Fortunate last week to study the new Nordic cuisine and try 3 of the top restaurants in Copenhagen, Denmark:
Just opened in July 2013 by ex-Noma head chef Matt Orlando in an old ship building with high ceilings. The kitchen is on the ground floor but the entrance is up one flight of stairs to the top for a panoramic view of the restaurant and then down to floor level for seating. Offered 2 menus both at 575DKK (about $115) one with no choice 8 courses and a “Simplicity menu” of 3 courses with a choice of dry-aged beef or Danish turbot both with sides of young lettuces, herbs, vinaigrette & new potatoes and egg yolk. Both menus started with fava bean, samphire, creme fraiche, St. John’s Wort & fermented flat bread. Other courses in the 8 course included salted mackeral, grilled skin, spring onion; their already famous crispy oats, hot-smoked foie gras, walnut, marigold;
chicken skin, peas, egg yolk, virgin butter; burnt cabbage, mullet roe; lamb breast, carrot, lavender, and dessert of wild cherry, milk ice cream, croutons, olive oil. Work in progress and daily menu evolving. Offer wine pairing for 375DKK but also their local beers are available. Liked their idea to pour house wine at the table out of special grand format bottles of Aligote and Barbera.
Unique location opened in 2010 on the 8th floor of the Parken National Stadium by talented Chef Rasmus Koefed who won gold at the 2011 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon (after previously earning bronze and silver) and already #45 on World’s Best Restaurants (after 49 last year). Classy 16+ courses matched with 10 sommelier recommended wines.
Particularly liked the delicious Lobster & Red Elements (including beets and tapioca) matched with 2009 Meursault Charmes Francois Mikulski. Expensive but an unforgettable dining experience with artistic displays and intriguing flavours making it truly memorable!
Nordic cuisine pioneered by Chef Rene Redzepi became World’s #1 Restaurant for 3 years in a row and just beaten in 2013 by my fav El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. Celebrating their 10th year this Fall with a 3 volume cookbook “A Work in Progress” each highlighting Recipes, Photos, or his Journal notes. For 1500DKK offered 20+ courses including 11 appetizers (moss and cep; flatbread and grilled roses; peas, pine and chamomile; caramelized milk and cod liver; leek and cod roe)and 9 mains (berries and grilled vegetables; onion and fermented pears; beets and plums; my fav of grilled cauliflower and pine boughs with cream and horseradish showing simplicity but delicious; potato and bleak fish roe; roasted turbot and celeriac with bitter greens and nasturtium was between sushi and cooked; blueberry and ants; potato and plum). Also took for 1000DKK their 8 matching wines all unique unheard of oddballs bringing the tab to over $500 per person. Controversial dinner.
A friend commented that “it was one of the worst meals I ever had” and called it “the severely handicapped Nordic diet – and not the diet of the proud strong Danish Vikings.” I agree it was more educational and inspiring to see the use of local sources and foraging than it was delicious. A tour of the kitchen displayed a really impressive myriad of dried natural foods as flavour enhancers stored in plastic containers. Certainly they are as far as possible distant from your typical meat and potatoes fare using instead exotic undiscovered local ingredients and the more familiar prepared in new ways. They continue to seek the cutting edge of a unique Nordic cuisine idea. You decide whether they are on track and whether or not it suits your palate.
For all of us on a more limited Frommer budget I suggest trying the Smorrebrod a Danish open face sandwich with a variety of toppings, the new food market and shops at Torvehallerne on Israels Plads square, and highly recommend www.zigzagrestaurant.com for wonderful fresh buffet lunch for 79DKK including tasty pizza & lasagne.
Please chime in with your comments.