Gro Spiseri Restaurant Delivers Delicious and Creative Local Cuisine
Urban farm Østergro is a gorgeous setting for dinner in Copenhagen
It is summer in the city. And what a beautiful city this is. Come to Copenhagen, she said. But step off the main tourist routes. Slow down. And explore the sustainable side. Like a local. Not too far afield, you’ll find a climate-friendly neighborhood known as Østerbro. Atop a roof here, sits an organic urban farm supported by the local community. Don’t worry, they are willing to share. With you. This is ØsterGRO organic urban farm and all are welcome. For a truly delicious experience, book a place for dinner in the greenhouse of this gorgeous garden. On a blue-skied summer night in Denmark, it is truly difficult to beat.
SUSTAINABLE LOCALLY-SOURCED FOOD
Everything at Gro Spiseri is sourced from the rooftop farm itself plus local purveyors of sustainably caught seafood and meat. The bulk of the menu is plant-based and seasonal, but not specifically vegetarian or vegan and on our recent June menu we enjoyed local herring, cod and rabbit. Never fear, vegetarian menus are of course available and special vegetarian-only evenings happen every Monday.
UP ON THE ROOF
Here in Denmark, you don’t get many opportunities to take in the view from above. So when I learned that there was a restaurant in the middle of an urban farm up on a rooftop in my neighborhood, I was intrigued. I love sneaky spots to see the city from above. And while the view from up here may not be the most iconic this city has to offer, this farm is fantastisk. That’s Danish for fantastic. Make time to come early before your slated seating. Sit on the benches in the beautiful garden. Befriend the bunnies. Say hello to the chickens. And don’t worry – these pretty birds aren’t on the menu but they do provide the eggs used in your dinner. It made me miss my own backyard flock I left in Oregon.
When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there the world below can’t bother me
Let me tell you nowWhen I come home feelin’ tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet (up on the roof)
I get away from the hustling crowd
And all that rat-race noise down in the street (up on the roof)
On the roof, the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Let’s go up on the roof (up on the roof)At night the stars put on a show for free
And, darling, you can share it all with meI keep a-tellin’ you
Right smack dab in the middle of town
I’ve found a paradise that’s trouble proof (up on the roof)
And if this world starts getting you down
There’s room enough for two
Up on the roof (up on the roof)Up on the roof (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, baby (up on the roof)
Oh, come on, honey (up on the roof)Everything is all right (up on the roof)– Up on the Roof – Sung by The Drifters, Songwriters: Carole King / Gerry Goffin
FIRST ROOFTOP FARM IN DENMARK
ØsterGRO itself is only five years old, born in the spring of 2014 under the vision and efforts of Kristian Skaarup, Livia Urban Swart Haaland and Sofie Brincker. That first year sixteen local families joined the CSA (community supported agriculture) endeavor. Built over a former car auction house, the farm is a brilliant example of the social sustainability that has become a priority in this neighborhood. I’m more than impressed. It’s seriously pretty up here. And the produce is top notch.
TAKE A SEAT AT THE COMMUNAL TABLE FOR DINNER
Ding, ding, ding! Time for dinner. Inside the greenhouse is a long table set charmingly with mismatched dishes and fresh cut flowers. I came as part of a large group of international friends living here in Copenhagen and we were taken to the table first for the 8:30 pm seating. A couple visiting the city was sandwiched between us and another smaller group. I’ve heard others who have come as a couple and found themselves with new friends after the evening’s meal was complete. If this idea speaks to you, maybe check when you book.
DINNER IS SERVED
We were welcomed by our lovely hostess who explained a bit about the evening’s proceedings and was ever helpful with a natural wine recommendation. Courses were presented on sharing plates for two and introduced each time by the talented chefs themselves. You can order a wine pairing to accompany or order from the menu.
Sustainability is the key word in ØsterGRO’s mindset. … The vision is to make the city greener, ecosystems less alien, and to [bring] local communities [together] around food and ecology. ØsterGRO is a platform for knowledge sharing [and] a green oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle, where we can inspire each other for a more sustainable way of life – and we like to spread our seeds!
STARTER SNACKS SERVED FIRST
We were served four courses of seven dishes. We started with little bite-sized “snacks” to start. A warm-up for what was to come. The first amuse-bouche was a pulled rabbit roll fried in a light tempura with cod skin, apple chutney, fried sage and mushroom sauce. Rich, but tiny. A perfect tempter.
Next we were presented with a little onion cracker topped with a fennel and garlic glaze, dried egg yolk, pretty petals plus some pickled and fried garlic.
FIRST COURSE OR STARTERS
I will admit, this was my favorite round of dishes – interesting layered local flavors beautifully presented. Next up, a little slice of fried herring placed on top cod tartar with oyster cream and lovage leaves made fancy with a few edible flowers. This dish was delish.
Soon we were served a lovely little tart made of puff pastry layered with confit mushrooms, sliced fennel, an egg yolk cream, caramelized lemon sauce and topped with fennel fronds, preserved lemon and garlic cheese. Um yes. It was that good. Flaky and full of flavor, it was a crowd favorite for our group for sure.
MAIN DISHES DON’T DISAPPOINT
More cod coming up. Good thing I love this mild fish so available in local waters. I can highly recommend taking a tour by boat to pluck your own from the clear cool waters offshore. But tonight I was happy someone else had procured the not-so-pretty fish and cleaned them for me. Next up, cod rolls with smoked butter over a rabbit sauce and green parsley oil. Presented in tandom with a potato puree, caramelized onion, onion compote and wood sorrels. To be honest, I wanted them on the same plate. The flavor of the buttery onions was so potent and I was wishing I could have eaten them together with the lighter flavored cod.
DESSERT IS A DISH BEST SERVED… LAST?
Ok – so here is where my personal bias comes in to play. I have not one photo of the dessert served at our lovely farm to table dinner. I will admit, when dining out, I don’t usually take dessert. I have been known to take another glass of wine to finish the evening off or even a cup of coffee. I did try it. It was fine. But it wasn’t the dessert. It was me. I may have taken to heart the communal table atmosphere more than the sweet treat set in front of me. You’ll just have to book a table to taste it for yourself.
HINTS AND TIPS FOR OUR OWN FARM TO TABLE EXPERIENCE
Gro Spiseri is open for dinners every Thursday through Monday from March to November. Seatings are available at 17.30 or 20.30. We chose the later seating as the sun sets at almost 22.00 come midsummer. It was lovely. Although, come early for the later seating as we had little time to enjoy the beautiful garden once the platings began. For reference, we finished at nearly 23.00.
Fixed price for 6-7 course seasonal menu | DKK 495
Wine pairing | DKK
A glass of various natural wines | DKK 75 – 150
Vegetarian 2-course menu on Monday nights | DKK 175
Make sure you climb up and take in the farm from the top. Especially on a beautiful summer night like we enjoyed.
Come to Copenhagen, she said. It’s tasty here.
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