Thorupstrand Fiskehus: Real soul seafood
By Trine Jensen-Martin | Photos: Thorupstrand Fiskehus
Thorupstrand Fiskehus, on the northwesterly coast of Jutland, is fast gaining a reputation for excellent, authentic food. They offer the freshest of fish alongside local, artisan produce on a simple yet excellent menu, never compromising on quality or core values.
The setting for Thorupstrand Fiskehus (TF) is picture perfect, so it is little wonder that visitors flock to this place, distinctly off the well-trodden tourist track, and even less surprising that they keep coming back. Thorupstrand came to the attention of the Danes when the TV programme Gutterne på kutterne (or, ‘The guys on the boats’) aired in 2015, bringing the fishing ways of a group of local fishermen into the spotlight. These days, something else is attracting people to this unassuming fishing village.
(Not just) a piece of fishcake!
Thorupstrand Fiskehus is right on the beach, where the fishing boats pull up on the sand. The fishermen bring their catch to the in-house cutting and filleting facilities, where the fish is prepared for the kitchen, and turned into mouth-watering dishes.
“It would be easier to buy 1,000 kilogrammes of ready-made remoulade, but we don’t. We prepare the ingredients and pickle the gherkins that go into our homemade remoulade,” explains Janet Anisimow, one of the two managers at TF. “We can guarantee the flavour and quality of each mouthful.”
It’s not just about the fish; it’s about everything that goes into it. Each dish is meticulously sourced and crafted, and while certainly labour intensive, it is worth it. “We love welcoming our guests and appreciate the support we have from locals and those coming from further afield,” says Janni Olesen, TF’s other manager.
That they talk about guests rather than customers is very telling of this welcoming place. It is unfussy and down-to-earth, so if you want white linen-bedecked tables and fine wines, this is perhaps not the place. However, if you are after fresh seafood, an unpretentious menu executed to perfection, and a view to die for, then it certainly is. They are refreshingly honest in their approach; the guests collect their order from the counter and eat outside on benches facing the sea and sand dunes, or take shelter in the newly renovated room above the shop, with undisturbed views of the beach.
Sustainable and gentle fishing methods
Where TF get their ingredients from, in particular the fish, is hugely important. They only use fish that has been caught
in a manner that is gentle to nature, using tools with minimum impact on seabed and wildlife, such as spinning rods, fishing nets and hooks.
Although this way of fishing goes back generations in Thorupstrand, it is now in the spotlight everywhere else, too, as the rest of the world is now moving in a more environmentally focused direction. The boats are also smaller, allowing for fishing closer to the coast, as well as being out at sea for shorter periods, ensuring optimal freshness of the fish caught. Giving back to the community Thorupstrand is a close-knit community: a bustling place in summer, yet still thriving out of season. “It is important to us to show appreciation to the locals, who have supported us from day one. We are as thrilled when they visit to grab a bite and a beer and sit down to take in the sunset, as when a family of returning tourists come in for their evening meals,” says Janni. “We want to give something back to those around us. We are a mainstay of Thorupstrand and participate in the community wholeheartedly.”
This is where it all comes together: the fishermen and their methods, the local produce and the people; they are creating authentic and wonderful food, with heart and soul, rooted in local tradition, yet with a view to the future. “The building that houses our shop and restaurant is owned jointly by the fishermen in Thorupstrand, and they have chosen us to oversee and manage the place,” the two managers explain. “A percentage of the revenue from TF goes into repair of the building itself, the fishery and the machines,” they add.
They work closely together with the fishermen and the local community, and when reflecting on the challenges of not letting their business grow too big, they agree that this is simply not what they ever intended. “It is hard at times, but we are stubborn and stay true to our ideals,” Janni explains. Thorupstrand Fiskehus is a product of its community and not trying to be anything other than what it is. A genuine gem of a place, it is well worth a visit, no matter how far you may have to travel; a shared love of the sea and the surrounding nature is evident in both the people and the food.
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