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!
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.
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
Next 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.
Lille 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.Finally 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
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!
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.As 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.
I 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.Røde 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. Do 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
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.
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.
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. 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.
Address: Ryesgade 3, 2200 Copenhagen
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.
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.
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.
Address: Møllegade 10, 2200 København N
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.Also 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.
Address: Guldbergsgade 7a, 2200 København N
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.
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