Picture that classic Christmas film scene, the misted up through which you glimpse the candlelit faces of friends and family enjoying great food and wine together, radiating warmth out into the dark miserable street. This beacon of julehygge is Sankt Annæ 8, wine bar, eatery and one of the cosiest places you’ll find in Copenhagen.
Located in Christianshavn, and opened 2 years ago by the same folks behind nr. 18 and 20a, Sankt Annæ 8 fast became a local favourite.
In summer, the pavements are full of happy people sitting back against the yellow walls sipping rosé. But we’ve got a while to wait until that time comes around again. Now, as winter closes in and the evenings grow steadily darker, the warmth emanating from the windows of the wine bar on the corner draws us towards it like flies to firelight.
Emilie, who is the manager of Sankt Annæ, is our fabulous host for the evening. She wears a deep emerald jumpsuit and a red lipstick smile - the epitome of the perfect cosy wine bar host.
Like all great wine bars that do food, it is simple and sublime. The menu consists of one main dish - ‘Dagens ret’ - that changes every day, just like at home. Each week, you can checkout the dishes for the upcoming week on Sankt Annæ 8’s website or Facebook page.
I am such a fan of this simple approach, for a multitude of reasons…
Firstly, as Emilie tells me, it means a lot less waste. Only ingredients for one meal, rather than ten or twenty, have to be sourced, and it’s fairly guaranteed that these will go to use on the night.
Secondly, only a one woman team - Emilie herself on the night we dine there - is needed in the tiny kitchen behind the counter - which is no larger than most people’s kitchens at home, whilst another sees to the wine and the table service. And they’re both still smiling, even on a busy night!
Thirdly, so many costs are cut by only offering one dish a day, that the quality of the ingredients and the time invested in that dish can be the best possible, without making it expensive for us hungry guests. The dish of the day is only 125 kr to eat in, or 85 kr to take away. And I promise you it’s worth this and some!
Lastly, not having a choice in what you eat can be such a relief! Maybe I’m not addressing the fussy eaters so much with this, but at restaurants I usually ask the chef to surprise me, so I don't have to worry about choosing. Usually it results in me eating something amazing I wouldn’t have normally chosen, and I get to learn about and discover new dishes.
At Sankt Annæ 8, that whole stressful part, (we’re talking 1st world problems here) of menu browsing and choosing, is no longer part of the dining experience, and allows more air and table space to enjoy your evening of hygge.
It’s how I like to dine, and it’s how Sankt Annæ like to do dinner. We’re basically a match made in heaven.
When Dovydas and I visited one evening in October, the dish of the day was a slow roasted pork neck with crispy kale in “mormorfløde” (grandmother dressing), pickled cranberries, potatoes and gravy, introduced by Emilie as “today it's Christmas!"
I’ve enthused about the Dagens ret, but if you want a little more, you could start off with a charcuterie and/or cheese board and this is *insert praying emoji* absolutely divine. Here we’ve got coppa (cured meat), chilli and aniseed sausage, chicken rillettes (pâté), tomme crayeuse (cheese), mature comté, dijon mayo and pear & truffle purée. Just add fresh baked bread and red wine and you’re as happy as can be.
When we’d mopped up the last cranberries of our incredible main course, Emilie swooped straight in and placed before each of us one of the best chocolate walnut brownies I’ve ever tasted, served warm with vanilla yoghurt crème and dehydrated buckthorn (or havtorn for the Danish readers).
You can’t really go wrong with your choice of wine here, and I’d recommend asking for a pairing with the Dagens ret, or just describe what you like in a wine and see what you get! They have a small but very interesting, quality selection (you can see most of them here). All are served by the glass and you can always taste before you commit.
First we tried Le Naturel, a natural wine by Vintae, with a bold “best before date” on the label, due to the wine's fast-evolving nature. Damn good. Our second wine, another interesting one, Fa' Si' La Boire (like the French "facile à boire" - "easy to drink"), which is actually a combination of a red and a rosé (yes really), made by Danish sommelier-turned-wine-maker, Rune Elkjær.
Sankt Annæ 8 is open every day except Sunday, serving charcuterie, sandwiches and soup from 11:30 - 17:00 and the Dagens ret from 17:00 - 24:00, to eat in or take away. They are always serving wine!
Take a look at the what's on the menu this week here.