The gastronomically sensitive amongst us will be aware of the rise and rise of experiential dining. In London they’ve (begrudgingly) welcomed the naked diner, while in New York, restaurant-goers have been served up somersaulting ninjas as their waiting staff. And Scandinavian shores aren’t immune either; at a cafe in central Copenhagen you can slurp a cup of tea whilst surrounded by an army of felines staring at you.
We’ve reached peak-pop-up; it was probably the eat-out-of-a-toilet-bowl cafe in Taiwan that pushed us over the edge, wasn’t it? And with most cycles, on reaching saturation stage, you turn back to basics. That’s exactly what the team behind Det Veldækkede Bord (The Well Laid Table) – a new monthly supper club based in Copenhagen – are doing. They’re aiming for a meal of immersive togetherness where the focus of the day is not on kitschy gimmicks but instead is all about the calibre of the company kept and the charming location.
“When I thought of all the family and long-table dinners I have attended in Copenhagen, I thought of how people connect during these events,” explains Pernille Grønnegaard Møller, founder of Det Veldækkede Bord.
Bonding with others over a meal is something Danes take very seriously. The epic occasion of the Julefrokost or the Easter lunches — which go on for hours with their copious courses — are testimony to this. The Danish notion of hygge was pretty much founded on it.
Det Veldækkede Bord, with its combination of communal and experiential dining, feels distinctly authentic, like an intimate meal with friends you’ve just yet to meet.
Pernille’s background in Leisure Management and as part of the management team at Gorm’s Pizza in Copenhagen meant she has had ring-side seats at the table for some time, and so knows first-hand how food can bring people together.
“At Gorm’s, I co-ordinated a family dinner with 100 people; we even closed off all of Magstræde and dined in the middle of the street. I saw how food can make people connect like no other kind of event really can.”
Ensuring the meals are a totally unique occasion is important to Det Veldækkede Bord team, so selecting the right location is crucial. Pernille, who sees location scouting as a job perk, uses this research time as an opportunity to better explore the city she lives in.
“A great part of the job is that I get to see Copenhagen from a whole new perspective. We get to take the guests on a special tour of Copenhagen and discover new places. All the buildings you drive by every day; maybe there’s the perfect location hidden in plain sight.”
Their maiden dinner in September 2016 — held at the winter garden in KW3, a beautiful culture house based in a leafy corner of Østerbro — set the tone for good things to come. And the following month the stakes were raised when guests dined in an abandoned war bunker.
“I want to make our guests a part of a great story. I bet there’s a lot of people out there who have never – and never will again – sit down for a three course dinner in a bunker.”
This is not a dining experience for the restaurant purists though, Pernille warns:
“If you want a meal with privacy, white shirts and set menus, then we are not the place!”
So definitely no ninjas, but maybe some good old fashioned conversation. Do you think you can handle that?
Discover more information about Det Veldækkede Bord here.
Photos by Freya McOmish.
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