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Copenhagen culinary scene - DO believe the hype!

By August 14, 2014 , , , , , , ,

I think I’ve just about recovered from one of the most amazing culinary experiences ever. I was really looking forward to my weekend in Copenhagen and really excited about the food. We didn’t get a booking at Noma, but got several restaurants that were pretty much the next best thing!

We started at BROR ( #BROR  ) on Friday night, the guys running the restaurant are ex-sous chefs of Noma , the restaurant itself has a very rustic décor and only a small number of tables, but we had a bird’s eye view of the action in the kitchen.

We kicked off our evening with lamb testicles (see picture taken at Amass – not for the squeamish), pan fried in breadcrumbs with an amazingly fresh tartare sauce, we then followed with a dish of heritage tomatoes, unripe strawberries, tomato powder and consommé with mackerel, which was delicate and fresh. The following course was cos lettuce hearts braised and charred with chanterelle mushrooms and a mushroom puree, I liked it but Andy wasn’t as keen on the lettuce (he picks up bitter flavours more than I do) but the mushrooms and their corresponding purée were flavoursome and worked well overall. The main course was pork neck with rustic crumb and jus, served with purple spuds (the name eludes me) and greens, next the cheese course we had a mature cheese similar to comté which was served with a Belgian beer and accompanied by a really smooth apple chutney. 

We also had an extra course of beef heart salad with beef tartare, the heart had been finely chopped and pan-fried lightly and it was served with mustard vinaigrette, delicious.  The dessert of lavender ice-cream was paired with blueberries and dill, the berries nicely detracting from the sweetness of the ice-cream and complementing the lavender nicely.
With regards to wines, they specialize in young and upcoming winemakers, and we had a selection by the glass unfortunately I didn’t get a list of what was paired with the food. I did think the wines a tad young for my taste, they worked well with the food all the same. 

A big thanks to Jacob (the chef) and his team, it was an enjoyable evening and the service was fantastic, he was really friendly and I’m really looking forward to coming back, as we were promised brawn or tête de veau if we let them know in advance that we are booking.

The next day was a chilled day at the market, checking out the local produce, sorry there are no pics, but I was gobsmacked at the quality of the produce and the seasonality, lots of stalls had signs saying what was in season this month and pretty much everything was local and organic. We headed to Paté Paté ( #patepate  ) for a leisurely lunch with some wines; the wine list was pretty amazing with some great wines by the glass, I had a Meursault and Andy had a Gruner veltliner, we did kick off with the house cocktail of plantation rum and homemade lemonade. We accompanied the wines with langoustines and oysters (which were surprisingly sourced from Ireland and tasty) and chilled to the jazz sound track while watching people getting soaked in the heavy downpour outside.

So next on the culinary to-do list was Amass ( #Amass ), I was pretty excited by this as the chef and staff of the restaurant, reads like a who’s who of the Michelin star world, the head chef is ex-head chef of Noma and also has done stints at Le Bernadin (New York) and Le Manoir au Quatre saisons (Oxfordshire), pretty much most of the staff have been at Noma at some stage amongst other restaurants. The restaurant is based out on the outskirts of Copenhagen near the docks and has a very industrial look and feel to the décor but picked up on the light from outside. We got a prime table looking into the kitchen which was fantastic.

We went for the 6 course menu with paired wines (again, didn’t get a list of the wines, sorry) and started with a potato salad of sorts with a delicate dressing, cepes and marigolds, it was sublime and simple but tasted amazing. The bread that was served was a kind of sour dough potato bread made with yoghurt and served with chard greens, it was the best potato bread I’ve tasted in a long time, very moreish. Next course was heritage tomatoes, lemon cucumber, a tomato consommé and oregano, simple but fresh and elegant. We then had the most amazing rock langoustines with red Lettuce, Roasted Chicken Skins ( I could have eaten a whole bag of them alone) and  Beach Plants, the sauce was a buerre blanc, which was not too strong, but worked well. The next course was beans, duck heart and seaweed with St John’s wort, tasted amazing. Next came the pork cheek with unripened apples and Swiss chard, I really did not want this course to end at all, the pork was cooked to perfection and the apples although tart seemed to align nicely with the dish.
We then had a brief break, where the sommelier invited us to take a look at the herb garden outside, they like people to chill and have a walk before dessert. The garden is pretty cool with lots of herbs and veg scattered, they also had bonfires which were lit later on in the evening which was pretty awesome to watch from indoors.

So now comes the menu diversion… As we were right next to the kitchen we could watch all the action as the evening unfolded, I noticed that they were making what looked like southern fried chicken (apparently a friend of the chefs had come to visit from the states and he always makes it for him when he comes to eat) and the pastry chef came over to confirm our suspicions, so being the southern fried chicken nut that I am, I had to have some. They served it with coleslaw and biscuits and it wasn’t bad at all. 

For me they only dish of the evening that wasn’t my fave was the dessert, which was Cherry Sherbert, Frozen Fennel, and Olive Oil, for me the olive oil was very strong and dominated the dish. The majority of wines served with the meal came from natural winemakers and some were unfiltered which was interesting, the dessert wine we had had a lovely crisp finish. Overall the wine pairing was amazing, I couldn’t fault it.
I think I spent the entire evening with a huge grin on my face, it was back to basics cooking at its best, each course highlighting seasonal ingredients with a precise attention to detail, and there was no molecular gastronomy, just food and flavours.
The head chef came over and chatted with us, as he wanted to know who  the fried chicken nut was, I also got a picture of him with some lamb testicles ( to be delivered to BROR), we chatted with some of the other chefs as well, all pretty cool guys and very friendly.

So onto the last day, we got a recommendation from the chef at Amass that Manfred’s & vin ( 90-100% organic) was the place to check out for lunch, it is a pretty understated restaurant,  again, the chef is ex-Noma and also ex El-Bulli. Their specialty is natural wine and the staff there are pretty knowledgeable. We both had the eggs benedict which was not as expected, the eggs were sous-vided so the yolks were nice and runny and the white more so. It wasn’t the traditional presentation of eggs, ham and bread, but the eggs were served with spring onions, apple and spinach with toasted spelt bred on the side and of course hollandaise ( the best EVER!). We capped off the leisurely lunch with cheese (again the same as I had a BROR on Friday) and Andy had a lemon cream with blueberries and olive oil (this time the oil worked really well, as it was subtle). We had a natural sauvignon blanc and I had a cider pairing with the cheese, Andy got given a Sake with his dessert (turns out the importer is from Leiden, small world).

So all in all pretty much the best weekend away food wise in a very long time, really looking forward to going back there again In October!

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