Tuesday, 30th October 2018 – FIAT, Copenhagen
On the middle of three nights in Copenhagen I’d arranged to have dinner with a friend who I had only ever met online, Maria. Although she’s Swedish, she works in Copenhagen (we know each other through the online community based around a weight loss website weightlossresources.co.uk, that we both used successfully in the past), so it was a good opportunity to finally meet face-to-face and have a catch up. She suggested a place near her office, which is not a side of town I’m especially au fait with, so I went with her recommendation and arrived at Fiat in time to settle in and have a drink while I waited.
The weather outside was hardly summery, but I opted for that most summery of cocktails, a Hugo. It duly arrived and was just what I needed to lighten the evening after I’d walked round in circles for a while trying to locate the place (the map function on my work iPhone is less than useless frankly, and the map I had was too small to read in the dark, street lamps or no street lamps). It was a good Hugo anyway.
Maria arrived and after a very brief moment of awkwardness we were sitting chatting so much that the very charming waiter had to interrupt us to ask if we’d like to order. He called us young and suggested we would not have big appetites as we were slim and fit! Given how we came to know each other, this seemed pretty ironic and caused gales of laughter that left him looking rather baffled.
We finally made a decision and as he left us to sort our orders, we started into the foccacia, caponata and Pecorino cheese he’d presented us with. The bread was good, the pecorino was just as you might wish, with that slightly gritty texture it develops when it matures, and a lactic acid tang in the throat. The caponata was good too, proving that it’s best with traditional accompaniments, and not served as a vegetarian alternative to a curry, with rice, naan bread and chutney (don’t ask!), but with plenty of bread with which to mop up the juices.
The waiter came back soon with our starter, a shared platter of affettati misti (which the menu described as Italian delicacies) and which was big, and loaded with vegetables like artichoke hearts, olives and tomatoes, cheeses, Bresaola, coppa, Parma ham, salumi, olives and chunks of fresh, juicy melon. It was all very good, and it took us quite some time to clear our way through most of it. In the end only the olives were left as it turns out neither of us are the biggest fans of olives. I was a pretty big fan of everything else on the plate though…
There followed quite some back and forth discussion between ourselves and the waiters before I finally opted for a very Sardinian main course of fregola (or more accurately fregula, which is perhaps not unexpectedly similar to North African berkoukes and Middle Eastern moghrabieh), which is semolina dough rolled into balls and toasted in an oven. It was served with that most Sardinian of ingredients, bottarga, along with some tiny cherry tomatoes, a hefty sprinkling of lemon zest, and some – though I would argue not enough – deep sea prawns. It was slightly disappointing as the juices had failed to penetrate the fregola, which meant it had a somewhat “undercooked” feel about it, texture wise. Flavour-wise it couldn’t have been better, but it was just a bit chewy.
I think Maria called it better with her main choice, a very traditional spaghetti alle vongole, which was studded with clams, decorated with herbs, and seasoned with chili and garlic, with a white wine sauce. It looked and smelled divine, and another time I’ll order it instead. My own fault, I suppose, for wanting to try something completely different to the dishes commonly found on Italian menus everywhere!
After that neither of us could manage a dessert, and Maria needed to get back to Malmo, so we paid up, split up and I walked back to the hotel the long way round to try and get some extra exercise after all that food! It’s a very elegant space, with good service, an interesting menu, and a great wine list. I’ll try and get back there some time soon.