So much more than sandwiches
Claim to fame: Styling the classic Danish open-faced sandwich in a fine dining tuxedo.
Reason to go: Indulging in a long, leisurely lunch paired with exciting wines, craft beers and artful aquavit.
Look out for: The signature lobster tartar crowned with a deep fried egg hiding a silky, runny yolk.
Palægade dresses rustic no-nonsense smørrebrød in fine dining gala-wear. The concept has been expertly stitched together by Formel B’s star-studded team and a handful “tailors” from iconic smørrebrød-temple Schønnemann.
Copenhagen is awash with smørrebrød eateries, the open-faced sandwich being one of Denmark’s few historical contributions to the culinary world. A good smørrebrød relies heavily on the quality of the ingredients as it’s a very transparent, what-you-see-is-what you-get creation. Sadly, they are invariably crafted with ready-made sauces, tasteless, machine-peeled shrimps, lackluster pre-chopped onions and pointless pre-grated horseradish. This is on the verge of changing thanks to ambitious chefs that are launching somewhat of a smørrebrød revolution by making everything from scratch with organic ingredients. At Palægade the mode is similar, only with more luxurious flourishes and extra trimming on the beverage side where interesting quaffs actually match the food. Far from the few standard aquavits (snaps) and beers normally on offer, Palægade had us sample unfiltered Danish pilsner, small batch snaps flavored with long pepper and a delightful quince marmalade-scented orange wine – all handsomely suited to the food. The decadent lobster tartar is a must, piled high on rye bread and simply garnished with pickled onions, homemade mayo and a deep-fried, panko crusted, perfectly cooked egg – the runny yolk providing just the right amount of velvety sauce. It’s comfort food at its chicest. The beef tartar too, is a must; coarsely cut, high quality beef on butter roasted rye bread, fortified by thick, umami-brimmed slices of semi-dehydrated tomatoes. It sports a peppery punch which mingles amazingly well with the vivacious, fruit-forward natural wine from Priorat. Another must: the fastidiously cooked, buttery-rich, lemon fragranced turbot with oxtail and a grassy spring onion topping.
Palægade is brand new, it boasts stylish Danish furniture and despite its modernistic lack of tablecloths it still exudes a certain charming traditional atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for a power lunch or just an extended lingering into-the-afternoon meal with friends. The restaurant is also open in for dinner – but then you miss out on the smørrebrød. Service is fast, friendly and phenomenally knowledgeable.