Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dansk, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

I had to think about it a bit before deciding to write a post about Dansk. Not because I felt I caught them on a bad day so that a negative post would feel a little unfair, or because our visit was thoroughly mediocre, my two most common reasons for not blogging after a visit. It was more that it is as much a private club as restaurant. It's attached to the local Danish club, is fairly small and you need to sign in. On the other hand, it's also good, interesting and open to the public as well as members and guests. Oh well, on balance I obviously decided to stifle my doubts and try to explain what I liked about this cute and simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar place.

The first thing I like about it is the use of space. While the actual restaurant eating area is fairly small it feels large, making excellent use of large windows and an open eating area to create a feeling of both light and space. The design of the furniture is understated but interesting, with more complex shapes hiding under what at first glance is a fairly simple exterior.

Except for smorgasbord Saturdays when a pricey but delicious sounding seafood buffet is on offer, the offerings fall under smorrebrod and not smorrebrod. Given my Danish is rudimentary at best, i.e. nonexistent, I had to ask what the difference is. Smorrebrod is effectively an open sandwich served on rye bread. Not smorrebrod is not an open sandwich served on rye bread. Simple really isn't it?

With my companions de jour we selected three of the smorrebrod. My choice was the baked beetroot with fried smoked eel and horseradish crème. As with all of our choices, this included some familiar ingredients but combined in ways I wouldn't normally have thought of. Baked beetroot with eel? Either of these with rye bread? But when you add the very nicely cooked and surprisingly mildly flavoured eel with the not too sweet beetroot and combine it will the moderately dense bread and you have a very nice, surprisingly filling sandwich.

Second smorrebrod up was the skinkesalat, a smoked kassler ham salad served with cucumber and crispy potatoes. I must admit I thought this looked a little strange when it came out. A layer of bread, a layer of diced ham and mayonnaise, topped with a few small pieces of lettuce, some slices of cucumber and some potato chips stuck in the top? While I only tried a small amount I liked it though, the softer texture of the ham salad contrasting with the crunch of the potato.

In some ways the most familiar was the beef served with a 'classic' remoulade, cucumber salad and fried onion rings. All familiar ingredients although the onion rings are normally served on the side not on top. Nicely pink beef spiced up a little by the mild remoulade and the fried onion rings adding some necessary texture, again something with familiar elements but constructed a little differently.

I liked the way the food seemed both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, similar in concept to what we eat all the time (meat on bread) but unfamiliar combinations giving different flavours and textures. Service was pleasant and the company interesting, prices appropriate for the quality of the food. I can't say that it's somewhere that I'd want to rush to every week but it is certainly different and good enough that I want to return to try some of the not smorrebrod.

Food - 8
Ambience - 8
Service - 7.5
Price - 7

Level 3, 428 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9600 4477

Restaurant DANSK on Urbanspoon

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