The first time I visited Apollo Bar in Copenhagen, I left because of horrible service. No one welcomed or even looked at me when I arrived, and I actually had a hard time telling if the place was open or not. When I asked to see a menu, a waiter just pointed at a dirty copy laying on the bar, without bothering to ask if I wanted a table. Everyone was avoiding eye contact and made me feel uncomfortable and ignored. So I decided to leave. I honestly don’t expect much when I visit a restaurant. A greeting and a smile go a long way. But I think guests should be treated with respect when they have chosen an establishment to spent their money, and, obviously, the staff should get an equal treatment in return for being a good host. If either part misbehaves, they have no business in the restaurant, neither as personnel nor clientele.
So what made me go back to Apollo Bar? I also believe everyone should get a second chance at making a good impression. Besides, the venue is beautiful, and I had heard from people I trust that the food was good. I also love Frederik Bille Brahe’s original spot – Atelier September. That’s why we decided to return to Charlottenborg Kunsthal this summer, and eat at the museum’ lunch spot – Apollo Bar. No doubt, a very Instagram-friendly place along Nyhavn. I love that you can sit inside, outside under the umbrellas, or even in the herb garden.
The welcome this time was slightly better. At least, we were offered a table, but equally fast, they seemed to forget about us. Eventually, we got the attention of a female waiter and asked for a set of menus. She was acting friendly, but you know how you can tell from the body language and tone of voice that a person is not being genuine? Giving her the benefit of the doubt, however, we proceeded to place our order. Some minor screw-ups with drink orders can be forgiven, and also the fact that the kitchen decided to split up our order. Which caused a misunderstanding where we didn’t get the side dishes that we wanted with the bread, and so forth. In the end, though, that all got sorted.
Once all the food arrived, it was not at all bad to spend some time in the sunny garden of Charlottenborg. Some of the dishes at Apollo Bar seemed identical with plates from Atelier September, like the rye bread with butter and boiled egg. Others were more unique for this spot, e.g. the cantaloupe melon and cucumber salad, which was a refreshing summer dish. My favorite serving was the burrata with haricot vert and confit lemons in olive oil. Perfectly balanced flavors. The same cannot be said about the hummus with broccoli and dukkah. In itself, the spread was tasty enough, but why anyone would pair it with raw pieces of broccoli is beyond me. To finish, I couldn’t help but order a dessert of ricotta and strawberries on toast. Surprisingly, the bread was a darker sourdough variety rather than a fine brioche, which did not fit well with the sweetness of the topping. Those delicious Danish strawberries had deserved a better match.
Service improved drastically at the end of our meal when a friendly and attentive guy took over the responsibility for our table. Suddenly, we felt like we were guests at a restaurant again, instead of just annoying customers. As long as Apollo Bar makes sure they have employees with the right attitude, this could be a proper gem in the Danish capital.
What’s your worst service experience? Feel free to share in a comment below.