Lou Lou serves Italian food like you never had it, in a venue that you wouldn’t have guessed to be located in Copenhagen. Bo Bech has created a restaurant with a dreamland interior design, where he makes delicate-looking food inspired by the land of pasta, cheese, and wine. Lou Lou is all the rich flavors and wonderful ingredients of Italian cuisine presented on flower-painted grandma plates with an elegant and sophisticated Nordic touch to them. This is a must-visit place in Copenhagen, and one of my 10 new favorite places in town.
Note: This restaurant has closed permanently.
Interior Design by Space Copenhagen
The red neon sign on the wall outside read Lou Lou. We had arrived at Ny Østergade 20 in the inner city of Copenhagen on a warm autumn day in early September. As we entered our lunch destination, the brass colored cocktail bar was the first thing that met our eyes. Behind it, a hipster with a beard and undercut, tattooed arms, wearing a clean white shirt with folded sleeves, a bow tie, and a leather apron. On the wall in the back was a huge art deco style mirror and all over the ceiling hung Asian rice paper lamps. Beautiful petrol blue velour chairs and sofas filled the dining room, and the tables wore white cloths. One wall was made of mirrors and the other was entirely covered in a huge collage. This somewhat untypical Nordic design is done by a Danish company called Space Copenhagen. Apparently, they’ve also decorated the inside of Noma, although in a very different style. Lou Lou is nothing like Bo Bech’s other restaurant, Geist. I wouldn’t call it a more formal place, although it might look so at first glance.
Italian Menu & Grandmother’s Plates
Once you sink your butt into that deep velour sofa you realize you won’t bother to get up again very soon. That’s not the intention of the restaurant either. Soon, homemade bread and a grandmother plate with olive oil and two green olives arrived at our table. Lou Lou has only one type of plate and they all look brand new, unlike the typical hipster style of mixing different vintage platters. Since it was lunchtime, we were satisfied with an Økologisk pils from the brewery Hancock. I’d love to check the selection of natural wines next time, though. The menu at Lou Lou follows the traditional anatomy of an Italian meal: a big selection of various ‘antipasti’ starters, followed by primi pasta dishes and secondi main dishes with different meats. Finally, dolci to end the meal on a sweet note.
Simple Italian Cooking – Bo Bech Style
With Lou Lou, Bo Bech wanted to build a new place that freed him from the style that people had come to expect from him at Geist. He wanted to cook simpler, more rustic and traditional dishes – food that just tastes great! Personally, I think there’s still a lot of Geist in Lou Lou, though. Especially the starters, which fits into his typical combination of few ingredients, pure flavors, and Instagram-friendly presentations.
Normally, I prefer the smaller starters over the big main dishes at restaurants, but at Lou Lou, it was the opposite. Not that I didn’t like the antipasti, they all tasted good, but maybe not as good as the presentations suggested. Hedda really enjoyed the scallops with crunchy radishes and black olives. I wish the flavors would kick more, and the same goes for the shrimps in a chili-tomato sauce. They both looked so pretty, though, that I forgave them. The burrata with caviar was as tasty as it was expensive. We paid DKK 395, but right now the online menu says DKK 795, so they might have upped the amount of caviar. If you want burrata and caviar that’s the price you have to pay, I guess. After all, that’s two extremely delicious ingredients combined. All the other antipasti were DKK 90-150.
Primi and Secondi
Primi piatti is the first part of the main course in an Italian meal, usually, a pasta dish, while the secondi consists of meat or fish of some kind. The pasta dish we ordered was worth the visit to Lou Lou alone. Looking at the menu we thought they all sounded so good that it was difficult to choose, but in the end, we selected the strozzapreti (the Italians call priest-stranglers). Boy, did we not regret it. Perfectly al dente pasta with lots of pecorino cheese, fresh peas and basil. Creamy, yet surprisingly light and refreshing to eat. Next up: veal sweetbread. I love this piece of the animal, but it has to be of good quality. The one we got at Lou Lou was huge! Luckily, the flavor and texture was impeccable as well. In typical Bo Bech-style, it was served very simple, with sweet and acidic silver onions and lots of black truffle shavings. Immediately, the truffle toast that Bo served at the Geranium 5 year anniversary was brought to mind.
We could hardly eat anything else at this point – just like it should be after an Italian meal. Yet, I couldn’t miss out on the tiramisu. So, when our waiter promised that it was as light as air and highly recommended, I was sold. As long as we could have our coffee with the desserts and not afterward like they do in Italy. Light as air, indeed, in fact, the cream was sprayed directly from an espuma bottle and had the texture of soft peak egg whites. Dusted with espresso powder, and underneath was a sweet and slightly acidic espresso syrup on top of a chocolate cake. Excellently balanced. A great finish.
Have you been to restaurant Lou Lou? What was your favorite dish? Please share it in a comment.