Wednesday, 21st/Friday, 23rd March 2018 – Tivoli Food Hall, Kodbyens Fiskebar, Copenhagen
Back again, this time for two nights, I made it to the lovely Hotel Danmark by around 20:30, spent five minutes unpacking and then headed to the lobby to meet up with Andy, my colleague. We’d agreed that we’d go for dinner together, even though he’d arrived a lot earlier than I had. The plan was to try out the Tivoli Food Hall which looked very promising indeed from its website. Tivoli itself was due to open for Easter in a couple of days and was consequently decked out with some quite odd things including some waving bunnies emerging from giant eggs!
This relatively new set up is on the side of Tivoli facing the main railway station and is open even when the gardens aren’t, at least in theory, and the website claimed that it was open until 23:00 everyday. We wandered in and found it to be very quiet but simply assumed that it was because it was a Wednesday night in March and very cold out. We ordered a drink each and settled in to have a think about what we might want to eat. And that was when the security guard arrived and told us everything would be shutting at 21:00 because that’s when it closes when the gardens are not open… They REALLY need to sort their website out is all I can say.
Where to next was the question. I figured that we’d be best off heading over to the old meat market area where there are several restaurants that I was pretty sure would stay open later than that. I knew we could probably rely on Gorilla, but I’d taken Andy there before, so instead I had in mind Kødbyens Fiskebar to see if it was as good as I’d thought it when I visited last year. It was good enough for Rick Stein, so it was certainly good enough for me.
It’s all a bit rough round the edges in terms of ambience and decor, but the food is anything but rough, delivered with style, panache and not a little wit. A glass of bubbles was essential to start my meal off. As with so many of the current crop of serious Copenhagen restaurants they have an excellent, though far from cheap, wine list with a lot of wines by the glass and some wonderfully beserk cocktails.
After some thought we figured we’d start with the “snacks”, one of those being some fantastic tiny whitebait, delicately battered and deep fried and served with a gorgeously garlicky mayonnaise. A portion of those each and we were starting to feel altogether more human after what had been long journeys for both of us.
We moved on to the small plates after that. Andy ordered cod roe, not having had any since he was a small child apparently. He said it was very good. I had the fish and chips, the chips served, like the whitebait, in a newspaper cone, the fish a pave of robust white fish in a crumb coat. Delicious! And the chips were great, seasoned just right, crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy inside.
After that I was set to have the squid, though in between we kept working on the sourdough bread we’d been given, especially with the seaweed butter. It was very tasty, with a great crust and soft and chewy interior.
After that, while Andy tucked into a bowlful of mussels I destroyed a plate of squid. I’d had this on the previous visit too and was not about to be stopped from having it again. It was the standout main for me, and I was keen to make sure I’d not been imagining the riot of flavours. I hadn’t. It was great, the black garlic in particular giving a hint of iron and a massive hit of garlic at the same time. The plate didn’t look anywhere near as pretty once I’d finished it!
They tried to persuade us to have desserts. We declined, being pretty well full and well fed by then, paid up and headed back to the hotel ahead of two days of workshops and travel.
The following day we all ate in the canteen, with catering by Gorm. It was also very good though the meat (saltimbocca, guinea fowl) was possibly not at its best by the time we got to it – for that the company bar can be blamed, as it can for the late bedtime that resulted as the oldest of us stayed up till late finishing off the red wine!
The following morning I went for a run round the old Christianshavn “moat” and followed it up with the oatmeal porridge courtesy of the hotel, and very rewarding it was too!
Half a day’s work was followed by what should have been an easy run back to Oxford where I was due at a college reunion that evening (for those of us who matriculated in 1977). I say should have been – it was anything but. The taxi to the airport got me there in good time, Kastrup was pretty quiet (so much so that there was no one in front of me in the security queue) and I was through and settled in the Eventyr business lounge within 20 minutes of arriving at the airport. On the plane I was seated in row 6 in an aisle seat and thus my exit from the plane at Heathrow was equally swift. In fact I was landside within 15 minute, a feat almost unheard of even in T2 which is usually relatively calm. A 6 minute wait for the Heathrow Express and I was at Paddington by 16:25 with – in theory – just a 60 mile train ride to go. Oh, if only!
Three trains and a £40 taxi ride later and I was in my car. 3 minutes later I was at the hotel, and by then it was 19:00. There’s no getting round it. When it comes to public transport the UK often does a good impression of a third-world country (where the infrastructure is concerned anyway). Sadly that goes with first-world prices for using said infrastructure. I made it into college just in time to grab a glass of champagne, before we were all ushered through to dinner. I was not impressed, and feeling very fraught, a feeling that thankfully diminished as the evening wore on and the good food, good wine and good company started to take effect.