Copenhagen Day 1: Royal Smushi Cafe, the Kroner & a Hotel Picnic

 royal smushi sandwich

Since we were delayed in Amsterdam for 12 hours yesterday and going on 36 sleepless hours upon our midnight arrival in Copenhagen, we slept until noon today. Actually until almost 12:30. But it’s Sunday, and not much is open in Europe on Sundays. So I felt justified. And very, very rested. (Sadly the terrible events in Boston the week of 4/15 seem to have exhausted everyone, and I think my lie-in was needed on severallevels.)

Once we were up and dressed, we both wanted coffee and food. Pernilla, the front desk clerk at Hotel 27 recommended the Royal Smushi Cafe next to the Royal Copenhagen porcelain store because she used to work there. She described it as having “very eclectic decor” and “very yummy food”. She was spot on.

Royal Smushi Entrance

The arched entrance leads into a small courtyard with outdoor seating and scattered oversized lanterns, but since it’s about 45 degrees F here, we went inside to sit. Pernilla’s description of the decor as “eclectic” was spot on. Pink and girlie, with a very random collection of bijou from a giant painting of a king and queen…

smushi royalty picture

…to 3D art to made out of kitchen paperware…

smushi pictures

to glass sculptures. Even more intriguing were the collection of products seemingly displayed for sale – nailpolish, dollhouse-sized chairs, books, glassware.


even more royal smushi decor

more royal smush decor

…and these crazy miniture office chairs.

cph miniature office chairs

We sat at one of the long white communal table and ordered the house special “smushi” named so because they are Danish open faced sandwiches called smørrebrød in a small size so that you can have multiple pieces just like one would with sushi.

cph smushi table

Unfortunately the restaurant was out of the salmon one (and the cockel salad, but somehow that didn’t appeal to me.) I ordered the shrimp salad and the roast beef.

cph smushi menu

A also chose the shrimp salad, and, of course, the herring. It was marinated in curry, which seemed like an odd, and possibly not particularly good, combination. Apparently it’s a Danish dish, and it works. The fish mellows the harshness of the curry while the curry reduces the commonly fishy taste of herring. The “shrimp salad” was more of a very firm, sliceable shrimp mousse. The roast beef was thinly sliced and wrapped around a single, well-seasoned boiled potato, set atop a salad of microgreens. All of the sandwiches were served on dark, heavily-grained, buttered brown bread.

royal smushi sandwich

To drink, we had possibly one of the best cups of coffee ever. And it was served in a beautiful china cup and saucer. The handle on the cup was at the top and much more ergonomic than a traditional side handle. The cups were painted with spring flowers – irises, daffodils.

smushi coffee cup

The cafe was built to show off these cups – and other Royal Copenhagen china – in an everyday setting. Opened in 2007, it was one of the first product placement environments. And the product placement influenced me somewhat. Even though I normally dislike china, and flowered things, and coffee cups with saucers (versus mugs), I was enchanted by these delicate cups that were so beautifully painted and easy to hold – enchanted to the point that I went into the Royal Copenhagen store to see how much they were. At €55 each, they were a bit too pricey.

Since it was sunny and nice outside, and Sunday, we mostly walked around. We wandered in and out of the shops and discovered that everything is very expensive.

Like plastic headbands that cost~ US$50…


copenhagen expensive headband

…and notebooks that cost ~US$40.
copenhagen expensive notebook

…so we wandered down to Nyhaven…stopping for some ice cream along the way…


Copenhagen Rajissimo ice cream

…because of course I needed to find out what Danish ice cream is like.  The ice cream reminded me a lot of gelato but was even creamier. The cherry chocolate chip – vanilla base with dark tart cherries and semi-sweet chocolate – was a perfect balance of sweet vanilla cream, meaty cherry tartness, and a slightly bitter chocolate crunch.  The cones were oddly long, and not sweet at all. It somewhat reminded me of eating ice cream out of a conical cracker.

 cph me with ice cream


En route, we saw some very interesting artwork on the barriers surrounding a large construction site on the Kongens Nytorv across from the Hotel D’Angleterre. These are made entirely of small thin colored metallic discs suspended from nails in the wood. The discs fluttered in the breeze and shimmered in the sunlight, giving the piece a sense of depth, dimension, and movement. They were stunning, and I was amazed that they were fully intact. In Boston, these would’ve lasted a day before someone (or some rodent) wandered off with pieces.

cph construction artwork

The harbor area was very pretty, with old wooden tall ships dotting the canal…
copenhagen harbor


…and people were outside enjoying the sunshine despite the chilly weather. Many of the cafes supplied blankets to make this possible. (HINT HINT Boston restaurants!)

CPH blankets

Not only did they laugh in the face of the weather, they were fully appreciative that people may want to sit elsewhere with their drinks…



Copenhagen take away beer

 cph more harboer


We finally decided it was time to wander back because we were getting hungry for dinner. What was particularly cool to me was the fact that it was so light outside at 7:15 PM on an April evening.

cph evening

As we were wandering back, we happened upon a department store called Magasin du Nord which was still open because they were having a sale. It had a beautiful food hall in the basement.

cph cheese 

I suggested purchasing some sturgeon roe as an appetizer to have in the hotel room because it looked so good. But the more we looked through the gorgeous selection of prepared seafood, the more we wanted to try. So what started as an appetizer turned into a full-blown hotel picnic dinner. Complete with Cava. (Are they going to be like the Dutch, preferring the Cava over the Prosecco? Certainly there was none to be found in the Magasin.)

cph hotel picnic table


copenhagen hotel picnic

Our menu included:

  • Sturgeon roe with blinis – Fresh-made blinis topped with salty sturgeon roe, the gustatory equivalent of bubble
  • Lobster terrine – Lobster mousse formed into a loaf and filled in the center with fresh steamed lobster meat
  • Salmon crudo
  • Cooked salmon salad
  • Sour cream and onion potato crisps
  • Cava

It was fresh, delicious, and not particularly expensive. A perfect way to finish a lovely day.


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  1. […] I write it, but the texture was unappealing – too smooth and smushy. (Not to be confused with smushi.) The chorizo was great – firm and spicy, if a bit waxy. And the grilled fresh bread had a […]

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