An Evening in Copenhagen: Neighbourhood & Mother

So, we continue. After a much-needed rest in our sun-drenched hotel room, we headed out into the streets of Copenhagen armed with a list of restaurant recommendations (anyone that knows me know that I never, ever go anywhere without researching dinner options in great depth). Our destination of choice: Vesterbro, formerly the meatpacking district and now one of Copenhagen’s coolest districts.

Despite the sunny day, we left the hotel to a light shower that resulted in some pretty spectacular skies and an impressive double rainbow over Tivoli Gardens and the train station. Definitely one of the more pleasurable rain showers I’ve ever been caught in, and our spirits were in no way dampened (lolol).

What we had not considered, though, was the fact that it was Friday night, and all the restaurants in Copenhagen’s answer to Shoreditch were jam-packed. After trying in vain at a couple of places, we decided to put our names on the hour-long waiting list at Mother, and headed off to our original choice Neighbourhood for pre-dinner drinks. On our way, we spotted this seriously cool street/rock art:

Neighbourhood offers gourmet pizzas and organic cocktails, and the menu was filled with interesting natural ingredients – it actually reminds me a bit of Dandelyan’s cocktail list. Predictably, I went for a gin/elderflower/pear concoction, while Matthew played it less safe with a spiced pumpkin affair. They were both delicious and we were pleased to get to experience some of Copenhagen’s surprisingly buzzy Friday-night cocktail scene (even if the bar was packed!).

By this point we were actually past the hour mark at Mother, so we hurried back in the hope that we wouldn’t have lost our table. Luckily, we hadn’t and we were led through the (still packed) restaurant to a table by the window. Mother is situated in an old meatpacking warehouse (in a strip of other, similar restaurants) and also serves pizza, with a huge pizza oven just opposite the door and an open kitchen.

The tables were packed in pretty tightly, so we squeezed in and ordered a beer each. They arrived in moments and they were quite large.

Pizza-wise, I went for the Porcella, which was basically sausage and mushroom. Now I’m not sure if I didn’t notice the mushroom part or if I consciously decided to ignore it, but either way this proved to be a bad choice. Fresh and delicious looking as it was, I do not like mushrooms and I also don’t like cheese, and this was one cheesy pizza. I ended up giving most of it to Matthew – BUT the crust was absolutely perfect!

Neither of us can remember which one Matthew went for, because he ordered in a panic, but it had some really delicious salami on it and he claimed it was possibly the best pizza he’d ever eaten.

Service was speedy, efficient and friendly (by this point we were coming to realise that efficient & friendly are standard everywhere in Copenhagen) and Mother definitely felt like a local haunt – always my aim in visiting new cities. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a pizza fan!

We headed back to our hotel tired and very, very happy – Copenhagen was already more than exceeding my expectations and the following days would only get better!

On The Waterfront, Exeter

On the Waterfront is a bit of a favourite around these parts and it’s always high on the list of restaurants-that-Exeter-students-take-their-parents-to. My parents, however, have never been, so when they arrived, dog in tow and after a long, traffic-ridden journey, on Friday, that was where we headed.

The skies had been threatening rain all day, but luckily things looked clear enough for us to grab a much-coveted table outside – which was handy for our puppy companion! The restaurant is famed for its perfect location right on the water at Exeter’s gorgeous quay, and despite the black clouds hanging around, it was a lovely evening.

IMG_2024

To get things going, we ordered a jug of Pimms for mummy and I, and some bread and olives. There were three varieties of bread: one olive-y, one standard sourdough kind of thing (I think) and the most interesting, those little white parcels. Inside were two crispbreads – think cross between a poppadom and a baked tortilla.

IMG_2025

I feel like you can’t go to the Waterfront and not get one of their famed pizzas, and after much discussion and even some complex maths, Rory and I decided to split an enormous 16″ “dustbin lid” pizza. On The Waterfront have one of the most imaginative selections of toppings I’ve ever seen, and while my brother played it relatively safe (and badly, as it turned out) with a spanish sausage creation, we opted for half crispy duck, and half “three little pigs”: pork, bacon, apple sauce and yes, that is pork scratchings on top. Just in case we didn’t have enough food, we also ordered a side of potato wedges.

IMG_2026

IMG_2027

The pork side was okay – pulled pork on a pizza is always a good thing in my book – but there wasn’t enough apple sauce for my liking, and I much preferred the duck side. I just can’t get enough of duck! My brother ended up not really liking his but between him and Rory, they polished off the majority of the wedges. My dad, meanwhile, was tucking into a fish finger sandwich that looked great, with big chunks of battered fish rather than actual fish fingers.

IMG_2028

Full from our enormous pizzas and with an antsy Jimmy under the table, we skipped dessert in favour of a walk down by the river. The sun was just setting and those horrible clouds mixed with the leftover blue sky made for some pretty dramatic scenes.

IMG_2030

IMG_2031

The dog, of course, threw himself into the river as soon as we let him off the lead and then promptly set off in chase of another dog, which caused a fair amount of havoc. But eventually we reclaimed him and headed home! I’d always recommend On the Waterfront as my quayside destination of choice: if pizzas aren’t your thing they have loads of other options and if they are, the toppings list is unrivalled! The atmosphere is always buzzy and friendly and it’s just a nice way to while away a sunny/not so sunny evening by the river.

Pizza Express Lunchtime Menu

Last week, I received an invitation to try out Pizza Express‘ new “Express Lunch” menu. Obviously this is my idea of a dream come true, so I jumped at the chance and on Thursday Rory and I headed down to see what was in store.

Although I love Pizza Express (and have very fond memories of a school trip there in year 3), I’ve never actually been inside the Exeter branch. It’s situated right on Cathedral Green in a gorgeous old building with equally lovely views, so the location is easily one of the best in the city.

IMG_1459

Inside, we were whisked upstairs to our table and handed the menus. The new lunch menu is surprisingly expansive for a lunchtime offering, with eight pizzas (described as smaller as their regular ones, inkeeping with the light lunch theme), several salads, soup, sides, and something I’d not seen before – the Piadina, which is like a pizza/sandwich hybrid.

IMG_1468

IMG_1463

I ordered the Polla Ad Astra pizza and Rory had the Italian meat Piadina, and then we ordered a side of doughballs (my favourite food in the entire world – Pizza Express doughballs cannot be beaten), and one of polenta chips, which I was intrigued by. Our waiter seemed surprised that we weren’t ordering more so we were a bit worried that the portions were going to be really tiny, but they weren’t at all!

IMG_1471

My pizza was pretty much spot on. Although it looked big, the base was paper-thin enough that it still felt light and not too calorific (I know I know…it probably was). I gave two slices to Rory and was still easily full.

IMG_1475

I didn’t try his piadina because of all the cheese, but he assures me it was delicious. It certainly looked impressive!

IMG_1473

IMG_1472

Doughballs were doughball-like and delicious – honestly, I could eat them forever – and the polenta chips were a revelation in their own right. They came with the most delicious honey-mustard dip (which our waitress may or may not have dropped all over the floor the first time around…it was replaced quickly & apologetically!) and they were so yummy. I’ve had polenta in loads of different forms and I still don’t really understand what it is but they were such a good, unusual side!

Now, at this stage we were pleasantly full. However, then they brought out the dessert menu and I lost my head a little bit. Rory went for the summer pudding, a very sensible, fruity option.

IMG_1478

I was tempted by the raspberry sorbet and also, boringly, by plain vanilla gelato…and then when the waiter arrived, I found myself ordering a chocolate glory – the most enormous sundae you could imagine. Even the waiter laughed at me when I ordered it. Luckily Rory was on hand to help!

IMG_1477

IMG_1481

IMG_1480

This visit really reignited my love for Pizza Express. Sometimes you just need a good chain restaurant, and it helps that the Exeter branch is so gorgeous inside! Our service was great, food was delicious and the lunch menu is really well priced. Nothing is more than £7 and like I said, it’s big enough to offer something for everyone and light enough that you won’t come out stuffed (unless you go for that sundae…we rolled home). Thanks for having us Pizza Express, and I’ll be back!

(*On this occasion we were guests of the restaurant but as always my opinons are all my own!)