Eating well in Copenhagen
|Bocuse trio at Geranium
|Selection of dishes from Geranium including the razor clam tartare in an edible shell
|Selection of courses from Geranium
|Geranium: Jerusalem artichokes and walnut oil
Amass is a relatively new spot, opened in mid 2013 by head chef Matt Orlando who has a glittering career spanning Noma (most recently Chef de Cuisine), The Fat Duck, Le Manoir, Le Bernadin and Per Se. The huge space is housed in a fairly isolated location in an industrial part of Copenhagen best reached either by water or by taxi. At night, the bonfires are lit and cast a glow over the raised vegetable beds which supply the kitchen.
|A selection of dishes from Amass: Clockwise: Cod head rillettes / Raw shrimp, hot-smoked foie gras / bread / Salted Mackerel, grilled skin, young onion
|Selection of dishes from Amass: Squid, beans, sour plums, marigold / Squash, lamb breast, baby corn / Burnt kale, chicken skin, almond
Amass definitely has a lot of buzz at the moment with tables hard to come by so be prepared to plan your meal. There is a nod to democracy with a number of seats held back for walk-ins however, so you could try your luck. There are also two tables for two right next to the kitchen which is where I sat. These give a bird's eye view of the action which I really enjoyed. I find the rhythm of a well oiled kitchen quite hypnotic. I enjoyed Amass and I think it's a place that will get better over time.
I had a fantastic dinner at Radio. In fact, it was one of the best meals I've had in Copenhagen. Radio comes with a pedigree that spans some of the best kitchens in Copenhagen including Noma, Geranium and Geist so you know you're in good hands. The restaurant itself is very understated, being slightly cosy but warm and friendly with the cube-like kitchen space dominating a corner of the room. The chairs were also fantastically comfortable.
|Radio: Langoustine, carrot, rye bread, smoked cheese
There was a vegetarian course which was the essence of grilled cheese so it was obviously as fantastic as a warm hug - pearl barley, crunchy toasted wheat biscuit with peppery watercress and a thinnish cheesy sauce. The tender pork course was another revelation served with a celeriac purée and dehydrated apple. Such intense concentration of flavour in this dish made it hugely enjoyable.
|Dishes from Radio: Salted cod, cabbage, mustard, mussels / Pearl barley, onion, cress, ho-cheese / Pickled quince, walnuts,liquorice, white chocolate / Pork, celeriac, browned butter, apple
Relae is another kitchen with the Noma pedigree and has a Michelin star to its name. When I dined here, I sat at the bar looking into the small kitchen which turned out dishes that seemed to revel in pushing the boundaries in terms of ingredients. If I had to compare the style between Radio and Relae, I'd say that I found Radio a bit more accessible.
|Selection of dishes from Relae: Herb bouquet / Asparagus, buckwheat / Rhubarb, elderflower granita / Hake, bergamot
|Relae: chicken wings, heart, liver and shaved white asparagus
Geist is a terrific venue, although at night it's one of the darkest places you could dine and it gets a bit raucous in there too. I guess it's all about atmosphere. For choice, I'd opt to sit in the area which surrounds the kitchen, but that's because I always like my dinner with a bit of a show.
|Selection of dishes from Geist: Oyster & Radish / Quail / Pork belly with artichoke and black truffle / Squid
|Geist: tea comes with afro-sized cotton candy
I wasn't bowled over by BROR, but I've included it here because I think it may have just been an off evening and because I've read lots of good reviews and seen many great photos on Instagram. There is a set four course menu (DKK350), which can actually change during the course of the evening, but you can also start with a few snacks (around DKK40 each) or just stick to a few plates from the more limited a la carte menu.
We started with a few small dishes which included bulls' balls. You know, testicles. They were gently poached, then sliced, battered and deep fried. Served with a chunky tartare sauce the smallish disks probably could have been anything. There was a slightly offalish giveaway from the texture though.
|Dishes at Bror
ALMANAK AT THE STANDARD
|Almanak: Soft boiled egg, "Romo" shrimps, chicken skin, chickweed smorrebrod
If you are doing a long weekend in Copenhagen, it can be hard to find somewhere decent open for Sunday lunch. Manfred's fits the bill perfectly though and you can book too. Don't expect anything fancy - it's a small neighbourhood place. After a weekend eating, I couldn't face another seven course meal so we opted to choose a few dishes from the good value small a la carte menu. The dishes we had were simple but packed with in-your-face flavours. My confit duckling legs were perfectly cooked with lots of flavour partly thanks to the acidity of the added bergamot, but the plate was a bit on the oily side. A simple roast cauliflower dish and some pickles were fine additions to lunch though.
|Dishes at Manfred's
You can't beat hot dogs in Copenhagen. They make a perfect light lunch and are cheap to boot too. By all means try out the carts that haunt most corners, but make a beeline for the Round Tower where the organic dogs from DOP will greet you. I think it's the interest added by the seeded bun that elevates it, but maybe it's the perfect construction and tasty meat used in the dog. Mine's always the ristet hot dog at about DKK35. This is a great pit stop when you're shopping or sightseeing and just need some fuel to keep going.
|Organic ristet hot dogs at DOP
Conditori la Glace has to be one of the oldest cake shops in Copenhagen, founded back in 1870. The wood-panelled room with marble topped tables is a must visit despite the popularity which inevitably means a wait of some sort. My favourite cake is the one made specially for the Gay Games held in Copenhagen in 2009. The Stjernekraes has a light chocolate mousse atop a crushed chocolate base and has layers of hazelnut and almond praline with a surprise layer of tart apricot. It's rich but not cloyingly so. The best hot chocolate in town can be found here too, served in a tall silver pitcher with a side of fluffy whipped cream. It's perfect for a Danish winter...or any time of year really.
|Cakes and hot chocolate at Conditori la Glace
This mouthful of a bakery, has spawned stores all over the country, but I think the quality is still great. A pastry or two and some coffee makes a great to start your day and is probably a lot better than what is on offer in your hotel. I always tend to bring home a loaf or two of bread if my suitcase space permits - the one with five seeds is delicious.
|Pastries at Lagkagehusset
I have to thank The Foodie Guide (aka On The Frog) for highlighting the Hindbaer snitte (an insanely good raspberry slice) at Meyers. There is a branch in the basement food hall of the department store Magasin du Nord where you can rest your weary feet and your credit card, while there is another on Jaegersborggade where you can fine Relae and Manfred's above. As the name suggest, this is another Claus Meyer concept - the man has a midas touch.
|Madklubben Grill at Tivoli
If you want a light lunch, Torvehallerne is a great place to go. There's a huge variety of independent shops to eat at or pick up fresh ingredients. When I visited, on a cold snow-covered January day, bonfires were keeping people warm as they went about their shopping between the two halls. I ate a gorgeous smorrebrod (marinated salmon with remoulade and lemon) at Hallernes, which has been voted Copenhagen's best. Torvehallerne also has a branch of the Coffee Collective and decent pastries from Lauras Bakery. Try the kanelsnegl, which is a light and flaky cinnamon and custard pastry.
|Smorrebrod at Hallernes in Torvehallerne