By Terry Baynes
As you sit down in the famous Arne Jacobsen ant chair, with a plate from iconic china maker Royal Copenhagen and silverware from luxury Danish brand Georg Jensen, you realize that you’re about to have the most Danish dining experience of your life.
Tucked away off the main shopping street, Strøget, in the heart of Copenhagen, the Royal Smushi Café is famous for its new take on an old Danish staple: smørrebrød, or “butter bread.”
Dating back centuries, smørrebrød traditionally consisted of a slice of dark dense rye bread loaded with toppings such as herring, roast beef or sliced potatoes, and a range of garnishes from horseradish to orange slices. But by the 80s, as a tsunami of Italian pizza shops and Middle Eastern shawarma joints hit Denmark, the old-fashioned smørrebrød fell out of favor.
Without a cuisine to call their own, the Danes turned inward. They reinvented old recipes, used local produce in new ways and around 2005 the Nordic cuisine movement took off, led by the restaurant Noma (crowned world’s best restaurant four times). The soul searching also resulted in Danes rediscovering their long lost love for smørrebrød. It’s all over Copenhagen now – only this time in an updated, gourmet-ified version.