When we were dining at Amass, I asked our waiter a question that was completely unrelated to the meal that we were having. “What’s the best cinema to go to Copenhagen?” You see, the last instalment of The Hunger Games had come out and given that we had seen every other instalment of the series together, I told K that we needed to go and see it at a cinema that would play it in the original English.
“You have to go to Empire,” our waiter replied. “It’s a very cool cinema, and best of all is its location in Norrebro. It’s right opposite the pizza restaurant Baest, run by the guys who own Relae – definitely worth going to Baest if you couldn’t get a reservation for Relae.”
Given that Relae had been on our shortlist as a potential contender for our anniversary meal, we decided that Baest was a pretty good second option! We showed up one evening for dinner without a reservation after an afternoon screening of Mockingjay, and while we weren’t able to be seated straight away, the maitre d offered us seats and drinks at the bar while we waited for a table to be free.
Baest have a large variety of cocktails on their list, and K was happy to try their signature Baest Spritz’ino – not unlike a Campari & soda, but made of aperol and an organic apple cider – refreshing, sweet and bitter at the same time. I ordered a Pink Grape Soda thinking it would be a sparkling grape juice like the one I had at Amass – unfortunately it was a pink grapefruit juice which isn’t something I would normally order as I prefer a sweeter juice. Oh well, it was still a refreshing drink!
While Baest is primarily known as an innovative pizzeria, they’re also very well regarded for their home-made charcuterie and cheeses. K and I had the pleasure of walking past Baest earlier in the day when they were in the process of working on some of their smoked and cured meats – the aromas coming from the restaurant’s smoker were just amazing! With the memories of those aromas in mind, we ordered a Large Charcuterie to sample.
The selection came out on multiple plates, and we were quite surprised at how much we got for the highly reasonable price of only 165DKK. We started off with Baest’s pork liver pate which comes served with rhubarb mostarda on the side. This is a particularly livery pate that won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it is softened by the mostarda and fresh chives when you spread it on some of the crusty house-baked bread.
The Baest ciccioli made from confit pork was much more enjoyable – right on par with the fantastic charcuterie that we had been having in Paris earlier on our trip. This was mild but tasty enough to eat in spoonfuls by itself!
Just quickly to touch on some of the other cured meats – the Baest bresaola was probably my pick of the thinly sliced cold cuts, but I did also enjoy the fennel salami. That was surprising for K because I don’t generally tend to like the aniseed-flavour of fennel, but this particular salami was done so well and subtly that it just worked particularly well.
By far the best part of the charcuterie selection was the Baest ‘nduja with crostini. A ‘nduja’ was new to me – apparently it’s a spreadable spicy salami paste which you can use as a dip, as a marinade, as a spread on bread…you can do almost anything with it! It’s pure genius, and purely delicious. This is definitely one to try making at home…
In fact, the nduja was so good that we ordered the grilled chicken wings marinated in nduja as a second dish to try before our pizza arrived. After the plump chicken wings that we get in Australia, these felt slightly anaemic without much flesh on the bone – indicative I guess, of the organic origins of these chickens and the lack of artificial growth hormones! Still delicious and very tender – I just wish there was more of them…and I also wish that they sold the nduja spread in a jar for people to buy to use at home!
The pizza is the main calling card for Baest though, so we turned away from the protein overload of the charcuterie and the grill to try a simple pizza – the Baest mozzarella, semi-dried tomatoes and Parma Ham pizza. As nice as it was in its simplicity with a good charcoaled base and top-quality ingredients, it actually wasn’t very good value. It’s a small-ish pizza (you could eat one per person), and there’s just not that much to it.
While everyone talks up the pizzas at Baest, I’d actually say that their charcuterie and grilled meats is more a drawcard for me. While I wouldn’t suggest that you not order a pizza, I would order just the one for sampling purposes, and concentrate on your charcuterie and grill instead!
I would also recommend asking the waiter if it’s possible to have a tour of the prep lab upstairs after your meal! Our Australian waiter had mentioned it to us as a possibility early in the meal, and just before we left, one of the chefs in the kitchen took us upstairs to show us their cheese room, meat smoker, cured meat storage locker, etc etc. It was fascinating to get a bit of insight into how they create the delicious meats that we got to eat.
All in all, Baest is a unique restaurant to visit if you’re ever in Copenhagen. Run by the guys who own Relae, it’s your chance to have top-quality home-made and home-smoked food at a reasonable price. Highly recommended!
Baest is located at 29 Guldbergsgade in Copenhagen.