The streets of Copenhagen ooze Scandi-cool – tall, beautiful twentysomethings glide past on sleek bicycles, minimalist copper pieces tempt you in to interior design shops, and old scarf-clad folk walk equally chic pooches. We are here to soak up as much of the Danish lifestyle as possible, with a particular focus on the food.
A morning mooching around the streets of Vesterbro is time well spent. We wander up to Ipsen & Co and wait outside under cosy blankets next to dashing Danish boys while peering in through the huge window to eye up the best spot in the house. We eventually snuggle in to a desirable corner spot and order freshly delivered coffee from Kontra roastery in Østerbro, along with a typical Danish breakfast board. Shortly after arrives a pretty wooden wheel of Scandi breakfast classics – a tiny pot of jam, complete with Borrowers-sized wooden spoon, to spread on to organic rye bread and a buttery, flaky croissant; skyr is topped with buckthorn puree and jewel-like muesli and dried fruits; with a soft boiled egg for good measure. Fortune favours the English, as just as we decide to leave; the downpour of rain clears to grace us with a bright blue sky.
This makes our train journey into the surrounding countryside all the more pleasant. We pass thick forest, deer roaming through the grounds of a stately home, and cute dolls-house-style summerhouses, to reach Humlebæk station. Another ten minute walk past more quintessential wooden houses and an honesty box offering homemade jam, and we reach The Louisiana Gallery, a modern art gallery in a beautiful ivy-covered mansion on the coast. We’re lucky enough to be visiting during Japanese Yayo Ikusama’s exhibition – room after room of grown up playground; dodging giant polka dot balloons, prancing around in a box of lights, and wreaking havoc with coloured stickers on a blank canvas. There’s even an illusionary pumpkin field for food lovers. If you don’t catch this exhibition, browse the well-planned out gallery maze, then head out to the sculpture park, grab a smørrebrød from the café and join art buffs perched on the stone steps to look out at the picturesque sailing boats bobbing along the water.
Though we could spend many more hours perusing the exhibitions, it’s time to head back to the city to make our dinner reservation at Manfreds on one of the coolest streets in Copenhagen. The northern-central district of Nørrebro is the hub of hipster life, and Jægersborggade street is home to porridge and risotto specialist Grød, The Coffee Collective where Noma chefs get their caffeine fix, and cheap (for Copenhagen, that is) and cheerful Mikeller Bar, with hundreds of microbrewery beers, on tap and bottled. Manfreds does a great set lunch, but we’re here for a civilized dinner with natural wines. Though a little ‘onion heavy’, chefs at Manfreds make the most out of local seasonal ingredients in a simple and inventive succession of dishes – green strawberries are hidden amongst charred onions, topped with grated cheese and crisp toasted buckwheat, baby cucumber is put to the centre of attention with a seaweed emulsions, and poached egg comes on a bed of fluffy cauliflower rice. If this all sounds a little veg-centric, the famed beef tartare will satisfy your taste in a meltingly tender deep red dish topped with breadcrumbs.
Best places to eat and drink in Copenhagen
Best midweek breakfast: Granola
Best post night out food: Isted Grill
Best local hangout: Ipsen & Co
Best brunch: Dyrehaven
Best coffee shop: The Coffee Collective
Best cocktail bar: Lidkoeb
Best street food: Hija de Sanchez
Best craft beer: Mikeller
Best bakery: Meyer’s Bakery
Best drinking den: Duck and Cover