Copenhagen has found a new focus! Organic, fresh, Scandinavian inspired cuisine.
It's been a few years since I've been to Copenhagen. Of course there is the world renowned Little Mermaid, which I unexpectedly saw again last year at the Danish pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai. And then there is the picturesque Nyhaven, as well as the very walkable old city centre.
But it was the culinary experiences we had on this trip that really blew me away. Went to a few amazing restaurants, where for the first time I was challenged to think what I was eating. The combinations were different, the presentation unexpected and the explanations mind-boggling.
One evening, I was served a very rich and dark espresso with a side bowl of cotton candy. What an eccentric way to sweeten your coffee. And I don't even take sugar in my coffee, but I simply had to try.
Then there was the cucumber mousse that was literally served on shiny and dark smooth stones - we actually asked the waiter if the rocks were edible - one never nows!! - or the steak tartar served in bone marrow.
Not to mention the bread: rye, sourdough, brown ... Ahh, I'm a sucker for bread. As I am for dairy products which are so fresh here that cheese just melts in your mouth.
Copenhagen has found an excellent niche for itself, combining an innovative cuisine with the freshest and organic ingredients that one can find, along with the very sober and simple Scandinavian design, this wonderfully relaxed city has found a way to differentiate itself from its european counterparts.
The restaurants of Copenhagen will prove to you that what you see is not what you taste is not what you feel!
> Restaurant Herman at Nimb: this is one of the best restaurants I've ever been to! As well as the most memorable. Situated in Tivoli, the exterior is an odd combination of Moorish architecture and sober Scandinavian white lines. The interior is pure Danish: simple, clean and what can mistakingly be perceived as cold. Yet when the dishes start rolling in you experience one surprise after another. Prior to the 6-course meal which was paired with unique and less-known European wines, we had five appetizers: a leaf that was sitting amidst oyster shells, so that when you bit into it it was flavored with an oyster taste, a small cucumber ball with forget-me-not flowers sprinkled on top, infused oysters, tartar served in bone marrow and ending with a cucumber mousse served on smooth and shining black stones. It got more innovative from there! The service was impeccable, our sommelier describing every wine and food dish with extreme love and pride for his craft, making the evening very unforgettable and lasting late into the night. Definitely an experience not to miss!
> Geist: again, this recently opened restaurant brings innovation to the plate. From the second I got the menu I was thinking, wow, odd combinations of food. Example: steak tartar with oyster sauce, langoustines on a bed of pine needles or for dessert, day old bread with milk chocolate. I found my veal steak tartar with oysters the hardest to swallow, as for the rest, it totally worked. My main course was suckling pig with very creamy mashed potatoes and copious shavings of summer truffles. Very tasty. Even the coffee was something special. They served my espresso with a bowl of cotton candy. Hilarious! Going to the bathroom was yet another event. As you walk into the waiting area for the unisex bathrooms, you realize that the low ceiling is mirrored, which makes you think you're going to bump your head. My initial reaction was to duck! And then, as you enter the bathroom, you will hear sound effects: the sound of thunder glaring from the speakers as you're doing your thing. Wasn't too sure if it was meant to assist me by relaxing my bowels to the sound of nature or if it was to create white noise for the people waiting outside so that they couldn't hear what I was up to.
> Koefoed: this wonderfully intimate restaurant has some delicious local delicacies from the Danish island of Bornholm. For lunch I had a trio of herring - fried, marinated and smoked, along with some heavy brown grain bread. Dont forget to try their local beers and ciders. The interior is pure Scandinavian design.
> Hotel Guldsmeden: keeping in line with the organic theme, this small boutique hotel located close to the train station and the very tame red light district, has very charming rooms which use towels and sheets that are made out of organic cotton. The shampoo, soap and conditioner are also locally sourced, produced by small manufacturers who put a lot of love into their craft. I actually wonder if the toilet paper was organic too? Given that this is an old European style building, the rooms are not very big. Matter of fact, our bathroom was nearly bigger than our bedroom! And the shower, I guess was organic too, for it was hard to get the right temperature given that no matter how you turned the knobs, the water temperature would fluctuate from cold to hot to cold. Nonetheless, it all somehow seemed part of the organic experience in this quirky and charming little hotel. The staff were excellent and the restaurant in the lobby area served the most delicious breads, organic juices and beers, and cold platters. The only other improvement I would ask for is to get proper black-out curtains. Do you know what time the sun rises in Denmark in the summer?