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!

The view from the Mærsk Tower

One of the things I love about Copenhagen (and something I hope will continue) is the democratisation of spaces. There are many cities where the waterfront is exclusively for rich people who can afford to live in prime real estate, not so in Copenhagen. Likewise most educational building offer access to the public, whether it is to use sports hall and playground after hours or in the case of the new Mærsk Tower on the edge of Nørrebro to be able to enjoy an amazing vista for free.

Mærsk Tower is the new 15 storey building in the heart of what is known as Copenhagen Science City and houses the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences of the University of Copenhagen. The architecture of the tower is based on an idea of creating communities – between the researchers, between students and the city.

I was delighted to hear that is possible to visit the viewing area on the top floor of the building as a member of the public without prior arrangement (there are tours organised and sometime the area is closed for private functions but it tells you at the lifts if this is the case). The public view faces towards the city and across to Sweden, down to Vestamager and the height of the windows means you get an undisturbed view. The view from the other side of the building is not open to the public as this side of the floor is the faculty lounge. You can read more about visiting the tower here and here

Exploring Nørrebro – Stefansgade

Back in the summer I had a lovely morning walking around Stefansgade and somehow or other I didn’t share it here so if you can excuse the non seasonal blue skies and tulips, here is a guide to a few of my favourite spots on this street.

Along with Jægersborggade,  Stefansgade is one of the trendier streets in Nørrebro but I think it still retains a local feel to it, Jægersbroggade seems to get much more publicity. Although this is thought to be a hipsterish area, there are a lot less beards and mankles to be spotted here than in Vesterbro.IMG_0104

First up is Mikeller and Friends, part of the Mikeller micro brewery bars in the city, this place is modern and cool but one of the places in the city to enjoy fantastic craft beers. The usually have about forty beers to choose from – both from Mikeller and other micro brewers. They also have an arrangement with US brewer, 3 Floyds, and it is the only place outside the US you can buy 3 Floyd beers on draught. Years ago when I worked for CAMRA this kind of place would have been a dream come true – real ales being enjoyed by cool people in a trendy location. Address: Stefansgade 35, 2200 CPH N

IMG_0109Next is Stefanos Grønne Hjørne (Green Corner), a little greengrocers selling organic produce and more exotic foods. They have an amazing selection of olives and feta cheese and say that a minimum of their stock is 60% organic. Great place to pick up some food to enjoy at home or in the nearby park. Address: Husumgade 50, 2200 CPH N.

IMG_0112Lille Peter pub on corner of Stefansgade and Søllerødgade may not be everyone’s cup of tea but its historic nature is well worth noting. It is what is known as a brown pub here, one in which one can smoke. Established 1903, it is one of the oldest in Nørrebro.  Beers are cheap and if you want you can always sit outside. Address: Stefansgade 14, 2200 CPH N.IMG_0113Finally I love a little corner coffee shop cum vinyl record store called Good Life, located opposite Lille Peter. They are allowed to play music outside the cafe and it gives a wonderful chilled out feel to the street (not sure I would be so keen if was their neighbour though!) and the coffees are very inexpensive. The guys that run it are passionate about music but also about coffee so a great combo! Address: Stefansgade 12, 2200 CPH N

IMG_0115 There are many other little interesting shops to poke around in here but I love that it still has something of an authentic feel to the street, which I hope will last. Once an Emmerys opens up here I will know the end is nigh!IMG_0119

Exploring Nørrebro – Balders Plads

There are sections of Nørrebro that get talked about a lot – some for good reasons and others for less positive – but it is important to remember that a lot of parts of Nørrebro are just typical neighbourhoods, with families, older people, immigrants and others living side by side. Some people are newcomers and others have lived their whole lives here.

I have been meaning to take in a little more of Outer Nørrebro and to leave my prejudices of the area behind and find the hidden gems, before they get too polished and ‘regenerated’. Whilst on a walk around Guldbergsgade, I continued northwards to outer Nørrebro, past Banana Park and onto Balders Plads.DSC00908As I walked into the peaceful square it reminded me of Berlin (in a good way) from the architecture to the table tennis tables and the style of the children’s play area.

IMG_0935I knew of this square from their flea markets, Balders Biks, held a few weekends over the summer. It seemed last year that they were very unlucky with the rain and had to cancel a few. This year however the markets have been running and, whilst I still haven’t made it to one to know first hand, they seem a great mix of stalls with a lovely community feel to the event. From chatting to the girl in Røde Roses Kaffebar, it seems the square often hosts community events including events for Copenhagen Jazz Festival (July 3 -12). This year (2015) the square will host the largest stage in the festival so if jazz is your thing check the programme out here.

But onto the coffee bar.DSC00907Røde Roses Kaffebar is the kind I love. Shouting its presence from the back of the square with a bold red sign and canopy, this is what a local coffee bar should be all about. I always judge how ‘local’ a place is by the people I see in there and Røde Roses had a mix of older people, families and (dare I say it) subtle hipsters. Probably a good cross-section of the local residents.

A bit retro and quirky with an inviting, cluttered space. No fancy sleek Danish design here but a mix of many styles – all equally traditional. The record player was gently spinning Bob Dylan and I sat, drank my perfect ice coffee and felt very chilled. It is all very ‘slow’ – you fall into a space where you can just relax, although I am sure it can get lively. There is a sign suggesting that families with ‘active’ children should enjoy the play area opposite the coffee bar. The owner has designated one table as a laptop free area but whilst I love to work in cafes this place would be somewhere I would rather sit with a book or chat with a friend.DSC00901 DSC00902 DSC00904Do pop in for a coffee, or visit the flea market and enjoy a wonderful corner of Nørrebro.

Address: Røde Roses Kaffebar, Baldersgade 65, 2200 København N

Finderskeepers Apartment Store- the most original shopping experience ever

Imagine pressing the door buzzer, walking up some normal Danish apartment stairs and going into a beautiful apartment that looks like it is straight from the pages of a Danish interiors magazine and everything inside is for sale? Sounds like a dream but this is the most inspired shopping experience I have ever had and it is happening right now in Copenhagen. Finderskeepers Apartment Store No. 9 is located in a quiet apartment building at Jagtvej 9 until the 28th June.DSC00909This amazing shop is located in the apartment of the CEO of Finderskeepers. Finderskeeprs is a design market that takes place here in Copenhagen and also in other Danish cities and they have decided to hold the most inspired and unique pop-up shop, showcasing many up and coming designers, handpicked by Finderskeepers.DSC00912They wanted to present the products in an actual apartment setting and to give people a feel of how each item would actually work in a real home setting. The dining room, living room, kitchen, bathroom and balcony are all laid out as if the most stylish person you know lives there and it can all be yours.DSC00913Many of the larger furniture items are prototypes from design students’ final projects or new designers and if they get a certain number of orders from the apartment store then they can go into production.DSC00914It is a fantastic way to promote the work and talents of the new generation of designers and craftspeople, and it gives people the chance to get something really unique for their homes. The shop runs until the end of the week so there is still time to experience this.DSC00919 DSC00922 I love the tree coming up from the centre of the dining table, often lost space.DSC00924 DSC00928 DSC00932 More information and news (in Danish) on their Facebook page here. The store is open  Monday-Friday 11-19 and Saturday-Sunday 11-17 until 28th June.

Exploring Nørrebro – Guldbergsgade

I’ve had my walking feet on these last few weeks and I am lining up a number of neighbourhood/street posts for the coming weeks. Kicking off today with Guldbergsgade in Indre Nørrebro (Central Nørrebro). This street runs parallel to Nørrebrogade towards Sankt Hans Torv. It is the home to a couple of my favourite places – Grød and Mirabelle but  I thought I would share what else it has to offer.DSC00885

The mix of architecture very much reminded me of Berlin especially this older building below which could be straight out of Prenzlauer Berg (this is a theme you will hear from me on many of my forthcoming Nørrebro posts!). The area is a mix of both privately or co-op owned buildings and social housing. DSC00877

It is part of a regeneration programme but with that comes the fear that regeneration of today for the existing residents becomes to gentrification of tomorrow. You can really see the signs of community led projects at the moment with planted flower beds in the public spaces with seating amongst other things. Roses are jostled next to graffiti. DSC00898DSC00882There is a small allotment area (or kolonihaver) running alongside the street called a Byoase (city oasis) and many of the plots looks cared for yet others seem to have become a playground for kids with spray cans. Whilst I wandered around there was a family working hard on their plot, enjoying the sunshine.DSC00887 DSC00890At the end of the kolonihaven was a small kids’ farm with goats and rabbits – something you wouldn’t spot from the road but was a nice addition to the area and was busy with children from local day cares.DSC00891On to the businesses in the area. I have already posted about Mirabelle and this place has got a lot busier since I first visited but the vibe was still the same and the croissants still amazing! They now open later in the evening and offer charcuterie plates and other casual food. Next door is Bæst, an Italian place owned by the same people, which is only open from Tuesday to Sunday. The Empire sign indicates a little independent cinema located next door to the cafe.DSC00894 DSC00895Further along the street is a great proper butcher’s shop, Guldberg Slagter, and a flower and plant shop, Guldblomst, selling plants for both inside and out and a few other individual bits and bobs. There is also a little cupcake shop (which was closed when I went by) but also a number of shops for the locals selling fresh fruit and vegetables and groceries. Whilst there is a the touch of trendiness in the area, it still feels very real (for now).DSC00884DSC00897Definitely a street worth exploring.

Nørrebro Bryghus

A long time ago I went to Nørrebro Bryghus with my husband and enjoyed a cosy afternoon trying out a few beers. It was great to try some Danish beer that wasn’t brewed by Carlsberg. I hadn’t been back since until last week when I was scouting around Nørrebro taking photos for a forthcoming travel feature that I found myself outside the brewery building on Ryesgade.DSC00592

I poked my head in and at first it looked a lot like I remembered it with the brewery part open to the bar, cosy candlelit tables and an interesting selection of beers on offer. But as I wandered upstairs I realised that this place has become a lot more than just the beers. DSC00598


I’ve not been to Brooklyn but read enough interiors blogs and magazine to see that this place has a bit of a Brooklyn vibe to it, with the bare brick walls and the industrial loft/warehouse feel to the place.  I wandered around, took a look at the menu and smelled the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen, it started to grow on me.DSC00600 I like the idea of seasonal food and also the use of beer in cooking which is often underrated. They say that their “kitchen is like no other beer kitchen anywhere in the world.” A lofty claim that fascinates me having eaten and enjoyed food from a number of other beer kitchens – most notably the Brewpub.

I have made a mental note to try it out next time my husband and I get a free evening to see how the claim stands up. Have you eaten here and enjoyed it? Do let me know.

DSC00601Address: Ryesgade 3, 2200 Copenhagen


Ark Books and a literary street

As soon as I walked into the newish English book shop, Ark Books on Møllegade I was offered a fresh cup of coffee by the friendly young woman working in there. Books and a free coffee what more could you ask for? Møllegade, a little side street off the bustling thoroughfare of Nørrebrogade, has gained a reputation as a literary street with Ark Books joining Det Poetiske Bureaus Boghandel (a poetry bookshop), Møllegade Boghandel (selling new Nordic literature) and Literaturhaus, Denmark’s first live venue for literature in a formerly abandoned church offering a varied programme.DSC00427


The cosy but bight bookshop was opened as a not for profit shop by four young female literature students and sells a wide range of English language books. They are all books read and enjoyed by the volunteers and offer a different choice than you typically find in a mainstream bookshop. These girls are passionate about books! With mottos like ‘prose before hoes’ and ‘Home of the best stories you’ve never heard’ this is a unique place to come and browse away an hour and take something special home.ark2


After paying their costs the owners plough the remaining money into buying more books! The shop also runs a number of events including readings, workshops and chess evenings – it really is a vibrant location. To find out what’s on you can follow their Facebook page or on Twitter. Also the shop opens at 12 noon.DSC00422ark1

Address: Møllegade 10, 2200 København N


New Grød cafe and cookbook

Grød, the Copenhagen (and maybe the first in the world) porridge cafe , has opened another small place on Guldbergsgade in Nørrebro, just a stone’s throw from Sankt Hans Torv. Blink and you miss it, this little cosy place serves the same menu as the other two outlets but the place has a slightly more bohemian atmosphere. It’s a lovely place to drop by for your porridge fix and Guldbergsgade is certainly a street worth exploring.DSC00429Also as part of the Grød ’empire’, Lasse Skjønning Andersen has written a second porridge cookbook and this time it is available in English as well as Danish. The photography in the book is by the talented Chris Tonnesen (@lachristus on Instagram) so if you want to try your hand at some exciting porridge dishes at home this is the book for you. Blurb in translated from Danish about the book says:

‘The cookbook is a collection of the best recipes we have tested since opening in 2011. In the book you will find both new interpretations of traditional porridge flavours of øllebrød , porridge and rice pudding , as well as more modern variants including roast pork bygotto, tiramisu porridge and Asian chicken rice porridge.’

You can buy the book in all three shops (you may want to check availability of the English version) or via the Grød website.

grod1DSC00435Address: Guldbergsgade 7a, 2200 København N



Cafe Retro Nørrebro

If you are looking for a cosy second home to sit and work, study or relax, then the cafe Retro on Jægersborggade is just the place. It is an eccentric choice – a slightly studenty but extremely homely not-for-profit cafe located the trendy neighbourhood of Nørrebro. 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.



They have a space in the back that can be booked for community events. The day I visited there was a small training session going on and then a knitting group later. The customers varied from students, freelancers and mums with babies. It is staffed by volunteers, many internationals, who enjoy giving something back to the community but also the opportunity to meet new, interesting people and practise their Danish.retro3

It’s the epitome of shabby student chic but has a vibrant but laid back atmosphere and you can certainly linger here and relax. Just don’t come in the mornings as it opens at 12 noon most days – check their website for opening hours.

Other places I love nearby – Grød, Assistens Cemetery, Byhave 69

Address: RETRO Nørrebro – Jægersborggade 14 – 2200 København N Website