April 6, 2011

Skankynavia: The Royal Café (CPH)

by Anders

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I’m so over normality.

I’m over generic cafes, mediocre restaurants and bleh bars with all their effortless interiors, lazy service, boring menu offerings and pointless existence besides making money (in these days: little). The next time I walk into a cream coloured cafe serving cafe lattes in a standard glass with a napkin around it, I swear will publicly break down in tears, rolling on the floor in gay spasms (violent but with elegance).

Life is so short. Very soon your best friend will be the wooden cane next to your chair and you will look back and realize you spent all your moist, vibrant youth in mediocrity. So what can we do, here in the year 2011?

Last night I watched a documentary about Frank Lloyd Wright. What a bastard. What a genius. At one point an art historian pointed out that one of the characteristics of geniuses like Beethoven, and Wright, is that they have the power to create a world within the World. A will, vision and creativity to cut out all the noise and all the crap and finally see clearly. Basically see what you see, and make other people see the same. Wright created a whole new architectural language–he more or less altered how to build a home and thereby changing American living forever.

So, what if more people were like that, in the food business, for example? What if more restaurant owners woke up one morning and said: “Oh god, no more sloppy Joes at my diner–from now on: Thai temple inspired street brunch,” or: “I’m so over chairs– let’s all sit in a big tree inside the café!” or “I hate doing the dishes, from now on all my veggie burgers will be served on leaves!”

What’s my point? Well, I guess I’m trying to enforce (and demand) more creativity surrounding our daily feasts. Eating is great–let’s celebrate while we’re at it.

Today I went to the Royal Café with a friend. A place that isn’t exactly the answer to Wright’s architecture, it’s not crazy over the top weird but it’s still pretty good and pretty different. And very popular.

Among other things, Denmark is known for the famous Royal Copenhagen. A very old, traditional ceramic- and porcelain company creating beautiful, classic tableware, figurines, collectibles etc. Some years ago, an old building containing Royal Copenhagen’s factory elements were cleared out and the Royal Café was built and is now a part of every guidebook on Copenhagen.

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You have to leave Stroeget, the main shopping street, behind the Royal Copenhagen store and walk into a quiet yard filled with plants, old tiles and a statue of a monk.

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And inside the old stone building, a shiny ballroom of a café invites you inside with ceiling that makes you go wauw.

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Even Woody Allen’s ego would fit in here.

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What’s special about The Royal Café is its playfulness–combining traditional table settings with very Scandinavian and feminine qualities, to invoke an experience a bit like what it might feel like to be invited for tea at the Queen’s. And yes, it’s super gay.

When opening the café became famous for its “Smushi”–a mix between Danish “smørrebrød” (open sandwich) and sushi. Denmark and Japan–both island countries (more or less) with lots of fish (more or less radiated)… I will come back and review the Smushi some other time.

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We visit on a Sunday around noon, and decide to go for the classic brunch after admiring the lovely “geeselings”–incredibly soft spring buds on elegant tree branches which are placed in three big vases on the round table at the end of the room.

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I always insist on sitting here, you can hide and have intimate conversations with your friend, or the people next to you. There’s a Finnish woman hiding in the back–is her green suit with matching scarf from Marimekko?

Pussy willow:

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A handblown latte glass:

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I get a pot of cold fresh orange juice.

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All tableware is, of course, Royal Copenhagen. You don’t want to drop this pot as that might force you to move out of your apartment and live on the street until you’ve paid the bill.

The brunch tray for two arrives with a plate of assorted breads on the side.

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Ok, so there’s Greek yogurt with acacia honey, crunchy müsli and dried pieces of raspberry. Delicious, but could be a bigger portion:

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Different kinds of Danish cheese, bacon and sliced meat. Fresh fruit and blackberry jam:

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The bacon is crispy as it should be. Perfect. Scrambled eggs are ok–without any surprises.

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Small deep fried potato pieces–very good.

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The French croissants are quite delicious with a sweet filling, tasting somewhat of apple.

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Of course there are also danishes. We’re in Denmark, duh. Dainty-sized bits though, again a bit on the cheap side.

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This little (very) edible object was my favourite:

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I never had French toast before! I love it!! Yamahomo: I demand an Umamimart-style French toast recipe!

While enjoying our brunch, the waiters walk past us carrying freshly baked cakes placing them in a big glass cupboard.

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Traditional Danish apple cake served in Danish glass design.

I love flowers on cakes – there should be flowers on all cakes (and glitter and rainbows):

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These chocolate cake pieces inside the big main glass desk look great too. But we are sugared up and manage to resist the temptation. Normally I have a black hole in my mind where all sense and logic is sucked into as soon as I see a piece of cake.

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Also on the register desk is a picture of a young Lo Østergaard, the owner of the cafe. I like the humour and personality of the space.

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The food was fine but what I usually come here for is the space. To me the atmosphere is key when meeting friends downtown for coffee, drinks or food and at Royal Café I always have a good time. It’s also a good place to take my international clients, they really like the experience and feel like they’ve seen some “historically regal Denmark”. To me, this is creative thinking and I am grateful to Lo for making her own World within the world to share with us.

And guess what, Royal Café just opened a sister… in Tokyo! And it goes without saying that the Japanese will suck this place up like spilled sake, right?

Map

THE ROYAL CAFÉ
Amagertorv 6
1160 Copenhagen, Denmark
T: +45.3312.1122

FAT MAP

2 Comments

  • Posted April 7, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Whata fabulous place for coffee. I love that ceiling. And I want to know more about smushi (that is such a great name)!

  • Sonja
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Ive just been reading old posts and I realized,Oh I’ve been there! I really liked the atmosphere and decorations.

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