Scandis rejoice, Denmark House celebrates its cuisine with traditional smørrebrød and flights of aquavit
Hidden away on Little Bourke Street, Denmark House has been delivering delicious Danish and Nordic cuisine in its minimalist interior for the past ten years. Little did we know the restaurant sat up on level three, sharing its own piece of Denmark with those in the know.
Denmark House welcomes city folk for lunch with its signature dish, the traditional Danish open sandwich ‘smørrebrød’. Thanks to the nature of the cuisine, these smørrebrød provide a healthy alternative to the standard, potentially gluttonous, city lunches found elsewhere. Pair with a tasting flight of their finest aquavit (and likely the finest in the CBD) and it’s the perfect meal to help you tackle those afternoon emails, should you be so inclined.
Our aquavit (aka Akvavit) and smørrebrød flight was a fantastic way to begin our exploration into Danish cuisine. Like all spirits, each aquavit has its own unique taste, whether it be hints of menthol or softer flavours on the palate. A Christmas oriented aquavit made its way into the flight, which, naturally, was paired with roast beef. Smørrebrød consists of dense rye bread, acting much like your Bellinis, with bite-sized elements on top, of which Denmark House has 20 varieties. A favourite was the egg and tomato paired with Krone aquavit, which cut through the fatty protein deliciously.
It’s worth taking your time exploring the four aquavits with their smørrebrød pairings. Following this, we enjoyed one of the small dishes: creamy chicken and asparagus tartlet nestled in flaky pastry. Highly recommend.
If aquavit isn’t your thing, the signature Copenhagen cocktail is a tangy alternative, balancing sweetness and freshness, and packing a punch. My significant other opted for one of their Danish pale ales, Tuborg, the other, a 7.1% IPA, and perhaps one to watch out for!
Come evening the menu takes on a Nordic approach, confirming Denmark House’s place within the new Nordic cuisine revolution. This style of food can be considered as one of the leading gastronomic experiences in the world; taken on by many of London’s top restaurants including Aster, with Finnish Norwegian chef patron Helena Puolakka, and Texture, where its kitchen is headed up by Icelandic chef Aggi Sverrisson. Denmark House chef Lasse Povlsen is trained in Danish cuisine and has spent time in several Denmark-based Michelin restaurants.
The larger plates involved a delicious combination of crispy pork with beetroot purée and burnt onion, served with a thick, creamy white sauce that also paired beautifully with the caramelised potatoes. Although sweet, it is one of the things the Danes do best.
Luscious salmon served on a bed of cream kale, and garnished with crispy kale was one of our top dishes, alongside the pork. In regards to side dishes, the feta and hazelnut crunchy carrots and juniper were a good break from the cream and purée.
For dessert, we tried the ‘Dream cake’, a Danish sponge with caramelised coconut, and our favourite, Kransekage, a Marizpan cookie dipped in chocolate, of which there is no photographic evidence for obvious reasons.
Seek out Denmark House and immerse yourself in true Danish ‘hygge’, where the restaurant brings contemporary Nordic cuisine to the Melbourne grid – one to consider when your next work lunch arises.