In the Baltic sea off the cost of Skåne and Sweden’s southern shoreline, you’ll find a beautiful Island named Bornholm. Quite picturesque it houses both the main city Rønne as well as posh village Allinge – well worth a summer visit. There are some really good restaurants to come out of Bornholm and two are actually available in Copenhagen, two-star Michelin restaurant Kadeau and Michelin-listed Restaurant Koefoed, marked with the Michelin plate for good food.
Koefoed was started over 10 years ago by Michael Rønnebæk Rørth and his wife Marie. They have always combined gourmet dinners with high quality smørrebrød lunches. All with focus on that Bornholm produce. Michael Rønnebæk Rørth has several times declared his love for Bornholm as an Island – as well as for its produce. Bornholm’s location out to sea gives a mild insular climate that provide ideal growth and ripening conditions for cereals, figs, and mulberries, blessing the island with produce of exceptionally high quality.
So Koefoed is an ideal place to experience the culinary tastes of Bornholm even though you are still downtown Copenhagen, between Kgs Nytorv and the royal castle Amalienborg.
Lunch at Koefoed is exceptionally good. Many hold restaurant Schønnemann as the ideal place to eat smørrebrød but Koefoed is right on up there with them. Schønnemann is a bit more experimentation, developing new ways of eating smørrebrød – whilst Koefoed is more old school, doing it the classic way. However, Koefoed focuses on bringing the very top ingredients and produce to make smørrebrød just right.
The tastes at Koefoed are varied and nuanced and even the most classic of smørrebrød “Sol over Gudhjem” (translates to “sun over Gudhjem”, Gudhjem being a village in, you guessed it – Bornholm) is here transformed to a culinary delight.
Having smørrebrød means having snaps/aquavit. Having smørrebrød without aquavit is like having oysters naturelle without champagne. It can be done – but why, when they go so well together? On top of that smørrebrød often means herring or other fatty fishes like salmon or even eel – the aquavit actually helps digest this kind of food.
The aquavit assortment is the large divider between bad and good smørrebrød restaurants. You see, most of them only cater to the normal aquavits like Aalborg Taffel, Jubilæum, Linie or so. Those are all good aquavits but a really good smørrebrød restaurant will treat aquavit like a gourmet restaurant treats their wines. Pairing the exact right one with that exact dish you are having – that’s the trick. Places like Koefoed and Schønnemann excel at this. So sit back and ask your waiter to do the pairing for you. Koefoed has their own aquavit, made entirely on Bornholm ingredients, of course.
Aquavit is the whiskey of Scandinavia in terms of being a potion with a lot of heritage, a lot of variety, a lot of regional differences in style – but it always contains cumin and dill and the alcohol level is at least 37,5%. When traveling Scandinavia, you should always try the local aquavits. You’ll find taste sensations that exist nowhere else in the world.
The kitchen at Koefoed is rustic and generous. We tried the smørrebrød consisting of soft-boiled egg, freshly pealed shrimps, cress and black pepper. This is a very simple dish but it is just wonderful here. The eggs taste like fresh from the farmland, the shrimps like they were just taken out of the sea and the cress brings that typically Danish smørrebrød touch to the table.
Smoked salmon with scrambled eggs is a bit of a water divider as Denmark, though being a fishing nation – is just not very good at curing or smoking salmon. Sweden and Norway outranks them by far. In Denmark, it often gets too dry and the salmon is not served fresh enough, often it is not cut in properly thin slices etc. At Koefoed they do it just right. The smoked salmon has a perfect texture a not very dominant touch of smoke and just that touch of salt needed to bring out taste.
“Christiansøpigens kryddersild” is a spiced up herring served with horseradish cream, pickled onions and capers. This kind of herring can taste a bit too much like anchovy at times but here the balance is just right, not too salty and rather mild.
When in Denmark smørrebrød is obligatory. You eat it at lunch time if you do it like the locals. There are plenty of places to choose from – but far from all are very good at it. Koefoed is a top restaurant to really enjoy and indulge in Denmark’s main contribution to the international food scene.