Tuesday 15 January 2013

A weekend in Copenhagen

Foodies from all over the world are clamouring to get a table at Noma, Rene Redzepi's iconic restaurant in Copenhagen and brilliant though it is, it's certainly not the only reason to visit the Danish capital. One can have many memorable breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas and dinner, but there never seems to be enough time to enjoy them all.

I had compiled a long wish list for a recent week end trip to Copenhagen.
Several restaurant including Relae and Herman in Tivoli were already booked up, but not being one to take no for an answer easily I thought it was worth a try to swing by at lunch time, after all the worst that could happen would still be NO but as luck would have it they had just had a cancellation at Hermans.

We had a fantastically good lunch. The first 'course' was two oyster leaves served on a little mound of empty oyster shells. This intriguing little plant Mertensia Maritimia tastes distantly of oysters, a little teaser at the beginning of the meal. The next three courses were oyster related, a cushion of oyster flavoured foam served on a flat pebble, this came with instructions to allow it to slide off the pebble into your mouth. It dissolved into a little pool of briny deliciousness, that was followed by a couple of oysters with smoked olive oil and pine flavoured granita served on a plate of seaweed and rocks with little sprigs of pine tucked in here and there.

Next up, oyster, veal, and sour cream served in a marrow bone - sublime! And on it went, frozen duck liver with cherries, meltingly tender fresh scallops with camomile jelly, crispy pigeon leg and confit with chestnut, tiny nasturtium leaves and trompettes de mort.

A plate of Danish farmhouse cheeses followed, Red Christian from Jutland. Trope Need Krondil, a hay cheese, and a blue cheese from Fyn, served with a little loaf of warm walnut bread with rose hip marmalade and chutney.

Several puddings and three cheeky petit fours signaled the end of the meal. Little branches of witch hazel and little squiggles of orange flavoured chocolate rolled in cocoa, a fun nibble and delicious. Next there were jet black marshmallows served on grey stones and finally a white chocolate 'quail egg' tucked into juniper branches. I forgot to count the courses, each was tiny and perfectly pitched, a celebration of Nordic seasonal ingredients with a mischevious, fun element running throughout.

Hans Kong is yet another brilliantly talented Danish chef, sadly since writing this post I've heard that Hermans has closed, watch out for this chefs next venture.

The new food Market Torvehallerne is worth a visit even if it is rather sanitized. There are lots of good things there but don't miss the pizza rolls called klapper.

On Saturday we took a taxi to Jaggerborggarde, this used to be a really dodgy area with junkies and drug dealers on every corner but now thanks to a conscious decision of the landlords it has become the hippest food street in Copenhagen.

Don't miss The Coffee Collective, really terrific freshly ground from single estates, when we were there, a group of baristtas from New York came in to enjoy and check out the Coffee. Close by the smell of freshly baked artisan breads and pasteries from Meyers Bakery had people quequing down the street.

I was also intrigued by Grod a tiny little cafe and shop that just sold porridge and lots of accompaniments, also on Jaggerborggard.

Ammanns, new take on smorgasbord is also worth seeking out, I loved it and hear that they have now opened in Manhattan.

Noma was completely brilliant and of course needs a whole blog to itself, can't wait to go back to Copenhagen where I actually got engaged in 1970, boy has the food improved since then!