As the former home to the royal family (who still use it to host events) and now the permanent home to the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of State, Christiansborg Palace needs very little introduction because it is so well known. However, what most visitors aren’t so aware of is the exquisite Tarnet restaurant, which is a must-do experience and is based inside the Tower of Christiansborg Palace.
Denmark is the home to the famous storyteller, Hans Christian Anderson and the best place to hear about his stories as well as historical stories about Christiansborg Palace and Denmark, is within the highly acclaimed Tarnet restaurant.
A princess for the day
Viewing all of Christiansborg Palace can take at least a day as there is so much to see. It’s interior is magnificent and the Great Hall, which houses the Queen’s Tapestries, is most certainly impressive. The ruins under the Christiansborg Palace are also available for viewing and it is worth taking a guided tour to see them. This is because the spot upon which you will see Christiansborg Palace today is the same spot where two other palaces and castles were in place; the current one is the third. The underground ruins that are in place are the ones from the first castle of the Middle Ages.
My favourite part of Christiansborg Palace has to be the Royal Stables and the training ground for the horses. Today, the Royal Stables include around 12 famous white Czech horses, which are ridden by the royal family for special occasions. It also includes a museum of horse carriages that have been used since the 18th century, which is amazing to be able to see so closely.
The training ground is a large open spaced area, which is ring-fenced and used by the trainers on a regular basis and if you’re lucky, you may even get the opportunity to see the trainers and horses in action. Although, what if I told you that rather than watching from the grounds, you could see the trainers and their horses as well as other parts of Copenhagen from a fabulous view? I bet you’re curious to learn more so please do read on.
Fast track yourself up the Tower
Well, the Tarnet restaurant in Christiansborg Palace would allow you to truly enjoy the view in a warm, comfortable and historical environment. After wandering around Christiansborg Palace during the daytime, you need to relax and re-energize and the perfect place to do this has to be in the Tarnet restaurant.
As the Tower is pretty-high up, you are guaranteed a great view of the training area. Within Christiansborg Palace, the Tower and the area in its vicinity is the home to the Parliament of Denmark so sitting inside the restaurant can be quite symbolic for local diners. This is because they are sitting above the Danish Parliament and therefore showing and representing the importance of citizens and democracy and importantly, that those making the law are not above the local people but rather accountable to them.
Whilst the view from the top of the Tower can be experienced without visiting the Tarnet, there is a rather long queue that one has to wait in whereas those that have a reservation at Tarnet are fast tracked in a shorter queue, before having to go through security and take a lift up the Tower.
Tables sticking out of stone steps
By being located in the Tower, Tarnet is based in the tallest tower in Copenhagen and has an attractive and historical interior. Having visited a number of restaurants within palaces, castles and museums, I have noted that it is sometimes hard to find one that really fits into its setting very well; however, Tarnet is the exception to this and is a wonderful restaurant that was launched by Rasmus Bo Bojesen in June 2014.
There are 10 m (32.8 ft) high ceilings and the dining area is in a rough hexagonal shaped area, which can fit around 100 or so guests. It is a beautifully decorated restaurant with a minimalist design that includes a few sculptures that fit perfectly within the area. The only modern twist that I noted were little egg shaped table lamps, which were placed on each table. They were quite striking and cute and if I’m honest, I wish I could have bought one to take home!
My favourite part of the restaurant had to be the stone steps that were facing a beautiful window which overlooks the training grounds for the horses and other parts of Copenhagen. I was surprised and rather impressed to see little black tables popping out from the steps so that guests could sit on the steps, have a drink and some cakes and enjoy the scenery. Now if you’re worried about not being too comfortable on the stone steps, don’t! Tarnet provides mini cushions to make sure that you’re comfortable whilst experiencing the gorgeous view. If I could have stayed another night in Copenhagen, I would have loved to have sat on the steps in the evening and seen how picturesque Copenhagen looks in the evening. From Tarnet, it is also possible to see the Tivoli Gardens and therefore, I would recommend that you consider visiting Tarnet on a night when you know that Tivoli Gardens will be doing its regular fireworks ceremony – so that you can enjoy the beautiful colours in the sky at night.
A tour of history and cuisine
Finding fantastic food in Denmark is not difficult as it is home to some of the best restaurants in the world and Tarnet did not fail to live up to my expectations. It offers delish Danish gastronomy and all of its produce and ingredients are from small local merchants (rather than large companies) and there is a wonderful reason for this: Tarnet wants the freshest items that come with a story.
Tarnet and its staff are all about finding out and sharing stories. Sound surprised? Well, so did I at the beginning and until I realised that the staff were like walking history books who promote their local community and want to share not only good food, but the stories about how the ingredients in that good food, came to fruit. This is important for a tourist who wants to gain a real insight into Denmark and feel that they are connecting with the local Danish people including the staff, who are happy to talk to you about their life and experiences. Your tour guide in Tarnet is the wonderfully personable staff and they won’t just tell you about Christiansborg Palace but the produce used in the food as well as any other stories about Denmark that you wish to hear.
Danish delicacies with Oialla
With the Danes being known for their pastries and desserts, having afternoon tea in Denmark is an absolute must. As a lover of afternoon tea in Britain, I did not need much persuasion to try the afternoon tea experience at Tarnet, which included the option of one of five types of tea and an assortment of desserts. The desserts that I viewed were mini, colourful and I could tell that they would deliver a wonderful combination of flavour. The desserts were light yet filling at the same time and I had two that were my absolute favourite: the raspberry cheesecake and the Sarah Bernhardt dessert. The cheesecake was fabulously sweet and creamy and had a delightful raspberry topping that was slightly sweetened yet also sharp at the same time due to the raspberry; a perfect contrast to the sweet creamy cheese.
The Sarah Bernhardt dessert was a raspberry and dark chocolate delicacy and stood out for one main reason: the chocolate used in the desert was Oialla. Oialla is a chocolate founded by Rasmus Bo Bojsen and Pernille Lützhøft in 2010 and is made from wild Bolivian beans in the most ethical of ways due to the process in which the chocolate is produced. From harvest to finish, the founders have total control over the supply chain and only work with local harvesters and only harvest the chocolate once a year to ensure that there is no waste and it is sustainable. The approach that the founders have taken in Bolivia is the same in which they manage Tarnet, in respect to working with local merchants only and helping their community overall whilst creating items that are absolutely delicious for their diners. The oolong tea that I ordered and accompanied this dessert was perfect as it was light and sweet and contrasted with the organic dark Oialla chocolate in the Sarah Bernhardt.
It should be noted that afternoon tea is only served between 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm and to have an assortment of 3 cakes served with coffee, tea or hot chocolate it costs 170 DKK / approximately 26 USD. To have a selection of Oialla chocolate such as that which is dark, milk or filled, it costs 55 DKK / approximately 8 USD.
You don’t need a princess’ wallet to experience Tarnet
It’s time you treat yourself like royalty by wandering around Christiansborg Palace followed by some afternoon tea or dinner at the Tarnet restaurant, for which you won’t need the wallet of a princess as it’s reasonably priced for such excellent cuisine in Denmark!
Let the staff disguised as walking historians lead you into a real insight into historical Denmark and Denmark today whilst you indulge in some of the finest of dishes in Copenhagen. Go and learn about Danish stories as well as use the experience to make your own personal story of your experience, that you can share with your friends and family when you return home.
Plus, and importantly, make sure you request to purchase some of the gorgeous Oialla bars so that you can take them home and continue to experience the irresistible organic cocoa that you won’t be able to experience elsewhere. I can say that confidently as I’ve sampled quite a few chocolate bars in my time, including in chocolate capital Brussels; Oialla, however, is unbeatable and is simply the best – and not just because of its taste!
Get Trip101 in your inbox