Kødbyen, (Meat Town in English) Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District is unlike New York‘s. There are no cobbled streets, red velvet ropes or stiletto-heeled queues. In fact, sneakers are the footwear of choice when cycling is the mode of transport. What the 2 do share are quality restaurants, bars, packed nightclubs and influential galleries.
Centrally located in Vesterbro, west of the Tivoli, Kødbyen has 3 districts. Brown, Grey and White districts are differentiated by the building colours and the eras they were built. First to be repurposed in 2000 was the brown district with art galleries, architecture firms and Øksnehallen. Øksnehallen Exhibition Hall was a pre-slaughter hall in its day with a capacity of 1600 head of cattle.
In the White District, Kødbyen’s Fiskebar has not lost its draw since 2009. Reserving a table is highly recommended. Early bookings may have a 2.5-hour time limit so if lingering is your intention, book for after 20:30. Walk-ins are welcome at the bar. Decor is in keeping with the building’s original use and on balmy evenings, reclining in deck chairs outside will have you settling in with cocktails or another bottle of wine.
Fiskebar serves lunch from 11:30 on weekends. Allow for the regular meat trade through the week when doors open at 17:30. As for the food, it’s everything fish and shellfish, sourced with a conscience and as close to home as possible. The daily oyster selection precedes the Raw Bar where North Sea Bleak Roe with almonds, seaweed and shallots or Trout with rye emulsion, capers and burnt onions may appear. Select from the “Medium” plates of North Atlantic Scallops with seared cucumber, black trumpets and lemon or Blue mussels steamed in cider and plenty of herbs.
More of an appetite? Then you’ll be looking for Baked Cod or Seared Hake. Meat eaters are more than catered for with a plate of Ribeye, Brisket and Tongue served with smoked onion and mustard while vegetarians may indulge in a medley of root vegetables, egg and pearl barley. If it’s already too much to consider, leave it to the chefs and the “Under the Surface”. A 7-course menu with wine pairing. Kødbyen’s Fiskebar should be high on any Foodie’s bucket list.
As high on the list, but for the meat experience is Fleisch. Butcher by day, Fleisch (German for Meat) still have fish and cater to vegetarians, but seriously, wouldn’t you be there for the meat? Where can you sit down to a bacon-infused bourbon cocktail observing the butcher’s trade while he breaks down a side of beef?
In the evening, reservations are recommended or you can sit at the bar. We found the bar a great spot to share some tastes and observe master craftsman, Peter, create our cocktails.
On the lighter side, Pork Croquettes with tartare sauce and Terrine of rabbit and pistachios wrapped in bacon were perfect, especially teamed with a Kaffe Negroni. Just as enticing, the Beef Tartar and Pappardelle with duck hearts, gizzards and chanterelles. A “Duck Fat Washed Sazerac” is a must with the Pappardelle.
Heartier dishes include Danish Vibyård Lamb with beetroots, smoked celeriac purée and goats cheese or Hindsholm Sausage with mash, corn, cabbage and morel sauce. The show stopper at Fleisch, however, is the 300g hook matured sirloin. It’s accompanied by creamy mash, mushrooms and an onion, parsley and marrow sauce. Pair it with one of the reds on offer from Italy, Germany and Austria. You can put your trust in the chefs here too and have the “Butcher’s Menu” of 7 courses with “a bit of fish, a bit of veg, no sweets, mostly meat”. Meat is the hero at Fleisch, but we have a little crush on Peter too, his cocktails alone are worth the visit.
Restaurant Gorilla is a large open bar and restaurant offering snacks or the full dining experience.
For the most part, a Mediterranean theme runs through the menu, but there are a few surprises. Cod Ceviche with yuzu and Nashi pear is one, the 5-spice pork steamed bun, another. Bar snacks include oysters, Iberico ham, and Terrine of Boar or choose from the protein categories for Lobster Rolls and Beef Sliders. Another ‘Chef’s selection” of 10 or 15 tastes is a good option for the undecided and next time, I’m leaving room for the beef with smoked marrow or the organic pork salad (or maybe both!)
A more casual look at the Meatpacking District can be done from War Pigs Brew Pub, a joint venture between Denmark’s Mikkeller and the USA’s 3Floyds brewers. With 20 beers on tap, we suggest you make yourselves comfortable. Start with the 6 flight option to taste a few first. It’ll get you in the mood and help determine what to have next.
Beer hall style seating inside and out encourages communal conversations and in no time the Texas BBQ is the hot topic. Brisket, smoked for 12-14 hours, beef ribs, links, spareribs and pork shoulder are served in 1/4, 1/2 and full pound portions. Sides include classic coleslaw, and “burnt end bacon beans”. Hot and Spicy, classic dill and bread and butter pickles accompany and every table has a permanent selection of BBQ sauces. Alabama; creamy black pepper and horseradish, Texas; spicy with cranberries, Kansas City; sweet with cloves and allspice and Carolina; sweet mustard.
Beer and BBQ, what’s not to love? Begin an evening here, end an evening here or just stay all night, it’ll take that long to get through the 20 taps.
As with New York, the Meat Packing District in Copenhagen is not all food and booze. Art galleries have a strong presence too. Gallery Poulson presents work from a mainly American artist base. V1 Gallery creates political and social discourse through established and emerging artists. Butcher’s Lab is a gallery in a gym and in the Brown district, Warehouse 9 is a combined gallery and theatre with a mission to move the established boundaries of music, theatre and nightclubs. T-Lounge monthly at Warehouse 9 features art, discussion and movies for trans people and friends.
In summer, Kødbyen’s Mad and Marked Food Market comprises 70 stalls selling fresh local produce or ready prepared delicious meals to eat at picnic tables or take home.
We’re leaving the clubbing to you, paraphernalians. Check out Bakken, KB3 and KB18 and share your reviews in the comments below. Allow a few days to cover Copenhagen’s Meat Packing District: it’s another place we love….