As you walk in through the glass frontage of KuPP, tucked just inside Queen Street’s trendy new dining quarter, you’re met with true Scandi style at its best. Minimalist design, colourful touches and warm tones are complemented by Scandi-chic decorations and vintage light bulbs. This all comes together to create, as the Danish would say, hygge (pronounced hu-guh) loosely translating to mean taking pleasure from a cosy ambience. It’s a place to escape the cold and relax with friends with warming food and drink.
The cosy feel continues via the variety of seating options – short and long benches for groups, taller seats and tables, comfy low armchairs and intimate tables for two.
Like the seating variety, the menu offers a wide range of choices to suit all tastes. From smaller grazing dishes to huge, fully-loaded Smorgasbords – packed full of signature dishes and bites that are perfect for sharing – as well as specialty fish dishes, grilled steaks, mouthwatering salads and a selection of burgers and sandwiches, I guarantee you’ll end up asking your server for ‘just a few more minutes’ on more than one occasion.
So many of the flavours are unlike most you will have tried before – it really is a case of leave your preconceptions of what something should taste like at the door. Unusual pairings and twists on simple classics are masterfully created in a way that pleasantly surprises you but doesn’t push you out of your comfort zone. Sweet is paired against sour, and even smoky flavours, constantly working together to shock and then balance your palate.
The Quinoa Kale & Butternut Cakes (£6.50) were particularly delicious. The goats curd is given a kick of chilli but is immediately tamed by the sweetness of the lingonberry. The House Smoked Pork Meatballs (£7.50) were seriously smoky and made for a warming dish to fit the hygge theme.
The Salted Puff Pastry Salmon Coulibiac (£17.95) – a Nordic style salmon en croute – is cooked fresh daily and is only available while stocks last each day. This dish was surprisingly light for how much pastry there was and wowed us by mixing up familiar flavours with a coffee, mustard and dill sauce. The Oven Roast Venison Loin (£18.95) was beautifully tender – the lingonberry sauce and roast beetroot added a welcome sweetness to pair with a gamey meat and a serving of smoked red onion complemented the deep flavour of the venison.
The White Chocolate & Pepparkakor Cheesecake (£6.50) was simply incredible. The gingersnaps biscuit and mint added some welcome excitement to the sweet, smoothness above. Don’t be disappointed by the portion size as looks are definitely deceiving here.
Exeter’s KuPP are also expanding their cocktail selection and have hired an expert cocktail maker to bring life to the menu. We were lucky enough to have a sneak peek and were thoroughly impressed at how the unique flavour combinations carry across here too.
The serving staff make you feel very welcome from the outset and are happy to explain how the menu works, how much people usually order and to give their suggestions. When one beer that we ordered was out of stock, our waitress immediately recommended an alternative, describing the similarities and differences. It was impressive to see how unfazed she was at turning around a potential negative into a positive.
After each course we were also asked what we particularly enjoyed and were told where each flavour came from. Once you’ve pinpointed the one taste you couldn’t get enough of, head to the in-restaurant store where you can buy them to take home to add into your own cooking.
The beauty of KuPP is not only the ability to try new ingredient pairings and unusual flavour combinations, but the way in which you are invited to share this experience with your friends and family. KuPP is about recreating simple Scandinavian food with a twist – it’s an adventure throughout the entire menu. If you love food, trying new things, and love sharing these experiences with your loved-ones, this is the place for you.
Words and images: Jake Tucker
Visit KuPP online at: www.kupp.co