Shamyat – amazing baklava on Amager

Thanks to an instagram post from some people I know who have just moved to an apartment on Amagerbrogade I found out about the most amazing baklava shop called Shamyat. It is the kind of place you might miss as it is located on Amager Boulevard, a little before the main parades of shops start on Amagerbrogade.

On Sunday I decided that it was time to try this place and I was not disappointed. As soon as I walked in the door the man behind the counter offered me a taster and that was enough to know that this was the place to get some delicious Mediterranean delicacies.

I asked the man for a selection box and he popped in two of each type. In my excitement to order I hadn’t really looked closely at the prices. As he presented me with the box below I was astounded only to be charged 50dkk. And it was 50dkk well spent!

They went down a storm at home so we’ll definitely be back! Shamyat also sell a selection of more generic (and not doubt delicious) petit fours and boxes of little Dannebrog cake/cookie type things.

So if you don’t live on Amager pop on the 5C bus, which stops almost directly outside and get the taste of the Mediterranean this autumn. (Address: Amager Boulevard 127)

On another note, I am starting to record the first interviews this wee, for my forthcoming podcast, which will be launched in October. If you are interested in hearing more about the podcast and other Dejlige Days news please sign up for my newsletter here.

Kalaset – a little Swedish corner {from the archives}

We don’t often spend a lot of time in the centre of the city unless we are a mission to do something, for example visit a museum, or go shopping but this week we’ve had guests from the States and spent a little more time in the city than usual. Cue exposure to tourists en masse but that’s another post altogether! Last week a couple of girls stopped me at the bus stop on Østerbrogade and asked me the best way to get to a cafe called Kalaset. I hadn’t heard of it but Google had so I was able to help. After a visit to the Workers’ Museum on Tuesday my husband said he had Googled local places and this place sounded good and it was Kalaset again! So fate said we had to go there.DSC01020DSC01009

It is exactly my kind of place. A bit quirky, a bit gritty, very cluttered and a lot mismatched. Plus the menu was amazing. I am getting a little tired of the generic brunch menu offered in a lot of places, even when it is well executed so the Vegan Brunch I chose was a refreshing change. Falafels, hummus, tapenade and a mouthwatering Moroccan inspired warm lentil salad were the stars on the plate. My son forsook his pancakes to share my plate of food, it was that good.DSC01014

Kalaset, Swedish for party,  has been here for around eight years and calls itself a little Swedish corner of Copenhagen.  The little touches such as all the old radios mounted on the walls, the bare brickwork, which despite seeing this a lot, I still love. The cafe was cosy and sunlit, but you still got the feeling it would be very warm and inviting in the winter too. I definitely felt this was somewhere I would be returning to, and soon.DSC01011 It is open late and becomes a lively bar in the evenings with a happy hour between 10pm and midnight (at time of writing) and I can imagine it is a noisy, hot and fun place to be.DSC01012 DSC01017

Homemade jams and Nutella – perfect!DSC01018

 

Address: Vendersgade 16, 1363 Copenhagen

Website

{Originally posted July 9 2015}

Six places to buy gluten free food in Copenhagen

Six places to buy gluten free food in CopenhagenA while back I wrote about cafes and bakeries offering gluten-free food in Copenhagen  but I realise that people who need gluten-free food also need it to cook with it on an everyday basis and finding that food can feel like a challenge. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 people in Denmark suffer from a sensitivity to gluten and for a small country that seems a lot.

I asked a friend who needs to eats gluten-free about the kind of foods she buys regularly and also the foods that are the holy grail of gluten-free eating and below are the places in Copenhagen that meet these needs. For reference there is no specific logo to look out for but most suitable products are marked Gluten Free (in English) or Glutenfri (in Danish).

All of these places offer crackers, baking mixes, flour, porridge oats and breakfast cereals, pasta, biscuits and bread so I have mentioned other items.

1 Astrid Och Aporna – this is a new shop opened on Christians Winthers Vej, Frederiksberg that sells organic, vegan and gluten-free foods. There is a wide selection of the usual foods but also a big selection of dressings and mayonnaise. They will soon be stocking gluten-free breadcrumbs and other products If you are looking for lactose free, vegan, organic or other specialist foods including ready-made salads, this is the place for you.  Astrid Och Aporna is a Swedish brand and you can see more of their own brand products here.astrid och aporna

2 Urtehuset – there are three physical shops (Østerbro, Frederiksberg and Lyngby) and an online shop offering a selection of gluten-free foods. They sell gluten-free remoulade and baking powder as well as the products above. They also have a cafe, Raw and Rustic, in the Fredriksberg one, which serves lovely gluten free food.

3 Meny (formerly Superbest) – this supermarket offers the best selection of gluten-free foods I have seen in a supermarket here. You can read (with a translator tool if you can’t read Danish) about their approach to gluten-free foods here.

4 Other supermarkets – including Irma, Kvickly, Føtex – most of the other supermarkets offer a small selection of the usual gluten-free items above. But particular mention to Føtex that sells pizza base mixes, soy sauce and one gluten-free beer. Kvickly has a couple of gluten-free pizzas in their freezer section. You will normally find all the gluten-free food in a dedicated section. Schär seems to be the main brand carried in supermarkets here.

5 On line grocers – Nemlig.com and Irma.dk – on-line groceries are quite a new concept to Copenhagen. One of the biggest is Nemlig.com sells a basic range of gluten-free food but interestingly have a number of gluten-free recipes in their recipe section including a cauliflower pizza. Irma.dk is the best online grocers for gluten-free food with all the usual suspects but also sausages/hot dogs, a couple of frozen ready meals, fish frikadeller, and leverpostej (Liver pate). You can also (for a higher delivery cost) order some gluten-free foods from The British Corner Shop online shop.

6 Health food shops – there are a number of health food shops dotted around the city that sell small selections of gluten-free foods and you may find a place that sells a hard to find product amongst them. But again this is where the internet is your friend. Naturoghelse.dk offers a massive selection of gluten-free foods and some I hadn’t seen elsewhere or infrequently including baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, vitamin tablets, tinned soups, curry pastes, falafel mix, stock and sweet chilli sauce.

I was pleased to find all the products my friend mentioned available somewhere in Copenhagen or online but sadly one thing my friend mentioned she wished she could get gluten-free was tortilla wraps and they still seem to be elusive here.

Do you eat gluten-free and have any recommendations in Copenhagen to add?  Please leave a comment below.

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.

Wild Kiwi Pies – the answer to your {meat and veg} pie prayers

About a week or so ago an interesting thing popped up on my Facebook feed. There was a new pie shop opening in Valby. Now when I say pies I don’t mean American pies full of fruit, I mean proper meat pies – a very British and it seems an Antipodean thing. I will be up front and say that although I am pretty much integrated into Danish life I really miss a good hot meat pie. So last Friday I made my way to Valby to find out of this new place, Wild Kiwi Pies, would be the answer to my pie cravings.

Wild Kiwi Pies has only been open for a couple of weeks. The interior looked great but they are still waiting for their new fancy signage outside. As you know I am a big fan of raw brick walls so I already felt good about this place but did the pies match up to the interior? I looked the menu and I wasn’t quite sure where to start in choosing (you can see the full menu here). There were some interesting combinations but I wanted to go a bit old school beef pie. Stuart, the owner of Wild Kiwi Pies and the creator of the pies was happy to come out from the kitchen in his floury apron to talk me through the pies and also a bit about the shop.DSC01601After years of corporate life he decided to give his own business making and selling pies a go and the motto on the website is “Slowly changing Danish food habits one pie at a time.” It’s not enough to attract the expat market, Stuart wants to get Danes on the pie train and become converted to pies. I love it when there is a real person with passion behind a business and it is great to meet them too.  A pie shop like this is a unique thing here but in New Zealand there would be as many pie shops in an area  as we have pizza takeaways – this was something new that I learnt as I had always thought of meat pies as being a very British thing. A culture lesson as well as a lovely lunch.

But back to the pies – in the end I went for the NZ beef, red pepper and caramelised onion pie. The pastry has the right amount of puff to it but was perfectly structured. I was a little apprehensive about cutting into the pie, especially as Stuart was still chatting to me and I didn’t want to offend him. I feared that the meat filling would be too dense and the gravy wouldn’t ooze out a little – for me the ooze is very important.

DSC01599Thankfully this pie has the right amount of ooze for me as you can see. The filling was delicious – sweet from the onions and red pepper but with a kick of black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. The beef was tender and there were no chewy or suspicious bits (another pet pie hate of mine). All in all I would say from my pie expert’s point of view this was the perfect pie. Good pastry structure, oozy filling, delicious gravy and tender meat. It was also very filling.

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If you are already a meat pie lover get your pieface down to Valby as soon as possible and try one of Stuart’s delicious pies (or sausage rolls). If you haven’t tried this kind of pie before then this is the perfect place to have your pie initiation. DSC01605

Some practical details – you can buy hot pies in the store to take away or eat there and there are a number of price combos making it the perfect stop for lunch. A single pie is 49dkk which is a pretty good deal if you ask me. You can also buy some of the pies chilled or frozen to cook at home. Wild Kiwi Pies also offers wholesale catering options. The shop is located minutes from Valby Station.

Also a note on the menu on the website. each pie has a little profile about it including all the ingredients and also a spice index to aid you in choosing and is especially helpful if you need to avoid certain ingredients such as gluten and lactose. There is also a vegan pie. You can, of course, check these details by asking in store.DSC01606

Address: Toftegårds Allé 43, 2500 Valby

Website

NB this is not a sponsored post I just genuinely loved the pie and want try them.

August B – some theatre with your coffee

Over the summer we discovered a lovely little hidden gem of a cafe that had been right under our noses for some time. I regularly catch the 1A bus from Kongens Nytorv from outside the Royal Danish Theatre but I had never notice the little door on the side facing Magasin leading to August B. This cafe/coffee shop is located in the lobby area of the theatre and is used as the bar during performances.

It is a wonderful place with perfect little theatrical and ballet related paraphernalia all around, it is almost like a little museum. It is named after August Bournonville, who is one of the pillars of the Danish ballet tradition and was ballet master at the Royal Theatre from 1830 to 1877.IMG_1508

I just adore this stack of well-worn pastel pink ballet shoes and of course the flamboyant costumes. It had a peaceful yet vibrant feel to the place and there are lots of lovely little spots to enjoy a coffee or cake, whilst soaking up the theatrical atmosphere.IMG_1509

Where possible the food and drink is organic, sustainably sourced and Fairtrade. My iced coffee was perfect and I have been back a few more times since. It is a great alternative to some of the busier coffee shops in this area. And I love discovering all the little treasures on display.IMG_1513 IMG_1514 IMG_1515

Address: Kongens Nytorv 9, 1017 Copenhagen

Website

Coffee and books in Sluseholmen

There are two things in life I enjoy – a good cup of coffee and a good browse in a bookshop. Sadly living in a country where the native language is not my own, finding browsing opportunities is hard. There are some English bookshops here and they offer a reasonable selection (such as here, here and here) but I really want to see a bookshelf that looks like the one below to really delve into.DSC01215

So you can imagine my delight when I discovered this one at the back of Riccos in Sluseholmen. My new morning beat is completely new to me and all my old haunts for coffee after school drop off are not so convenient anymore. One of the mums at my son’s new school told me there was a coffee shop close by to the school so I headed off in the right direction and sure enough there it was. DSC01218

First of all some thoughts on the coffee shop itself.  Like most of you I was familiar with Riccos and have a few favourites already. such as the one on Strandboulevarden, so I knew the coffee would be good. This place has only been open since March this year and is currently the largest Riccos in the city. I like the way that each Riccos is different and fits with the vibe of the area and the building it is located in. Sluseholmen is a newly built area so they had a blank canvas to work on for the coffee shop and I love the cosy, arty but industrial feel of the place. It fits with the variation and modern feel in the area but also still manages to be hyggeligt (the most important box to tick in regard to Danish coffee houses!)DSC01221

But let’s get back to the vast floor to ceiling bookshelves. They are not for decoration but an enormous selection of new and secondhand books to buy. There are many shelves of English language books and loads I have never seen before but really want to discover – plus they are reasonably priced. I came away with this book, which I have never seen before but thought sounded interesting. The bookshop is operated by a third-party called Næste Runde, which was formerly a bookshop on Jægersborggade and still has a presence there in Rubæks Bøger, and the coffee shop staff take the money on their behalf.

IMG_1756Sluseholmen isn’t difficult to get to from the city centre and the number 14 bus stops almost outside Riccos or why not get the boat bus and enjoy a harbour ride on your way to get your next new read?

Address: Sluseholmen 28, 2450 Copenhagen

 

Punjabi – a must-try for curry fans

I will start with a disclaimer, this is not a sponsored post although it may read like one. It is a public service post for all expats who are missing a great Indian meal.

I miss very few things from living in the UK but a decent hot curry not made hot by the addition of about ten chillies is one of them. So I was tentatively excited when I saw a former kebab shop across the street from our apartment being refurbished and renamed as Punjabi with a sign on the front saying it would be offering Indian food prepared by an Indian chef. Their menus appeared in a little glass box outside the shop and a sign announcing a 50% deal on meals on their opening night of the first of August.

IMG_1663On that date I made my way over clutching our order to be faced by a massive queue and a wait of an hour (at least) as the good people of Østerbro took advantage of a bargain. I decided to wait for another day.

That day came last night. We ordered samosa, chicken tikka masala (for my husband), a chana masala for me and a few sides such as rice (which unusually the main dishes do not automatically come with), roti and a naan bread (which looked homemade). I asked for my chana masala to be made hot.

To say this is the best Indian meal I have eaten in Denmark is doing it a disservice.  It was probably one of the best I have eaten from an Indian takeaway ever outside of Aberdeen (which surprisingly is the home of a massive collection of amazing Indian restaurants). Many places here seem to have one sauce that they add different things to and call it a different name but each of the sauces were very distinctly different, mine was nicely spicy without the addition of a ton of fresh chillies. The dishes were generous and the bill was affordable. I fear that there general level of spice may be too much for the average Dane and I hope that they don’t adapt to this audience. They say their purpose is to improve the standard the standard of Indian food in Denmark, I would agree they have managed that goal!

It is located dangerously close to our place so I see many more delicious meals in my future. So if you are on the look out for a decent curry check out their website and get on down to Østerbro (they also already have a place on Amager ) or order your takeaway directly from them. They will charge from 29 kr for a delivery, and the payment is available with cash or mobilepay before the delivery man leaves the takeaway.

Adresses:
Strandboulevarden 168, 2100 København Ø
Amagerbrogade 188, 2300 København S
 Website

Brunch at Onkel A in Vejle

When we were heading to Vejle this summer I asked Helen Russell, author of Living Danishly, to recommend a few places to eat in the town. She recommended Onkel A, located in the heart of the town. On our first day, after visiting The Wave, we made our way through the town to this place for brunch. Whilst located in a modern building and a little pedestrian area, the cafe was very cosy and also fairly busy when we arrived, always a good sign in my book.

DSC01055Onkel A serves organic food and makes a point that it is a slow food place. I prefer to eat food that time has been taken over and not rushed so this was fine by me. There was plenty to choose on the menu but we all went for a brunch. I always think that a brunch is the best way to get a feel of a place and also I was starving!DSC01046 DSC01047 As you can see it was really something special. Time and care had been taken on the production and presentation of each item. I usually don’t eat a tuna salad on a brunch plate as it is often a tuna mousse but this was tuna meat dressed very lightly in a vinaigrette and was perfect. I savoured every mouthful of the meal. If you find yourself in Vejle I would make sure you have at least one meal in Onkel A.DSC01053

Address: Orla Lehmannsgade 3, 7100 Vejle

Thoughts on the Starbucks invasion and supporting independents

I am the first to admit that I enjoy the odd Starbucks’ Caramel Macchiato when visiting America but I have to say that I enjoy a coffee from an independent coffee shop much more and seek these out. I also enjoy the experience that independents give you, from the ambience and personality to the food and of course, the coffee. Each coffee shop I either frequent regularly or get drawn to in this city has something different about it and I love that. I have written about this before and I am not ashamed to bang home the point again and again as I find new places here or relax in an old favourite.

DSC01149Friends comment, when visiting, how much they love the cafe scene here. In fact a quote from this article in The Guardian in 2012 sums this up – “It may be a small nation but the Danes definitely have an entrepreneurial spirit. In Copenhagen they have clung on to their independent shops and cafes, with chains such as Starbucks hemmed within the confines of the airport.” 

So you can perhaps understand the surge of outrage I felt when I spotted not just one but two new openings of Starbucks here in Copenhagen, on the same day.

I couldn’t bring myself to use photos of an actual Starbucks but instead I thought I’d like to share some of this fab place we enjoyed a coffee in whilst in Århus. If you love coffee, exposed bricks and VW camper vans then this is the place for you. If you are looking for an independent coffee shop here in Copenhagen here are a few I enjoy.

One forthcoming opening is at Frederiksberg Centre, which is especially ironic as I previously observed how ‘American’ the newly renovated and expanded centre felt. Within a few minutes walk of the centre you can find a number of great independent coffee shops. Likewise the other one I saw was seconds from Torvehallerne, home to The Coffee Collective and other independents. I’d like to be charitable but I think the location of these new Starbucks is designed to attempt to corner the market and harm independents – although there are some arguments that a Starbucks can make an independent coffee house thrive, it just feels a little to aggressive and impersonal in a city that thrives on individual cafes and shops and has a culture that appears to push against the march of the chains.DSC01150

So please, no matter how much the artificial pumped in smells of coffee attract you to these impersonal places, support  local coffee shops, like the coffee shop pictured in this post, and homegrown businesses, it’s what the uniqueness of the cities, especially Copenhagen, is built on.

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