Forget the diet on a gourmet break to Aarhus and indulge in a veritable feast of culinary delights, as Denmark’s second city serves up a smørrebrød of innovative world-class cuisine. Following the success of the city’s annual Food Festival, which celebrates its fifth anniversary next year, Aarhus’ chefs are raising the gastronomic bar and pushing epicurean boundaries, to put the city firmly on the culinary map with a number of progressive new restaurants, bars and cafes aimed to suit all budgets. With a brand new daily BA flight from London Heathrow to nearby Billund starting from 3rd May 2016, there’s never been a better time to visit. Food options in Aarhus range from Michelin-starred establishments serving the best in modern Nordic cuisine, to the city’s new food market, Smagsgiveriet, which opened in September 2015 to offer high quality local ingredients.
Restaurant Domestic – New to the pass is Restaurant Domestic which opened in October with a star-studded gastronomic team led by Ditte Susgaard, Christian Neve, Christopher Norton and Morten Frølich Rastad. Despite their extensive experience, the city’s new restaurant, located in the backyard of the historic Latin quarter of Mejlgade is, as its name suggests, “a place where guests will feel at home.” As restaurant manager Christian Neve explains, “there’s no formal stiffness at Domestic; we just want diners to enjoy themselves and have a good evening, while enjoying some delicious food.”
Früd No16 – Two successful restaurants become one, as Sans med Früd and its little brother Sechzehn fuse to become Früd No16, the new concept restaurant of Aarhus. An ultimate taste experience is guaranteed with Austrian Milos Nikolic and Briton Mike Everingham as Head Chefs. The new restaurant is a creative playground of unique culinary experiences – you show up at 18:30 and get ready for nine delicious servings including a wine buffet, homemade juices, coffee and sweets.
Restaurant Veto – Another new autumn opening, where head chef Kim Jeppesen and restaurant manager Allan G. Jensen have drawn on their experience in Michelin restaurants, such as Kong Hans Basement, Kokkeriet, the Paul and Restaurant Tabu in Aalborg, to offer an exciting mix of top level cooking with exotic Asian flavours, creating a series of innovative dishes.
Mikkeller – Eagerly anticipated to open at the end of this year is the very popular Copenhagen-based micro-brewery Mikkeller, which is moving to the address vacated earlier this year by one of Arhus’s oldest bars, the 95-year-old Jægerhytten in Jægergårdsgade. The trendy Mikkeller Bar is set to serve the brewery’s own beer, both bottled and on tap, together with special beers from abroad.
Michelin Stars And Bib Gourmand Awards
In 2015, after many years striving for recognition in the Michelin Guide, Aarhus was finally rewarded with a coveted star at three of its acclaimed restaurants. Headlining these three is Restaurant Frederikshøj, where Wassim Hallal shows off his extraordinary talent for top level international cuisine accompanied by a superb wine collection in the midst of a protected forest next to the Mindeparken in Aarhus.
With a more modest approach to its cuisine, Restaurant Substans also received a star. Serving contemporary dishes, it combines a relaxed atmosphere with solid craftsmanship using organic ingredients from local producers, whilst a Bib Gourmand was handed out to Substans’s little brother, Pondus.
The third restaurant to be recognised with a star this year is Restaurant Gastromé, which aims to unite gourmet rural cuisine with the raw, urban cuisine of the city, transforming the countryside gastronomy of the Vilhelmsborg Forest in to the urban setting of the restaurant’s city centre location.
Meanwhile, well-priced Hærværk picked up a Bib Gourmand for its delicious tasting menus that rely on a varied daily menu depending on the availability of ingredients (leading to spontaneous menu changes). The tasting menus for each table may even vary, leading to unique, personal experiences.
One to watch for next year’s guide is Restaurant Koch where the three Koch brothers offer gourmet dining at an exceptional standard. Alongside this are their two other establishments – Frøken Koch, which serves classic Danish cuisine, and Det Glade Vanvid, which translates as ”The Happy Madness” where diners arrive at the same time and pay a set price of £50 before enjoying a 4-course menu with unlimited wine.
A Revolution In Smørrebrød
Smørrebrød – the famous Danish open-faced sandwiches – have undergone a gastronomic revolution and Aarhus is at the forefront of this. No longer just the classic cold cuts or herring, there is now a real art to making smørrebrød and some of Aarhus’s most famous chefs are getting in on the act. It’s probably no surprise that Wassim Hallal (the man behind Restaurant Frederikshøj) offers a stunning range of smørrebrød and pastries at F. Høj, while Den Lille Kro specialises in traditional Danish cooking and has a mouth-watering range of 14 smørrebrød on the menu.
Dinner Is Served
Come dinner time, visitors to Aarhus are still spoilt for choice with Nordisk Spisehus offering a unique culinary experience, recreating menus from international Michelin-starred restaurants, while Frederiksgade 42 offers “social food” that’s great for sharing with friends. On the corner of Jægergårdsgade and Kystvejen, La Plage Deux is the place to go for oysters and champagne, while L’Estragon in the Latin Quarter offers French-inspired organic gourmet dishes.
Local raw ingredients are on the organic menu at beautifully designed Langhoff & Juul whilst at Kähler Spisesalon, diners can indulge in elegant smørrebrød or tasty three-course menus served on ceramic plates made by the popular Danish interior design brand, Kähler.
Danes love coffee, and Danish café culture is thriving in Aarhus. Street Coffee in Jægergårdsgade offers a relaxed and trendy space to enjoy coffee with friends, while Løve’s Bogcafe and Café Englen are both inspired by central European literature cafes. Lynfabrikken is a popular place to meet, work and study with free Wi-Fi. A new addition to ARoS Museum of Modern Art is the Food Hall in the city’s art museum, which opened at the end of August to offer small tapas-style dishes using local ingredients, served in relaxed surroundings. At the end of the day, pay a visit to St. Pauls Apothek to pair cocktails with their popular tasting menu.
A Place For Foodies
Aarhus is indeed a go to place for foodies – not least due to the recent news that the city is to open a permanent indoor street food market in the Spring of 2016. With inspiration from London, Hamburg and the successful Copenhagen Street Food on Paper Island, Aarhus Street Food is bound to be a hit.
For more information, go to www.visitdenmark.com.