The former working class area of Nørrebro, North West of the city centre is one of Copenhagen's most multicultural with 26% of residents being immigrants or descendants of immigrants. It is also the home to a street called Jægersborggade where artisan boutiques and restaurants draw in visitors to dine and shop.
We are off to explore this area with Copenhagen Cool's upbeat guide Sine. She picks us up from the SP34 hotel and shows us around the town before taking us north to Nørrebro. Nørrebro means North of the bridge (Østerbro means east of bridge and Vesterbro is west).
We cross the Queen Louise Bridge or Dronning Louises Bro to the former working class area of Nørrebro. It is one of Copenhagen's most multi ethnic areas with Arabs, Turks, Pakistanis, Bosnians, Somalians and Albanians making up the largest groups. We walk through the Assistens cemetery where Hans Christian Anderson and Søren Kierkegaard are buried. Sine tells us that Copenhageners crave green space so this lush and green cemetery is actually used for picnics and for people to relax and meet friends in.
350,000 people are buried here and interestingly, they need to pay fees for their time buried here. Otherwise they will have someone buried on top of them!
The kitchen at Manfreds
We cross through to Jægersborggade a street that used to be a former no-go zone. Nørrebro was also home to a lot of riots in the from the 1980's to 2007. Now gentrification has given it new life and it is an area where shop rents are relatively low so it serves as an incubator for businesses. There are 550 small apartments and small boutiques in the 150 metre long street.
Our lunch today is at Manfreds, a place ironically known for their vegetarian cuisine as well as their beef tartare. Swedish born Head chef Niklas Skjutare explains that they like to use parts that the other big brother restaurant Relae across the road don't use. There is a focus on vegetables and the three strong team of chefs bring the food to the table. We go with the Chef's Choice lunch menu for 195KR/$38AUD per person, an absolute bargain in a city like Copenhagen.
There is no menu and the day's dishes depends on what is available and what they receive from their own farm. We start with salted kohlrabi with a bergamot vinaigrette with marigold on top. It's crisp and refreshing.
This is followed by fresh goat's cheese, fried buckwheat and lettuce from the farm.
My favourite course is the poached egg with courgette soup from the farm. This is served with olive oil and chives. The soft egg yolk breaks and disperses through the soup creating a creamy velvety texture.
And of course you can't go past the beef tartare. The secret is the beef, sourced from Mineslund on the west coast of Denmark. They freeze it for an hour and then grind it creating a deep dark red colour that resembles raw tuna. This process along with using the leg meat a cut not usually used in tartare means that it is more flavoursome and this is served with egg cream and rye bread toast and is said to be the city's best tartare.
Although the street is small it is replete with small artisan vendors. Karamelleriet makes divine caramels all by hand. We watch as they make Strandsten or Beach Stones by hand. Each day's production results in about 150 kilos of confectionery. The strandsten and licorice is delightful as are the raspberry caramels.
Ro's chocolate is named after the initials of owner Rasmus Olsen and he stocks ice creams and chocolates in pretty patterns. His best seller is the white drop salted caramel truffle.
Nearby is artisan Inge Vincents who specialises in white thinware or super thin porcelain in hand friendly shapes. They are shaped as cans, collapsed to fit in hands and the area has served her well as both a production space and store.
About 10 minutes walk away is Superkilen, an interactive art space that pays homage to Norrebro's multicultural residents. 60 countries are represented in the half mile stretch. Residents from these countries picked something that represented them (Australia's is a hammock).
Undoubtedly the most striking is the very climbable black mountain called Jord from Gaza in Palestine where curves rise and fall drawing your eye closer to it. Much like most of Copenhagen.
So tell me Dear Reader, what do you think of the Australian Superkilen contribution of a hammock? Do you mind it when you can't see a menu and what you eat is a surprise based on what is fresh on the day? Or would you need to see a menu?
NQN visited Copenhagen as a guest of Wonderful Copenhagen & Singapore Airlines.
Manfreds & Vin
Jægersborggade 40, 2200 København, Denmark
Phone:+45 36 96 65 93
Jægersborggade 36, 2200 København, Denmark
+45 7023 7777
Jægersborggade 25, 2200 København N, Denmark
Phone:+45 36 96 65 19