Sønderborg’s new steakhouse: Barbie BBQ

There is a new restaurant in Sønderborg and if you haven’t been yet – it’s worth trying it out.

Sønderborg has seen some interesting new food and beverage places pop up the last year or two but in my book this one might be the most interesting so far.

The restaurant is named Barbie (as in barbecue not Ken’s girlfriend) and the theme is “new American barbecue” which means slow roasted meat like pulled pork, pork belly, beef brisket and steaks with sides of mash & gravy, coleslaw and mac & cheese.

The decor of the place is very simple and basic. There is concrete floors and bare ceilings with simple wood furniture like something out of the hip meat packing district in Copenhagen.

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But the building actually has a long history. It goes back to 1903 when it was built as the first Danish assembly hall in the then-German Sønderborg. In 1907 it became a restaurant/dancehall ‘Kaiserkrone’ that could seat 500 and host balls for 800 people. Once the German navy base closed down it became a cinema and more recently it has been the shop called Als Design Center (which still exists online). Now it is again a restaurant and this time it has room for 140 inside and 50 outside making it one of Sønderborg’s biggest restaurants.

The people behind the restaurant are no rookies in starting restaurants. Barbie is started by twin brothers Rasmus and Jakob Oubæk and Christian Brandt. Rasmus Oubæk has been nicknamed “The King of Bearnaise” and these guys run six popular restaurants in Copenhagen that get good reviews.

OK enough chatter – on to the food we had in Sønderborg…

We made a booking an hour before we arrived on Saturday evening and we could get a table without problems. Once we got there the place was busy but not completely full.

The menu is really short (4 snacks, 8 mains, 3 desserts) so it wasn’t too difficult to pick something. We ordered the ribeye steak and brisket sandwich, a pilsner and an elderflower drink.

We went there with our 7 month old son, so we were a bit worried that he would be noisy. But because of the bare walls and concrete floors the place was buzzing with noise from all the other tables so a squeal now and then from us did not get noticed.

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The food arrived in no time and we dug in. The steak was good, juicy and tender and came with a big pot of bearnaise sauce. I enjoyed the sauce; Ann found it a bit too sweet.

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The brisket sandwich came in two small homemade buns. The meat was really, really tender. This was served on a tray with baking paper and the coleslaw in a polystyrene cup. Thinking back this has a cheap, cafeteria feel to it but the food was good so we didn’t think about it at the time. The fries and coleslaw were good but nothing to rave about.

Our son got to try the two meats as well and he got a lot of enjoyment from the ribeye. The brisket was so tender that he could not manage to get much of it up to his mouth.

The beer I had was their pilsner on tap. However it did not taste like a pilsner at all – it was more like a wheat beer. I enjoyed it although I would think their bottled IPA goes better with this type of food. Ann loved the elderflower drink (and that’s her drink of choice…every.time. So that is praise indeed).

They also offered us a bottle of tap water and unlike any other restaurant in Sønderborg they do not charge for tap water.

Overall we really enjoyed it. We were in and out of there in hour which is good timing for us with the age of our kid. Without a kid we would have definitely stayed for longer. Due to the acoustics and the size of the place it is not a particularly romantic place, but I will definitely come back with a group of friends for a night of laughs, banter and good food.


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