It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that it’s November in Copenhagen, and the long dark nights of winter have officially arrived. However, the pre-Christmas season is especially suited to enjoying the finer things in life, such as food, drink and cozy company. If you are in the mood to indulge in some warming fare and togetherness, a visit to Cap Horn should be high on your seasonal ‘to-do’ list.
Located at Nyhavn 21 in the middle of Copenhagen’s landmark harbour area, Cap Horn is ideally placed as a stop before, during or after a bout of nearby shopping. Stepping in out of the cold, the restaurant immediately welcomes you with its relaxed atmosphere, warm colours, and the smell of fresh wood on the open fireplace.
Arriving on a recent chilly night, my friend and I were greeted by the lovely Â’Prinsesse’ Sofia, who settled us at our table with champagne and an enticing overview of the day’s special dishes. (As it turns out, Prinsesse Sofia is not actually a Scandinavian princess, but instead, all the waiting staff at Cap Horn are given the honorary title.) When the time came to decide, my companion immediately laid claim to the pumpkin soup (99kr), while I, secretly annoyed at being beaten to my favourite dish, opted for the duck leg confit (99kr). In the short time before our starters arrived, we’d been suitably warmed by the fireplace and noticed the homely touches around the restaurant, from the Christmas wreaths in the windows, to the mixed tableware collected by the restaurant’s staff at various flea markets.
A basket of fresh, organic brown bread soon appeared, followed by our starters. The pumpkin soup was essentially perfect: creamy, rich and buttery, and crowned with a topping of fresh watercress. The duck leg confit with sweet onion puree was delicious. I silently scolded myself for never actually trying duck leg before; the meat was tender, and the flavour balanced by the sweetness of the puree and apple cider syrup.
The main courses soon followed: rib eye steak with carrot puree and sauted parsnips and parsley (189kr), and the dish of the day, climate-friendly cod baked with chanterelle butter, and served with leek, carrot and potatoes (189kr). My cohort’s rib eye steak was medium rare and tender, covered with a generous splash of savoury veal sauce – he was delighted that Sophie ensured we had enough bread so he could sponge up every last bit. My cod dish was a lovely mix of simple and fresh flavours, heightened by the knowledge that most of the ingredients were local and organic. Our wine also went down nicely – based on my friend’s choice of rib eye steak, Sophie had recommended the Spanish Valduerro Crianza 2007 (425kr/bottle). We acknowledged that red wine wouldn’t normally go with fish, but I had willingly agreed to the mismatch and was not disappointed.
Throughout the meal Sophie was friendly and attentive, yet unobtrusive, and her attitude personifies the Cap Horn experience. Sophie has only been working at the restaurant for a few months and said she enjoys the cozy atmosphere and pleasant people, both colleagues and clientele. No doubt Sophie and her colleagues will be kept busy with the upcoming julefrokost season; Cap Horn’s Christmas menu is now available, and the restaurant welcomes party bookings of all sizes.
To finish the meal we requested the chocolate cake with Danish strawberries and organic ice cream (75kr). My friend enjoyed his cake and had no trouble finishing, but found it a bit short of exceptional.
Stepping back out into the cold evening air, full and content, we agreed that many a happy winter’s night could be spent in good company at Cap Horn.
Nyhavn 21, Cph K
Open daily 09:00-01:00, kitchen open 10:00-23:00
Top Dish: Pumpkin soup
Price range: mains 189-199kr