For this week’s restaurant feature, we discover another female run business- Cafe Nordbo. This Scandinavian cafe and bakery, just outside of Luxembourg City, serves the most delicious authentic Scandinavian baked goods and food. We spoke with the manager and chef to learn more about all that’s on offer. We also snagged a recipe for you!
Cafe Nordbo was born in Covid times so has yet to experience anything different. The manager, pastry and general chef, Christina Refshauge, started the shop with 2 partners who own the Scandinavian grocery store around the corner, ScanShop, for the past 25 years.
At the beginning of the lockdown, the owners had the opportunity to open Cafe Nordbo, and knew it was a good market for a Scandinavian cafe because there is nothing as authentic around. Usually in Luxembourg you can find Scandinavian inspired food, but they wanted to open a more authentic place with actual Scandinavian dishes.
The name, Nordbo, means a person living in the north; this is a common name for someone who is Danish, Swedish, Norway or Finnish. They wanted a name that spoke to who they are and what they serve, and all the workers at Cafe Nordbo are in fact Scandinavian. Their logo, the elk, is in itself a nordbo, and is always incorporated into their menu. They change their menu once a month. They currently have an elk burger and in the past have served elk meatballs, stews and more. It is important to Christina that everything is something Scandinavians could come in and recognize but is also leveled up so they could not just make it at home.
The cafe values being “hygge” which is a way of describing the feeling of people coming together for conversation and comfort. When Christina trains her waiters she tells them to treat guests like they are coming into their home which is exactly how you will feel. The menu is not fancy but simple and small to keep things fresh and there is nothing to hide behind. No matter who you are or wherever you come from, you will feel welcome at Cafe Nordbo.
Christina’s favorite part of working at the cafe is the diversity of her day. She wears many hats, and while she loves being in the kitchen, she’s looking forward to further developing the brand. The cafe has a lot of repeat customers so she loves getting to know people, knowing them by name to make them feel even more at home. Not being in the city center means that not everybody comes in but they always look forward to seeing new faces.
As we reflect on International Women’s Month, Christina notes that it is definitely harder being a woman, men often mistake assertiveness for bitchiness. As Christina leads her team, she wants her employees to learn from their mistakes. She is trying to avoid the environments she has been in in this industry where mistakes are something that gets them in trouble. Christina knows that in this business you won’t survive if you don’t develop, and to develop you need to make mistakes.
Christina always tries new and exciting combinations with natural colors and textures. Their regulars are always happy with the elk burger and love their vegan falafel. One of their specialties is Danish hot dogs which people go crazy for. They make their own homemade bread and grilled hot dogs with homemade dressings, cucumber and red onion pickles. On Thursdays and Saturdays they also serve opened faced authentic Scandinavian sandwiches! Pre-order their Easter brunch today!
Cafe Nordbo cannot wait to get back to having in person dinning, but in the meantime they have amazing options to go!
Recipe for traditional danish butter & almond cookies with vanilla- Vaniljekranse
200g of semi salted butter, room temperature
180g caster sugar
1 large free range egg
250g cake flour
75g ground almonds
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
* You will also need a fabric piping bag (or use two plastic ones, for added strength) with a star nozzle, size 12-15
Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees celsius.
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and mix well with a bit of the caster sugar.
Mix the softened butter, caster sugar and vanilla well, until it’s well combined. Add the egg and mix well again. Combine flour and ground almonds, before mixing it in with the rest of the ingredients. Do not over mix.It should be a nice and soft dough.
Use the piping bag and a medium sized star nozzle to pipe rings with the dough, about 8 cm dia.
Make sure to have space between the cookies, as they expand a bit during baking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp. Let the cookies cool down completely before putting them in a baking tin.