Henry Stevens & Pernille Rosenbæk
Around Auren’s table
Invigorating a sleepy corner of Frederiksberg, sommelier Henry Stevens and food creative Pernille Rosenbæk recently opened the doors to their Auren’s Deli. It is inherently multidisciplinary, a space showcasing the delightful complexity of the city’s food community and its roots, a place where cooking, produce, wine, music, arts, craft and design naturally coexist.
It was a chain of unexpected events and industry fatigue that led the couple to take on 1600 sqm of farmland outside of Lejre, 50 kilometres outside of Copenhagen. This restorative — in so many ways — growing practice led them to build a space akin, to share not only their own produce, but that of their friends community with a new public. “The farm is a constant learning curve for us after just two years doing it, while service is where we feel comfortable, at ease. We're just excited to be able to show them the progress we make,” says Stevens.
“Our small patch of farmland is quite precious, as we really want to grow as interesting a produce as possible. Up until recently, much of the undeniably stellar produce from this region ended up in restaurant kitchens, not in the hands of home cooks. This exclusivity of quality produce eventually became so frustrating that we ended up wanting to create what we ourselves needed, an alternative. Auren’s Deli is about giving people access to good produce,” adds Rosenbæk. The deli-come-wine bar has set roots in a quiet corner of Godthåbsvej, in a former sushi restaurant with a surprisingly generous layout.
“The concept is intentionally vague and multifaceted, which allows us to chop away at lots of ideas as we both have many different passions and areas of interest. We are really excited to learn about the symbiosis between the two main elements — the farm and the shop — and we want guests and customers to join the ride,” says Rosenbæk.
Inspired by Stevens’ upbringing in Oxfordshire, UK, Auren’s Deli emanates the quaint local produce shops of rural England, where you can still find a specialised butcher, cheesemonger or farm shop. Theirs brings in an artillery of bests, an external pantry. An underlying sense of openness is embodied by the design of the shop. Influenced by the essential London neighbourhood wine bar P. Franco, Auren’s Deli revolves around a monumental oak table custom built by architectural firm Vermland. It serves as a counter, bar, display and much more, a token of intentional ambiguity. We are free to find our seat at either side of it, to wander in a space that is what it needs to be, depending on the time of day and guest.
“It is great to have so many different things going on as people really can use the space however they want. One person sitting here eating some lunch, another shopping or drinking wine. They all coexist together. No divide between staff and guests, not guiding people in a certain direction. There’s an open-endedness,” says Stevens.
A mere couple of weeks into its life, Auren’s Deli has become a neighbourhood staple serving up market produce from their own farm and friends. “It is not a very far line between working with producers who work in this particularly artisanal way to ceramicists and furniture makers or people who play music. I think it is so important to tap into that.”
Evening opening hours and small food offering begs people to stop by not once but twice a day, for groceries and for glass. Here, a curated selection of dry goods and wine from across Europe sit on the shelves, leftovers are repurposed into piccalilli pickles, generous slices of Mortadella find their way into sandwiches to eat in or take away, ceramics by their only employee Liam hold flower arrangements by Rosenbæk, friends share a bottle on the bench outside while the pair play records from their own collection. A living organism in its infant days, constantly growing and finding its way — a genuinely thrilling process to witness.
“We know our limitations, so it is brilliant to let other people shine with their knowledge and craft. We want our small kitchen to be a platform for people doing interesting things in food. It is thrilling for us to work with other people and perspectives, this is a place that truly makes sense when other people are contributing to it,” says Rosenbæk.