Cooking out of the box

TEXT: SIGNE HANSEN | PHOTOS © RESTAURANT ABSTRAKT

Located in the small town of Hirtshals in North Jutland, Restaurant Abstrakt and its young owners offer guests a surprisingly innovative and artistic menu.

In August last year, chef Simon Emil Christensen and his fiancée Kamilla Schiøtt had their second baby, a little boy. Their first baby, Restaurant Abstrakt came into existence in November 2017, when the young couple, then 28 and 29, opened up the doors to a large, refurbished machine shop in the harbour of Hirtshals. Since then, the restaurant has been surprising locals and visitors to the small town in North Jutland with its innovative and artistic menu, which follows no rules.

“My dream was to create a restaurant that was not confined by the boundaries and rules you usually have to follow when working in a place with a narrowly defined style. I don’t like fixed boundaries and small boxes,” says chef Christensen. “We might make something that’s inspired by the Asian kitchen one day and the French another day. We make the food we’re passionate about and change the style from menu to menu. However, you’ll probably always be able to see that it’s a Restaurant Abstrak menu.”

With the machine hall’s old pipes still exposed and wall cladding created from old driftwood, Restaurant Abstrakt presents a raw maritime atmosphere well-suited to its seaside location. The unique setting and innovative menu have earned the restaurant praise by both regular guests and reviewers and, last year, Den Danske Spiseguide (the Danish food guide) nominated Restaurant Abstrakt in the category of Best Breakthrough Restaurant in Denmark. “That was a major honour and surprise, just to be nominated in a category where many of the other nominees were located in Copenhagen,” says Christensen. “However, being located in a small town like Hirtshals is not a bad thing. The locals have been very positive since we opened, and other guests also seem to be more surprised and appreciative when they discover us here than they would in a bigger city.”

Based on local ingredients, Restaurant Abstrakt’s menu changes every six weeks and offers guests the choice of a set three-, five- or seven-course meal – although it is also possible to choose just one of the Chefs’ Favourite Dishes.

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