In Vesterbro in Copenhagen, a new natural wine bar and neighborhood restaurant called Ancestrale has opened. The name refers to the méthode ancestrale of making naturally sparkling wine (pét nat), but, of course, you get every type of wine here – white, rosé, orange, and red, both with and without bubbles. This casual eatery and watering hole was founded by three young, yet experienced guys: Johann Duedahl Jacobsen (former waiter at Restaurant Radio), Patrick Hult (former restaurant manager at Studio), and Andreas Waechter who I remember well from his time at the wine bar Ved Stranden 10.
Looking for more great spots for food and drinks in Copenhagen? Check out our city map of Copenhagen!
As a wine bar first and foremost, Ancestrale has a great offer every day between 4 and 6 PM where you can get a taste of three different wines for only DKK 100! Unfortunately, we came a bit later for our visit, but the price tags on the wine bottles are generous anyway. After showing us to the table, Andreas took us to the wine cellar (more of a room really, in the back of the venue) and gave us time to look around, study the labels, and make a selection. A much more interesting way to pick a wine than just browsing through a wine list. I for one, always remember labels better than names at least. It was easy to spot a bottle from Gut Oggau because of their recognizable faces on the front. One of my favorites from them is Theodora, but the blondie was not in stock. However, I found her mysterious, dark-haired cousin Winifred (a rosé). That was ok because she’s my favorite too!
The venue of Ancestrale is glowing with Danish “hygge.” A warm yellow light sets the mood (usually not good for photos, but I thought it worked out quite well), paired with raw brick walls, and wooden tables (and a larger communal table in the middle). Very Scandinavian and very hipster.
The menu is simple, and so is the cooking style. You can choose from the à la carte list, with every dish priced at DKK 95, or the full five-course meal at a very generous total of DKK 395 (which we chose). As such, Ancestrale would fit well into the Bib Gourmand category in the Michelin Guide. Let’s see what happens when the guide launches on the 19th of February this year!
First out was a simple snack of potato chips, as well as slices of house-made sourdough bread. Copenhagen restaurants are really rocking the sourdough bread these days. Just the right thickness to each slice, slightly gooey on the inside, and with a super crunchy crust.
The first real dish to hit our table was also the weakest. Hake with dill sauce, buckwheat, and kohlrabi. Some kind of fishy aftertaste made it my least favorite of the meal. A great piece of pork belly came next, served with grilled black kale, a mayo infused with the same kale, and shavings of dried egg yolk. Although, I would have preferred an emulsion sauce that was less green in its taste.
That was quickly forgotten when we got the Thybo cheese. Drizzled in browned butter (!) and sprinkled with roasted hazelnuts. Plus, we got refills of that delectable bread! However, even the cheese serving had to step aside for what was easily the best dish at Ancestrale this evening: the dessert. A soft, sticky meringue, topped with half-frozen black currants and caramelized white chocolate.
Ancestrale is just my kind of wine bar. A place I will return to time and time again.
Have you been to Ancestrale? Please feel free to leave a comment below.