Touching down at Copenhagen airport last night was David Vamplew. The former EPT London winner had picked Day 1a for his assault on the Copenhagen crown, although by the sound if it the main event was not his "main event" as such. That will come tomorrow night when he and his friends are shown to their table at Noma.
For those not clued in to the culinary world, at least beyond Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, Noma is officially the world's best restaurant, according to Restaurant Magazine that is, which crowned the Two Michelin Starred eatery, skippered in the kitchen by René Redzepi, as their best in both 2010 and 2011.
That's all very well if you can get a table, having booked three months ahead, and if you fancy the "food of the sea" (known as "fish and chips" back in the UK). But for those ready but not able to pay €150 for a 12 course meal, there is another option, widely considered to be the best affordable "restaurant" on the European Poker Tour, as voted for by the readers of Service Station Advertiser.
It's called the Q8 garage and it's across the street.
This gas station has taken on mythical status; no Michelin star perhaps but the ketchup stains on the grateful customers serve as its mark of success. It's speciality? Pulse.
The "Two Stain" Q8 Garage
Pulse are Danish sausages. these DKK38 delights are served in a kind of hollowed out bread roll which is filled with the sauce of your choice (ketchup, mustard or the cream coloured one that nobody knows the name of) before head "Chef" Ruben, working the afternoon shift, inserts a 12-inch sausage. I know what you're thinking. It all sounds a bit disgusting, suggestive even, and you'd be right. But it's delicious.
"Head Chef" Ruben applying the ketchup option
The imagery is weirdly appropriate. The European Poker Tour has always been something of a, huhumm, "sausage factory", a male dominated get-together that welcomes women but secretly worries that they might make the rest of us look stupid. But in Copenhagen, this definition takes on a more literal meaning and the atmosphere at the Q8 kiosk, as frantic staff caters to dozens of foreigners looking for cheap food, is something to behold.
Legend has it that years ago one reporter here ate nothing but "food from the gas station," and he went home a happy man. It's not difficult, given that they also do a good line of snacks, treats and alcoholic drinks sold in cans.
So for Vamplew, and the high rolling friends that will join him, enjoy Noma. The rest of us will be dining across the street. Come to think of it, it's nearly time for the first break. The sausage run is upon us. It should at least mean a week of protein, not to mention a potential windfall when the marketing department at Q8 receives today's Google Alert..