Central Sanlitun seems to be having a bit of a café and bakery explosion right now. To add to the plethora of ground-floor bakeries in Topwin Center as well as the newly minted Moleskine Café, Gertz Danish Bakery continues the positive trend toward baking that aligns more with western standards (read: bread that’s not sweet and cakes not slathered in whipped cream).
Gertz wears its Scandinavian roots on its sleeve; a neat minimalist décor moves the gamut of neutral tones from cream to light gray to dark blue. Edison bulbs match the sparse design and have the effect of illuminating the mountain of bread (RMB 9-42), with a warm and comforting glow.
Aside from those loaves, there are plenty of basic Danish-style dishes, such as salads (RMB 66/68), soups (RMB 25-42), open sandwiches (or smørrebrød, RMB 48-54), sandwiches (RMB 58/62), breakfast sets (RMB 48-62), as well as the usual drink options: coffee (RMB 24-34), tea, and juice.
The salmon sandwich (RMB 62) was a satisfying wedge of baguette covered with black and white sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and a filling of thick slices of smoked salmon, a generous spoonful of caviar, sour cream, dill, and lettuce. The sandwich more than proved its heft via the fact that it required both hands to pick it up as well as a fork to shove the fillings back in from time to time.
Of the open sandwiches, or smørrebrød, we tried the egg and shrimp version (RMB 48), featuring a large lettuce leaf atop a piece of rye bread and finished with a sliced boiled egg, tomato, shrimp, and mayonnaise served on a wooden board. Similar to the sandwich, it required a certain technique to best tackle this fresh and wobbling flower-like tower. For a dessert option, the large, moist, and delicious kanelsnegle (cinnamon bun, RMB 18) comes covered in icing sugar and a punchy cinnamon kick that is sweet enough to have you instantly hooked.
Indeed, from the moment you enter this inviting bakery and café, breathe in the soothing aroma of the freshly baked bread, and devour one of Gertz’s sizable sandwiches (open or closed), you’ll soon be wrapped in a plush blanket of what is now perhaps Denmark’s most famous export: A deep feeling of coziness.
Daily 9am-10pm. S2-11, 1/F, Bldg 2, Sanlitun Taikooli, 19 Sanlitun, Chaoyang District
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Photos: Tracy Wang