The Royal Cafe started the trend by combining smørrebrød with sushi to create what they called “smushi” soon after it opened in 2007. The Royal Cafe, created and owned by Lo Østergaard and Rud Christiansen, is a combination of a cafe and a shop presenting Danish manufacturers such as Royal Copenhagen and Georg Jensen together with a fusion of traditional Danish foods and original cuisine.
While the name “smushi” implies the wedding of Danish open-faced sandwiches and sushi, these artistic little creations bear only a small resemblance to real Japanese sushi, which always feature vinegared rice (often combined with raw fish or other seafood). Instead most smushi are traditional Danish smørrebrød combinations created in “sushi size”. The small size allows diners to sample a wider variety without getting full, according to the company’s web site.
The concept has proven so popular that The Royal Cafe has issued a book with a decidedly not bite-size size or price: The Royal Smushi Book is a coffee-table book that sells for a royal 350 kroner. Photos of cute smushis abound on Pinterest, and the Danish-Japanese fusion has led a successful Japanese version of the restaurant and shop called Denmark – The Royal Cafe in Tokyo.
And now those who find even a smushi too large have a new option for truly bite size versions of smørrebrød: Danish Minies on Gentoftegade in Copenhagen. This company creates canapé-size smørrebrød based on traditional open-faced sandwich combinations. They don’t require knife and fork, or even a plate, so they’re perfect for parties or receptions.
It’s nice to see the revival of interest in smørrebrød, even if the trend is towards postage-stamp size creations. Which by coincidence is just what happened last year, when the Danish postal system issued a set of delicious-looking stamps that featured this classic Danish culinary favorite.