In May, the boy and I headed to Copenhagen to celebrate our weird shared birthday. Since Copenhagen is about four hours from Aarhus and stupidly expensive to get to, we decided to make the most of it and try out as many new places as possible. Our trip actually coincided with the Copenhagen marathon although we were engaged in a slightly less healthy marathon to eat and drink our way across town.
On our first night, we had a 9:30 booking at Manfred’s & Vin, just around the corner from our apartment. Manfred’s is the casual offshoot of the Michelin starred Relae across the street, and judging by the size of its kitchen, a lot of the food must be prepped in Relae too. It serves only natural wines and has a wine list the size of a Russian novel, but quite few by the glass. We didn’t get off to a great start when we phoned to say we were running 5 minutes late and were told the kitchen would close promptly at 9:45 which seemed a bit strange when they accept 9:30 bookings. We knew we would try the chef’s special (7 dishes shared between two for 250kr per person) and ordered as soon as we sat down, along with the ‘Sommelier’s Choice’ of wine pairing. The food really was fantastic, each dish brought out by the chefs who explained what we were having. Beetroot tartar with goats cheese cream showed exactly why this combination is a restaurant cliche – if it is done well it is earth-shatteringly good. Smoked potatoes were also favourites, along with a bitter leaf salad. The braised beef with parsley sauce was a litte underwhelming, despite its vivid colours. The chef’s choice menu is amazingly good value for Copenhagen. Unfortunately, after the second glass of the ‘Sommelier’s choice’ was poured, it became clear that the sommelier had just chosen the three cheapest wines available. While they were still lovely, this seemed a bit disingenuous, especially when we realised it would have been slightly cheaper just to order each glass separately. This was only added to by the very rushed and unfriendly service we got (not from the chefs who were lovely) which very definitely had the ‘we want to leave ASAP so hurry up and eat’ vibe to it. I would go back for the food alone though.
DK 2200, Copenhagen
After dinner we stumbled around the corner to the newly opened Mikkeller and Friends bar. On our way to Manfreds the balmy summer evening had drinkers spilling out onto the square outside, but sadly when we returned it was indoor action only. Mikkeller is the Danish connoisseurs beer of the moment, and priced to match (small bottles in my local bar in Aarhus range from 80dkk to 120dkk), but here you can try out half glasses and full glasses of 40 different beers both from Mikkeller and other craft beer brands on tap for 30-70dkk. The decor is unrelentingly stylish, with bleached wood, strong lighting and turqouise accents. More hipsters than you can shake an obscure vintage mahogany walking stick found in a flea market in Dusseldorf at.
There is only one bad thing I can say about Pluto. Do not bring vegetarians here. This place is nirvana for those of you who like your meat rich, heavy and preferably butter coated. Pluto stays open pretty late, and was bustling still when we arrived in the large industrial style dining room at 10pm on a Friday. Like most trendy Danish restaurants these days, it offers small plates with a French leaning, including a lot of charcuterie and cheeses, ranging in price between 40kr to 130kr (for foie gras). Between us, we opted for the rillettes, sweetbreads, shortribs, leeks and foie gras croquettes (there are three vegetable dishes on the menu, and one of them is pasta). It was possibly the richest and most decadent meal I have ever had, but in the best way. The confit sweetbreads came dripping in a rich meat jus surrounded by little pearl onions. The rilletes came piled on a plate with good bread and a hit of wasabi on the side to cut through the fat. The leeks were tasty but an amazingly small portion (approximately 1 leek) for the price, considering that the meat dishes were pretty generous. Just to complete the calorie overload, we finished off with two cheeses, with our waiter obligingly providing us an amazing 36 month aged Comte instead of the standard selection. The wine list was ample and reasonably priced (by Copenhagen standards, not normal standards) and the service was friendly and efficient throughout. This was the culinary highlight of the weekend.
BROR is the latest restaurant from the school of Noma, set up by two chefs with several years at Copenhagen’s most famous restaurant under their belt. They offer a selection of snacks, some small plates or a four course chef’s menu made up of a selection of the small plates. Continuing what may now be considered a pattern, we went for the chef’s menu, along with some deep fried testicles as previously discussed here. I’m not sure this was the way to go. Unfortunately, the selection of dishes we got were the ones I least liked the look of on the menu, so I’m not the best judge of them, but I found both the cod cheeks and the pike with pine to be on the bland side of subtle. In contrast, we got a pork dish with a spectacularly powerful wild garlic sauce (and I used to eat wild garlic raw as a child) that was just completely overwhelming. Our rhubarb and milk dessert was lovely however, and we devoured massive quantities of the fantastic bread and marrow bone butter. The four great glasses selection of natural wines were fantastic, a brilliant example of why the natural wine trend is one that will stick around. The service was the best I’ve had in Denmark, friendly and very efficient, while keeping the atmosphere completely relaxed.
Skt. Peders Stræde 24A