Scandinavia’s Gourmet Capital Continues to Influence the Global Culinary Landscape through New Restaurants and Star-Powered Chefs.
On the heels of San Pellegrino’s “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, Copenhagen continues to influence the global culinary scene, with Noma at number two and Geranium at number 45 on the list. While the ongoing influence of New Nordic cuisine has created waves of new interpretations from both former Noma chefs opening their own restaurants and foreign chefs coming to Denmark, Copenhagen’s culinary culture also embraces craft beer, rustic cooking, and designer-hotel cocktails.
New Nordic 2.0
Food fads come and go but New Nordic cuisine has a proven staying power. The opening of Noma in 2004 began a culinary movement that now inspires a new generation of chefs and a team of alumni who have branched out to create their own restaurants and are redefining the New Nordic philosophy.
The chefs behind Restaurant Bror, Victor Wågman from Sweden and Samuel Nutty of the United Kingdom, showcase their Noma roots through a clean menu full of fresh, seasonal vegetables and foraged edible flowers. Former Noma head chef, Matthew Orlando is starting his own venture with the opening of Amass in July last year offering a menu of New Nordic cuisine influenced by his international travels. Other takes on the New Nordic movement include Höst, meaning harvest, a concept from Cofoco (Copenhagen Food Consulting) headed by Jonas Christensen. The young talent is taking the cuisine to the next level by making it more accessible for a broader audience. Kadeau, a newcomer to the Michelin star family, continues the New Nordic movement with a menu focused on produce from the Danish island of Bornholm, the ‘sunshine island’ in the Baltic Sea.
Copenhagen chefs have also developed concepts that are unpretentious and playup Danish humor such as Pony, serving rustic cuisine such as pig, sausage, and steak tartar. Please note that this is a gay bar. Other irreverent concepts include Congo, owned by Casper Christensen, a comedic actor and talk show host in Denmark who has put his energy and love of humor into the restaurant. Informal spots like Marv & Ben (meaning marrow & bone), located on the oldest street in Copenhagen, offer traditional Danish cuisine in a warm and modest atmosphere.
Beers and Bars
Drinking is as essential as eating in Copenhagen and the gourmet capital offers plenty of libations from micro brews to expertly crafted cocktails. Inconspicuous bars such as Lidkøb Bar located in an old half-timbered house in the back of an alley on Vesterbrogade Street, are packed with full-bearded men in lumber jack shirts and open fireplaces. Housed in a former pharmacy lab, the bar will soon feature a whiskey lounge on the top floor.
Beer enthusiasts flock to taste the elixir of ‘the beer gypsy’ at Mikkeller, a brewery with locations in Vesterbro and Nørrebro and coming soon to San Francisco. Founder Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is known internationally as one of the most innovative and cutting-edge brewers and has made house brews for some of Denmark’s most prominent restaurants including Noma, Mielcke & Hurtigkarl and Kiin Kiin. The teacher turned brewer now runs the Copenhagen Beer Celebration 2013 which he started last year for beer geeks to celebrate extreme beer culture. More traditional Danish beer lovers are drawn to the Copenhagen Beer Festival, where guests are invited to celebrate the diversity of Danish beers, try rare foreign brews, and sample beer and food pairings.
Gourmet Hotels – Copenhagen’s New Trend
From fine dining to world-class brews, Denmark has a little of everything and Copenhagen’s top hotels are establishing themselves as destinations for both luxury accommodations and exceptional food experiences. Hotels are keeping the gastronomic-traveler in mind with award-winning chefs and chic bars including the recently renovated and über luxurious Hotel ‘DAngleterre, boasting the brand new restaurant Marchal from Michelin-starred Chef Ronny Emborg. The hotel also added Balthazar, Copenhagen’s first Champagne bar a few months ago.
Atop the Radisson Blu Royal, a uniquely designed hotel from Danish modern architect Arne Jacobsen, is the restaurant Alberto K. Also bearing the stamp of Jacobsen’s design, the restaurant has some of Copenhagen’s best views and will soon be helmed by Chef Jeppe Foldager, the winner of last year’s Bocuse d’Or Silver medal. Not far from there, The Nimb Bar at Copenhagen’s upscale Nimb Hotel, is a classic bar with an innovative and rotating cocktail list and was recently added to the eponymous “World’s Best Bars” list.
To get a taste of all that Copenhagen has to offer, travelers can indulge in social dining experiences such as: Copenhagen Food Tours, Dine with the Danes, CPH: Gastro Tours from CPH: Cool, Guerilla Dining by Silver Spoon, or with one of the city’s exciting food festivals like the Copenhagen Cooking Festival running from August 22-August 31, 2014.
Wer hope you’ve got a taste of Copenhagen’s culinary scene by now.