Meatballs that taste of cardboard, fake pastrami and a positive instant coffee experience

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The coffee, cake and fresh cabbage were pluses for the Moesgaard Cafeteria on a day where the hot dish was cold and the lack of herbs and spices reflected the lack of atmosphere.

2017.04.26 | Fortalt til Miriam Brems

There is a large selection in the Moesgaard Cafeteria, but the quality cannot match the quantity. Photo: Maria Randima.

Henrik Barlach and Liselott Idestig both work as sanitary employees at Aarhus BSS at AU. Photo: Maria Randima.

The dish of the day was – reportedly – pastrami burger, but tasted more like an ordinary beef burger. Photo: Miriam Brems.

The warm dish of the day, which was Danish meatballs with red cabbage, turned out to be cold. Photo: Miriam Brems.

The instant coffee and the cake were both delicious and cheap. Photo: Miriam Brems.

There was a distinct lack of atmosphere in the depopulated cafeteria, but on the other hand, there was peace and quiet while eating. Photo: Maria Randima.

Reviewed by: Henrik Barlach and Lotta Idestig, both sanitary employees at Aarhus BSS. 

Food: The first thing we notice is the cafeteria’s large selection. There is a warm dish, a dish of the day, various sandwiches and a good selection in the salad bar. A quick look at this week’s dish of the day menu also shows good variation. Today there is burger with pastrami, which we happily choose. We are pleasantly surprised to find that we can add salad from the salad bar at no extra cost. We also choose the Danish meatballs with red cabbage, potatoes and a bread roll. Dessert is coffee and cake.

Our expectant first bite of a meatball is a bitter disappointment. It tastes of cardboard, and even though we saw it taken out of the microwave, it is still cold. The tasteless chopped meat clearly lacks herbs and spices, and in our opinion it should not contain the grated carrots and cabbage which have sneaked into the recipe. Fortunately, the rest of the food raises the level a little: The red cabbage tastes homemade and the potatoes are also tasty and have been seasoned with salt and pepper.

The first bite of the burger does not exactly excite our taste buds. It actually tastes pretty good, but whatever is in the burger bun, it is certainly not pastrami. The meat both looks and tastes like ordinary beef, with a lack of both herbs and spices and a reddish colour. After getting over our surprise about the taste, we must say that the burger is otherwise very good. The burger bun is rustic and crisp, while the cabbage in it tastes fresh and matches the meat very well. As far as we are concerned, it is a plus that the cafeteria has not just thrown the usual handful of iceberg lettuce in the burger.

The mixed salad turns out to be a bit too mixed. We have mixed three different kinds, but unfortunately without knowing that each type of salad also has its own dressing. Even though each tastes good on its own, the combined taste is a bit strange. It would certainly have been better to have the dressing next to each salad, so you could add it yourself after choosing your salad. A further negative factor is that everything has a little tang of refrigerator, as if it has stood in the fridge since yesterday, while the pasta in the pasta salad is both oily and overcooked.

The cafeteria makes a bit of a comeback with the coffee and cake We choose three cookies and a piece of something that we believe to be a brownie. The cookies look homemade and are deliciously crispy. As it turns out, the cake is not a brownie, but on the other hand, it has a good taste of Christmas and raisins and is soft and creamy inside. Like the burger, we first need to get over the surprising taste, but afterwards the taste is positive – and as a little comment, we note that the information in the cafeteria should be a little better, so we know what we are buying. To accompany the cakes, we get a cappuccino made of instant coffee, which much to our surprise turns out to be both creamy and tasteful – definitely one of the best instant coffees we have tasted.

Atmosphere: There is not much atmosphere to speak of. When we arrive at the beginning of lunch at 11:30, the cafeteria is completely empty, and only a few other people arrive during the next hour or so that we spend there. On the other hand, this means that there is plenty of space and you can relax in peace and quiet and enjoy their food without any noise from either background music or lots of other people.

Price: We paid DKK 45 for the dish of the day and side salad and DKK 36 for a Danish meatball with red cabbage, potatoes and a bread roll, which we think is a fair price for lunch. To quench our thirst there is free tap water, but we also buy a Coca Cola for DKK 18 and an elderflower drink for DKK 15. The dessert scores points for price: DKK 8 for the instant cappuccino, DKK 6 for the Christmas-themed cake and DKK 10 for three cookies.

Conclusion: The food filled us up, but it was certainly not a great culinary experience. The cafeteria scores points for the cheap dessert, but they need to improve elsewhere to get us to come back and eat here a second time. Our two reviewers do not agree on the final score for the food. Lotta, who has had the Danish meatball with red cabbage, leans toward a three, while Henrik votes for a four. So, the final score ends up as 3.5.

NB: Please note that this is a review of AU's cafeteria at Moesgaard, which is run by the Studenterhusfonden. This is therefore not a review of Moesgaard Museum's Café.

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