Whenever we're in Copenhagen, we always swing by a Mikkeller bar to enjoy some of the best beers in the world. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø surely is a "beer-magician", constantly pushing the art forward. This year the micro-brewer opened up the restaurant "Øl & Brød", translated from danish as "Beer and bread".
The restaurant serves a danish speciality called "smørrebrød" which is traditionally rye bread with several different toppings. This dish is simply perfect together with different types of beer— hence this is a great match together with the wide array of Mikkeller beers (and we're asking ourselves why it took them this long to start up this concept).
The interior has the right touch of "luxury" without being pretentious at all. The Mikkeller brand and shops has always tried to be very "hip and cool", but it's evident the restaurant needed a little more "finesé" in order to bring it to the next level. It's not a big space, but we had the luxury of sitting outside where tables had been placed next to the street. The restaurant is run by Johan Blasberg which has the ambition to make Øl & Brød a restaurant of "world class". This is an ambitious goal to say the least. The restaurant aims to put its own modern touch to the traditional "smørrebrød".
We start off with a bread with herring pickled in Mikkeller spontanale, with a generous amount of fennel and apple. First bite, and this is easily the best smørrebrød we've ever tasted. The bread was however a bit dry and the creamy sauce wasn't enough to provide moisture (which is hard to balance— as it might've been that the dish would be overpowered with sauce if more was added...).
All the dishes are inventive (and surely "smørrebrød" in its own class) with great use of ingredients, and they're quickly gone from out plates.
For our fourth dish we went with the calves hart, with a pickled kohlrabi and a compote of fried onion, apple and smoked marrow (that's plated in front of us). Using table-side plating adds to the more "luxurious" feeling and elevates the experience.
Each dish is obviously paired with a Mikkeller beer (usually two options are available). For the calves heart, we went with It's alive which matched the dish just perfectly (we usually only enjoy darker beers with food, as it pairs nicely). During the entire meal, the beers were perfect together with the food.
As we visited for lunch, we didn't opt for the available spirits to each dish. The restaurant has an impressive list of "aquavits" to pair with each smørrebrød as well— we're sure this would be a great addition.
The server is very friendly and when we ask about the beautiful plates that each dish is served on-- he finds out where we can buy them (this is the kind of small gestures that elevates a restaurant!)
The restaurant tries to be of "world class" and it does a wholeheartedly good attempt at it (though in a traditional Mikkeller-minimalistic way). Serving only "smørrebrød" is both a blessing and a curse in that regard however. The options are limitless— but in the end, it's still bread with toppings.
All flavours are very distinct and "clean", but doesn't provide new sensations (at least not if you're from the northern region). Though we can sum up the entire experience as "pretty damn nice", the bill quickly carries away (when simply going for a'la carte menu— there's also tasting menus available) and the price doesn't really feel as "justified" as other restaurants we've visited; but it's hard to put a finger on why— the produce is great and the beers are world-class. We suspect it might be psychological that eating "luxurious sandwiches" isn't as exciting as different types of dishes, though if there's one place that can help us change our perspective of this in the future— it sure is Øl & Brød— and we'll definitively be back for several more visits; highly recommended.