Pass through the door and the beautiful rear courtyard of the 1616 building and on into a refined, feminine and somewhat whimsical world. Visitors are greeted with pink walls, a ceiling with birch-leaf-patterned paper, portraits both royal and quirky and the very best of Danish design. My first reaction was: Oeff! This is quite shocking. Hip and trendy. No doubt about that. But where are the good old days of the second floor with polished wooden floors, elegant white lacquered chairs and crystal chandeliers. Gone for ever! Don’t they risk to alienate there loyal longtime customers?
But Østergaard doesn’t worry. He believes in the right mix between traditional and contemporary elements: “During the concept phase for the Royal Café, we gave our imagination absolutely free rein within the themes of Danishness, design, our royal heritage and humour,” says Lo Østergaard, who is the interior stylist and one of the driving forces behind the new café along with Rud Christiansen and Royal Copenhagen. “We wanted to create a unique space to promote the best of traditional Danish food and Danish design. The result is a pure anti-Starbucks experience,” explains Rud Christiansen, indicating the long banquet tables, which promote an occassional chat between visitors to the café and the three-foot-high royal portraits and wall paintings, which bear witness to an exuberant imagination and an affectionate nod to ‘noblesse oblige’. Danish design firms such as Holmegaard, Kvadrat, Bang & Olufsen and Fritz Hansen have produced special fixtures and fittings for the new café. The opening of the café completes the comprehensive renovation of Royal Copenhagen’s flagship store and museum, now under one roof on Amagertorv.
Rud’s long career as a coffee expert, creator of the Ruds Køkken brand and
spokesman for excellent quality is reflected in The Royal Café’s menu. In addition to top-quality coffee, tea and cake, the café also offers “Smushi” – Danish open sandwiches prepared like sushi. A humoristic and succeeded example of fusion cuisine. Danish classics such as “rødgrød med fløde” (a red berry pudding with cream) and “æblekage” (similar to apple charlotte) are also available. All coffee drinks are made using Rud’s Double Roast coffee and milk from Grambogård, while the teas are selected by The Royal Café’s first lady, Bella, who has just returned from a seven-week tea course in China.
Everyone’s tastes vary, so visitors to the café are welcome to choose which of the Royal Copenhagen services they would like to eat or drink from. Wondering if I can have my cake on a Flora Danica plate. Parties and events can also be held here, in between the dancing polar bears and birch leaves, at one of Copenhagen’s most central addresses. The café offers ‘al fresco’ service in two different courtyards, one warmed by the morning sun and the other by the afternoon sun.
The Royal Café at Royal Copenhagen’s flagshipstore at Amagertorv 43 Copenhagen
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 9-18. Saturday-Sunday: 10-17.
(May 29, 2007, by Leslie Leijenhorst)