With a name that translates to The Hiding Place, you might be inclined to believe that Café Gemmestedet in Aarhus, Denmark, is located behind a small and secret door at the end of a long, narrow, and winding lane.
It isn’t, but if it were not for the suggestion of a dear friend whom I was visiting in Aarhus, I don’t think I would have found it on my own.
We had spent a good part of our morning and early afternoon alternately exploring the sites of Aarhus city centre and, when the opportunity arose, burying ourselves in clothing at one vintage shop after another. But there were dark clouds moving across the sky and lunch was calling our names. Annika suggested Café Gemmestedet and I found its name intriguing. Our timing was impeccable – raindrops began to splash our cheeks just as we reached the door.
Built in 1060, the Crypt is the oldest ecclesiastical building in Aarhus, as well as being the oldest arched space in Scandinavia. – visitaarhus.com
With its sofas and armchairs, stepping into Café Gemmestedet felt like stepping into someone’s living room, and on what was turning into a damp afternoon, that comfort was just what we needed. The best seats are to be found at the tiny tables along the wall of windows. Here light floods in even on gloomy days and it is the best vantage point to observe what is happening both in and outside the café.
Our first order of business was to order a beer. Important decisions about the menu could not be made without one. The bar at Café Gemmestedet looked well-stocked and their dishes are mainly Turkish – fresh and with seasonal ingredients, with a few Mediterranean choices for good measure.
Annika and I pored over the soups, salads, starters, sandwiches, and brunch options and in the end settled on a light mezze lunch of hummus, bean purée, guacamole, and a delicately smoky artichoke haydari, served with a basket of fresh bread.
Our lunch was presented on a lovingly worn cutting board, studded with red onion and Kalamata olives, sprinkled with arugula and baby spinach, and lightly drizzled with thick balsamic vinegar. We ate slowly and ordered a second beer – when you are happily ensconced in Café Gemmestedet you won’t feel the need to rush.
Although we savoured each moment and every bite, the sun’s rays soon started to break through the clouds. Just as Café Gemmestedet beckoned us earlier, it was again Aarhus’ turn to call our names.
Address: Gammel Munkegade 1, Aarhus 8000, Denmark
Telephone: +45 86 13 55 00
Website: www.cafegemmestedet.dk (in Danish)
Opening Hours: Monday to Wednesday 11am – midnight; Thursday 11am – 1am; Friday 11am – 2am; Saturday 10am – 2am; Sunday 10am – 7pm.