By Lisa Abend
As any Dane will tell you, hygge is much more than candles—a quiet morning reading the paper at home can be hygge, but so can a rollicking night out with good friends. One Dane once explained it to me as a feeling of safety; another as a sense of well-being. But one thing that everyone agrees on is that, if there’s a place outside the home that is central to hygge, it’s the café. With their small tables that encourage conversation and their scents of coffee and butter and cinnamon, cafés dot most every street in the city center.
Mirabelle does an especially good job of embodying its own version. Opened a year ago in the Norrebrø neighborhood, it is the offspring of one of Copenhagen’s best restaurants, Relae, whose chef, Christian Puglisi, created it as a showcase for his star baker, Carol Choi. The two of them—true craftspeople—have a reputation for working only with the finest organic ingredients, so it’s no surprise that Mirabelle’s breads and pastries are among the best in the city. Choi is there most mornings well before dawn, shaping the chewy sourdough loaves—the best in the city-- and making croissants so flaky they shatter.
Mirabelle is not the classic snug den of other cafés in Copenhagen. Bright and airy, with black-and-white geometric tiles on the floor and jars of housemade pickles on the walls, the feel is somewhere between Nordic design studio and Italian deli. And the clientele is just as eclectic: young writers scattering crumbs over their laptop keyboards and clutches of co-workers catching up on office gossip over thick sandwiches around the communal table. And, in the evening, couples and small groups of friends, stopping by for a glass of natural wine and a bit of charcuterie to go with that excellent bread.
At Mirabelle, the hygge comes across in the streaming light and the pretty surroundings, but especially in the unique energy that results from a lot of people stopping by for a snack and discovering instead that their roll with butter or chocolate chip cookie is extraordinarily delicious. And of course it doesn’t hurt that, as the sun goes down, Mirabelle fills with candlelight.
Open daily 7am-10pm