Iv just returned from a long weekend in the beautiful city of Copenhagen where as well as see the sites and potter about we ate some incredible food! Since Noma started winning the Best Restaurant in the World accolade 3 years ago, Copenhagen has become more known for its food than the Little Mermaid and is now welcomed by many into lists of must-visit foodie cities.
I naively assumed Copenhagen would be all Danish pastries and Smørrebrød (open sandwiches) with lots of cured and pickled things topped with dill – oh how i wrong i was!
You all know i love a good food market and Copenhagen’s Torvehallerne Market is now one of my favourites. Stalls selling cheeses, meats and wine nestle in between numerous butchers, fishmongers, grocers and bakers offering fresh food to locals to cook at home and ready-to-eat bites which I took full advantage of! Tasting on Danish blue and smoked cheeses, taramasalata pastes, nougat and acai juice were some highlights but the star of the show was a seafood stall offering DIY smorgasbords of raw fish and salads.
I selected a gravadlax style salmon topped with yoghurt, dill and hazelnuts, ceviche of halibut with chilli, plum and pear and a pearl barley and roasted pepper salad. Whilst the three dishes dont work as a full meal these seemed the most far removed and interesting to try having never had halibut ceviche and fish paired with plum and pear. The lunch was full of flavour, super fresh, good value and very filling – i was contemplating asking for some bread (you can take the girl out of The North….) but the meal was good enough as it was and for any of you visiting the market id recommend seeking out this stall called HAV.
Brunch in Copenhagen was also a very pleasant surprise – cafes generally offer 2 main options – the classic and vegetarian which are essentially 3 course breakfasts on a plate. Fruit, yoghurt and granola, and pastry are served alongside eggs with either bacon and sausage or tapenade and humous. To complete the meal a few slices of cheese and charcuterie are devoured with a selection of sourdough and rye breads – needless to say such a huge brunch left little room for snacks but we still managed a couple of danish pastries from one of the many patisseries in the city and they were a delight.
Ok – so on to the main events – Dinner – our attempt at the Noma waitlist sadly failed afterall who would cancel a Noma reservation but im confident we made up for it with our meals and feasted exceptionally well both evenings.
The first night was Oliver & The Black Circus – a dark, cool and quirky venue offering fine dining in a relaxed and bustling atmosphere. Only a tasting menu either 4 or 6 courses with wine flight and a cocktail – each and every course was presented beautifully and gave us the opportunity to taste new flavours and foods. Scallops to start with a fresh salad of greens and a light oyster sauce.
Next was cod with mussels served on a cucumber, tomato and dill salsa. My favourite course was Veal (mine was very rare but so tasty) served with sliced and cubed roasted and pickled beetroot and juicy trumpet mushrooms. Dessert was thankfully a light one – a deconstructed apple crumble if you will – soft and sweet stewed apples with a marshmallow soft meringue on top drizzled with elderberry coulis and topped with crumble. The entire meal and evening was out of this world.
Dinner the second night was very different but equally as tasty. BioM Restaurant offers are more minimalist setting, neutrals and whites decorate the small restaurant with driftwood adorning the walls and little tree trunks growing mushrooms on the counter enhance the fresh and foraged, natural feel to the place. Again as we are greedy little things we opted for the 3 course menu but had 3 or 4 choices for each course. To start I elected the smoked beef salad – slithers of barbecue smoked carpaccio beef scattered the plate along with pickled cabbage, cranberries and hazelnuts – all brought together under a sticky and sweet barbecue dressing and topped with very crispy onions.
Main course was halibut – a fish which seems to be in abundance in Copenhagen – the fish came with black tagliatelle, pea sauce, fennel and salsify. Given sometimes salsify can taste of sweaty fish i was keen to try (i had it once a few years back and it left a lot to be desired) – each and every element of this was brilliant – i didn’t want it to end and promptly cleared my plate!
Despite being completely full, i couldn’t resist the chocolate mousse, chocolate tart and passionfruit dessert – combining rich and light chocolate elements with sweet and tangy passionfruit coulis and sorbet was the perfect end to this fantastic meal.