Thursday, 5 October 2017

Baest - The World's 13th Best Pizza - Copenhagen

Baest has been ranked the 13th best pizza place, which is quite an accolade when you think about how many pizza places there are in the world, I can think of at least 10 in Leeds city centre just off of the top of my head. So what makes Baest so good? Why is some of the best pizza in the world found in Denmark?

First all Baest use only organic meats and produce, the flour is local and is gently fermented and then cooked in a wood-fired oven that they had specially made for them in Naples. It’s there for you to see in the restaurant and the charcuterie is made onsite above the restaurant, the mozzarella is also made using local organic milk which is stretched by hand several times a day. The meat they use on their pizzas and offer as charcuterie is crafted from Danish pigs (and we all know how good Danish bacon is), they think they are some of the best pigs in Europe.

There is so much care and attention that goes in to everything they do, plus it’s affordable (by Copenhagen standards).

We visited Copenhagen in January, it’s a fairly quiet time to go Copenhagen as the winters are bitterly cold and a lot of places closed for a month or so following Christmas (something we weren’t aware of when we booked our trip – more of a reason to go back in Spring!). We’d made sure we’d booked restaurants that were a classed as ‘fine dining’, (ie Michelin starred or heading there) but we weren’t really prepared for informal dining places, such as Baest, to be fully booked too. I feel like I say this a lot and maybe one day I will learn, but I really recommend booking restaurants before you go on holiday. The only time I’ve never had this problem was in Croatia. 

When we arrived at Baest we were told there would be a wait for a shared table, all the private tables had been booked, the wait would be around an hour. We were a little tired from travelling and couldn’t decide what to do so we walked out, stood outside for a bit, realised we had no idea where else to go and then walked back in again and said we would wait. With all this dilly dallying two more couples had jumped ahead of us and now our wait was even longer… thankfully there is a bar that you can stand at drink wine, and a bar menu to keep you sober enough for your main meal.

After a long wait (an hour and a half), and pestering the concierge of ‘how long now?’ every time someone else sat down we were finally seated (a little bit earlier than planned) after another couple were late/didn’t come back in time for their booking.

We had decided to hold out for our main meal and only nibbled on some olives but were on the border of becoming tipsy from drink. We ordered some charcuterie to share, each piece of the board was explained to us but I immediately forgot what it was, I can tell you, however, that I loved it all.

We were told that pizzas would come out as they are cooked, to which replied that this was no problem at all as we were going to order two but share them between us to get the best of both worlds.

The first pizza to make its way to us was topped with mozzarella, tomato and spicy ndjua. It was the best ndjua I had ever tasted, the sourdough based was excellent and no too heavy on the stomach and had plenty of taste.

The second pizza to make its way to us had a burrata base instead of a tomato based topped with parma ham and smoked slightly dried tomatoes. I love burrata, it’s usually a sneaky treat when I’m allowed to do the online shop on Ocado, this pizza was really really good but I still think I prefer a tomato base, it’s always good to try different things though!

Service was excellent, the Danes are known for being some of the friendliest people on the planet, perhaps it’s something to do with being ranked as being the happiest nation in the world too? Everyone in the restaurant appeared to be having a great night, there was definitely a sense of Hygge inside too. Warm and cosy inside, good food, good drink and rain and cold outside making it feel even snugger inside.

The Danes have great taste 

If you need any further convincing to go to Baest I should also mention that it was opened by Christian F. Puglisi and Kim Rossen who have previous experience from Michelin-Starred Relae (stay tuned for the review) and its more informal sibling Manfreds. During the day you can also buy bread from the bakery, Mirabelle, that is attached to Baest, I’ve heard tales of people stocking up and bring it back in their suitcase it’s that good.

Baest is in the Norrebro district of Copenhagen, generally perceived to be the more fashionable and hipster side of town. You’ll find a lot of good eateries, independent coffee shops and craft ale and wine bars in this district. I’ve heard it used to be the ‘dodgy’ side and you might generally get this feeling with the graffiti laden streets and late night kebab shops with students rolling out of them but I never felt unsafe here, even with the 30 minute walk back to our hotel on the other side of the man-made lakes in the dark.

Our meal a Baest cost 800 Danish Krone (£93.57 considering the exchange rate at the time).

If you fancy a beer before or after your trip to Baest I can definitely recommend Brus, it has a large selection of beers on offer and even houses its own microbrewery inside. A perfect place to lose a few hours.

If you’re visiting Norrebro during the day, some of the things we got up to included going to Assistens Cemetery where you’ll find the final resting place of Hans Christian Andersen, a grave that is dedicated to the homeless of Copenhagen amongst other interesting graves. It’s the place to be buried in Copenhagen.

Hans Christian Andersen Grave
Memorial Grave for the Homeless of Copenhagen
Cat statue 

If you fancy a bit of shopping, there are small independent shops dotted along Jaegersborggade where you’ll also find some of the best coffee in town at Coffee Collective and some of the best cinnamon buns in Copenhagen at Meyers Bageri. If vintage is more your thing there is a street of second hand shops on Ravnsborggade and Ryesgade with a mix of furniture and clothes shops, some of them neatly displayed and some of them more of a jumble sale (which is more fun in my opinion).

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