Mikkeller is the sort of brewery that makes a certain kind of beer drinker very, very excited. They’re cool, they’re kind of edgy, they’re Danish, they’re not mainstream… The thing about Mikkeller, however, is that, when you get to know their beers, you’ll realise they’re not the strokey beardy brewer types you might have been led to believe. They’re simply a brewery that makes really delicious beers. Sure, there’s a few more extreme, experimental things for those that want such things but, for the most part, the range is very approachable indeed.
You can say much the same about the menu at their London brewpub on Exmouth Market – a brewpub that exists, rather brilliantly, because Rick Astley is a fan of Mikkeller and Mikkeller founder Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is a fan of Rick Astley. The two partnered up – alongside Mrs Astley – and the results are this rather fine bar. And, inevitably, many, many jokes about well, if anybody wasn’t going to give them up or let them down, it was Rick…
The bulk of what’s served on draft is made on site, running to – if my hazy memory of a very enjoyable trawl through several of them is correct – 15 different brews a week, some of which feature in the dishes on a small, but neatly formed menu of, essentially, good (and mostly quite healthy) drinking snacks.
Our very enjoyable graze kicked off, in a Scandinavian style, with good, crisp, punchy pickles, plus pork scratchings, swiftly followed by a nduja scotch egg, with tarragon mayonnaise. Next up was a salmon croquette, with pea purée and sweet chilli, prompting a swift look at the menu to double check that each dish wasn’t going to be a slightly bigger thing covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried… That wasn’t the case, happily (or sadly, once we’d considered the possibility of a panéed tomahawk) and, instead, hit the hot dogs: one of Tamworth pork and one that I initially thought was beef but turned out, impressively, to be the mushroom and red pepper veggie option. These come in a very-good-indeed house made bun, heaped with pickles and fresh dill, a surprisingly delicious addition. They’d be the best thing we ate if it hadn’t been for the Nordic cure salad: smoked quinoa, gravadlax, radish, lime-pickled cucumber, in a fermented barley dressing. It was, according to my colleague, “absolutely banging.”
The Rick Astley connection takes an ironic twist at this point. He might not have given us up, he might not have let us down but he did – cough – dessert us. Three times, in fact. The Drunken Semifreddo – with coffee stout reduction – is a fine combination of ice cream and beer. The truffle ball comes with a reduction of Frederiksdal cherry wine reduction – a port-like, in-house concoction – but, best of all, is the Lemon sponge cake, with hibiscus powder and Italian meringue. It’s like a sweet, lurid pink Twinkie only, you know, actually edible.
Friendly and knowledgeable staff guide us through the beer list, making some fine matches along the way. There’s great atmosphere within and, thanks to the energy of Exmouth Market, without. All told, Mikkeller is a damned good pub.
Mikkeller Brewpub London
37-39 Exmouth Market