One of the new restaurants in Sønderborg in 2016 is Torve-Hallen, with a Southern Europe inspired theme and fantastic views over the water. We went to try it out today for lunch.
Having views over Als Sound, it would be very hard to mess up the ambience: just give great views over the sound and everyone would be happy. And this is what has been done, with big windows overlooking the water on both levels, and an outside balcony on the second floor.
The interior is decorated with grafitti pieces by local artist Welinoo and there is imagery from Paris, Madrid, Rome, LA, Sydney, Berlin – and Sønderborg on the walls.
Besides the view, the place is quite nicely set up, with a wood burning oven, different seating areas, and a very airy feel. I loved the herb plants in random places on the two levels. A sniff of rosemary always makes me feel at home, where we had a big rosemary bush right outside our back door.
There are two levels to Torve-Hallen: a downstairs which feels more like a food hall, and an upstairs which has more of a restaurant feel with tables set up. We opted for the upstairs, where we were told that for lunch there is no service, but we are to order downstairs. On ordering we were given a buzzer to collect our food from the order desk.
Having gotten used to a pub culture in the UK, where you order at the bar, this was perfectly fine for us. It also meant that there was a bit of movement in the place, and our young son running around was not a problem (also as there weren’t that many people at 11 am). Other than that, everyone was very welcoming and helped when we had questions with a smile. No complaints!
The food at Torve-Hallen
Here the outcome was very split. We ordered a burger and one of their artisan pizzas. The artisan pizza was really good! A dough that is thin but not too thin, with still a bit of chew to it, and good quality toppings. The burger, however, was not that much of a success for us.
Let’s start with the positives of the burger. First off, I loved that the burger was not a monstrous constructions often offered in cafes here that I always struggle to understand how to eat. You could actually manage to taste all components of the burger together easily and without much mess. I liked that. However, when it came to the taste, it felt like someone looked at a McDonalds burger and attempted to improve on that. Luckily for them, they did manage to improve on that, but there is not much more positive I could say. Unfortunately, on biting into it, McDonalds is what first came to mind and kept on returning with every bite.
There was one amazing bit to the burger though! I loved the ketchup-like sauce offered with the fries! The only downside was that I could have had oh so much more! Especially as they first gave me regular fries rather than the sweet potato fries I had ordered. To their credit, they noticed before I even did and gave me a portion of sweet potato fries before I had even noticed! So again, great service.
They have an interesting selection of beers and seem to use the same distributor as Fox and Hounds. We haven’t yet tried the coffees there but could imagine they would be quite good.
So what would be our recommendation here? Do check it out. On a nice day sit upstairs on the outside balcony, or next to the big windows on other days. As for food, stick with what they do best: pizzas! Asking around, everyone we have talked to who has had pizzas has nothing bad to say, but everyone who has had the other meat dishes was not as impressed. And if you can, ask for a side of the amazing ketchup they serve with fries. Even if just to taste it :D.