area.  Comfy chairs, fast wifi and hot chocolate made from actual chocolate makes this place perfect. They even offer amazing gluten free cakes and have a special breakfast deal of coffee and a roll to get the day started.

Vesterbro

Bang og Jensen, Istedgade 130, 1650 Copenhagen VbangogjensenThis cafe, located in an old pharmacy building, at the more salubrious end of Istedgade in the trendy Vesterbro area of the city is the place where dreams are made. The girl working here told me that if you are looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment or just inspiration, hang around here long enough and you will find it. As befits the more gritty part of town, this cafe is still cosy but this a slightly shabby feel to it. The back room attracts the Macbookers of Vesterbro and is low lit and chilled out. The front is a little more lively and brightly lit. Its like sitting in someone’s well loved living room. For those looking for plug sockets look for a lamp and you shall find them!

All over the city

Riccos and Joe & the JuicejoeandjuiceThere are two homegrown chains you will find all over the city for that quick Wifi access. Joe & the Juice is a juice and coffee chain offering fast wifi in all their locations. It can be loud and lively but useful for quick access to emails or urgent work. Riccos are also in various locations in the city and ideal for a longer stay but they can get busy with the non freelance coffee drinking population.

The best!

Republikken,  Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 Copenhagen Vrep2Just a short walk from Tivoli and the main station is an amazing space designed specifically for freelancers. Republikken was started ten years ago and is both a cafe and a co-working space. For freelancers visiting the city the cafe is the perfect place to work, you need to buy a month pass but it is well worth it. It is a wonderfully friendly, chilled out environment and there are both comfy seating areas and desk areas available.

Any other tips?

My five favourite places to eat in Berlin {and other tips}

On Friday I shall be on my way to Berlin for the Hive Conference. I lived in Berlin for about 18 months and today I thought I would share five of my favourite places to eat (plus some other local tips) for fellower Hivers or in case you find yourself in the city this summer. five places in berlin Yumcha Heroes, Mitte/Prenzlauer Berg – some of the best Chinese dumplings ever (IMO). Address: Weinbergsweg 8, 10119 Berlin. Also in this area: Weinbergsweg is also an interesting shopping street, my favourite shop on this street is Schoene Schreibwaren, which sells beautiful leather purses/wallets, pencil cases and glasses cases. At the top of the hill is Glücklich am Park (Kastanienallee 54), a lovely little cafe with a shop selling beautiful and individual clothes and accessories upstairs. The pretty chairs outside are Instagram gold.

Nola’s am Weinberg, Mitte/Prenzlauer Berg – quirky Swiss themed restaurant with a lovely terrace and delicious seasonal menu. If the risotto is on, have it! Address: Veteranenstraße 9, 10119 Berlin. It is situated in a lovely public park, Volkspark am Weinbergsweg, perfect for relaxing in the Berlin spring sunshine.

Da Piadina, Mitte – little family run Italian cafe serving amazing homemade piadina or flat breads. Address: Auguststrasse 49a, 10119 Berlin. Also in this area: Close by is a fantastic magazine and bookshop, Do you read me?, which is well worth a visit. The Barn (Auguststraße 58) is a well hyped coffee house you should at least try out whilst browsing in the galleries along this street.

La Käserie, Prenzlauer Berg – fantastic little cheese shop and cafe. Try the cheese and charcuterie plate, you won’t regret it. Address: Lychener Strasse 6, 10437 Berlin

Cha Cha, Mitte – a Thai restaurant  with a concept a bit like Wagamamas but better. Address: Friedrichstrasse 63, 10117 Berlin

My reviews from 2012/13 here: Yumcha Heroes, Nola’s, Da PiadinaLa Käserie, Cha Cha.