Food | The Reconnoisseur

Comfort food at its best in Copenhagen

A meaty menu in a restaurant that’s unhurried and unpretentious

Comfort food at its best in Copenhagen

October 24 2011
Rachel Howard

Strangely, the hippest restaurant in Copenhagen’s buzzing meatpacking district, Kødbyen, specialises in seafood: locals and critics alike rave about the trout tartare and cod’s roe with sour cream at Fiskebar (Fish Bar). I was disappointed when we couldn’t get a table there, but the prospect of tucking into the meaty menu at nearby Paté Paté seemed somehow more appropriate.

The lived-in décor of this converted liver pâté factory felt cosier than Fiskebar’s slick interior, too: a mishmash of vintage furniture, candles wedged into wine bottles, and a string of bulbs above the worn wooden bar. Cookbooks are scattered about to whet your appetite. Picture windows and pavement seating are perfect for watching the butchers and hipsters prowling the warren of white and blue warehouses.

Like the meat market, Paté Paté is open all hours. There are simple omelettes and Danish pastries for breakfast, Moorish tapas and an intriguing selection of wines by the glass throughout the day, and heartier supper dishes that all looked appealing on a chilly midweek evening. I eschewed hardcore carnivorous options such as calves’ liver with polenta and sage gratin and plumped instead for a rich starter of smoked eel, grilled leeks and horseradish on toast, a punchy salad of peas, pecorino and mint studded with nuggets of pork crackling, and juicy onglet with steamed veg and salsa verde. This was comfort food at its best: straightforward and packed with flavour.

When I told the waiter (who turned out to be the owner) that the place reminded me of St John in London, he beamed: “That’s the chef’s favourite restaurant”, and promptly treated us to a dreamy rhubarb fool with homemade shortbread. A beefy Thor lookalike in Birkenstocks and an apron, Dan Husted runs this and several other local wine bars with his brother Kenn. Dan designed and built the interiors himself.

As the night wore on, a laidback crowd of all ages trickled in to hear an accomplished jazz musician at the piano. Like Copenhagen itself, what struck me most about this effortlessly stylish haunt is how unhurried and unpretentious it is.

Starters from DKr75-95 (£8.50-£11), mains from DKr155-185 (£18-22), puddings DKr65 (£7.50), cheese plate DKr95 (£11).