When the new Tivoli season started at April 6th it was with several interesting gastronomic news. The one that excites me the most is Gemyse, our new vegetable focused restaurant. “Gemüse” means vegetables in German and we have twisted that into a more Danish version. The new head chef, Christoffer Brink, underlines the level of ambition behind the restaurant. Together with his former colleague thought many years Jeppe Foldager he won the silver medal at Bocuse d’Or, the unofficial world championship, in 2013.
Denmark is famous for its hotdog stands located at busy streets all over the country. It is an easy way to get a quick meal on the go if you do not have the time to go to a restaurant.
Despite the hotdog stands’ iconic status there has been a decrease in the number of stands throughout the last couple of decades. Sushi, burgers, shawarma and other types of fastfood has gained territory and several hotdog stands have had to close. The wider range of options is one reason for the hotdog “crisis”. Another one is due to the simple fact that too many stands have been serving hotdogs based on terrible industrial products, which are neither healthy or satisfying to eat.
There has been a change during the last couple of years. The hotdog movement has gained new energy and become much more quality orientated. For instance the yearly Danish hotdog championship has been an important factor in bringing back the pride to the business. One of the pioneers in this movement is John Michael Jensen, who for 10 years has been running John’s Hotdog Deli next to the main station and just across the street from Nimb. Continue reading
The new Tivoli season is finally here. On April 6th, the grand opening took place and there are several exiting gastro news to tell about. Here they are:
Gemyse – a green oasis in Tivoli
A very exciting addition to Tivoli’s restaurant scene is Gemyse located at the former Nimb Terrasse. Gemüse means vegetables in German, which Nimb has given a Danish twist – hence Gemyse.
Let’s be honest. Obviously, Hotel d’Angleterre at the King’s Square in Copenhagen is a competitor to us at Nimb. That is simply due to the fact that they are great at what they do and we respect their work.
To foodies, their biggest draw to attention is the restaurant, Marchal, which was one of the additions to the hotel after the huge refurbishment and re-opening in 2013. Already a year later, the Michelin Guide awarded the restaurant a star. Shortly after receiving the star, the head chef, Ronny Emborg, decided to explore new adventures in New York as head chef at the two Michelin starred Atera, where he still is today. His alumni and right hand Christian Gadient took over and kept the star. Surprisingly, he decided to leave as well last spring in order to open his own place, Spontan, at the Nørrebro brewery Brus – another cool place that you should pay a visit.
After a few months of research, Marchal presented their new head chef in May. The new man in charge was Andreas Bagh, who has previously worked at the three star restaurants Alinia in Chicago and Geranium in Copenhagen as well at Kong Hans, also in Copenhagen. Whereas the former two head chefs had been working with Nordic flavours, Andreas Bagh wanted to introduce the French cuisine to which he adds his own ideas and twists. I have already had a couple of very pleasent experiences at Marchal and a few weeks ago I decided to pay another visit to see if he was still living up to his own very high standards.
Marchal is a great choice for lunch. In contrast to many other fine dining establishments, you do not have to go through a full tasting menu, which makes it more flexible and adjustable to the wish of each guest. The lunch menu consists of approximately 15 dishes ranging from 150 to 1,000 DKK (the latter being 50 grams of Baerii caviar) and three courses should make you set. If you feel like letting Andreas Bagh decide for you, he offers a set lunch two or three course lunch for 325 and 425 DKK, respectively.
I had three courses from the a la carte menu. I started off with a wonderful dish based on hand dived Norwegian scallops. Being alive until just a few minutes before getting served the scallop was incredibly fresh and firm in texture. It had been seared quickly in a warm pan to enhance its natural sweetness and then cut in half. The dish consisted of four halv scallops topped with different garnishes: Swedish bleek roe, pickled elderflowers and chestnut and they all added different and delicate nuances to the dish. The deliciousness just got enhanced by a creamy sauce made of brown butter – really great.
The next dish was based on pigeon, black trompet mushrooms and beets. To my taste, a breast of pigeon should be dark red but this was cooked a bit too much. It was not dry but the gamey, bloody taste had disappeared. It was a shame because a less cooked piece of breast would have been butter suited for the earthy flavors in the beets and mushrooms.
Luckliy, Andreas Bagh was quickly back on track with an amazing dessert called “The gold bar”. The name quickly made sense when the dessert arrived. A nicely shaped bar of chocolate and hazelnuts covered in white chocolate was topped with real 24 karat gold leaves to make it look as authentic as possible. Gold or not, the taste and texture of the dessert was worth its weigh in gold with it perfect balance between the crunchy nuts and the buttery chocolate ganache with a hint of coffee. The calvados ice cream was – of course – topped with gold as well and Andreas Bagh had managed to really emphasize the complex apple notes from the spirit without letting the alcohol take over. This is a signature of Andreas Bagh and I am sure that no guests leave disappointed if they end the meal with this dessert.
A luxurious atmosphere
After three courses, I had a great feeling of being full without have eaten too much. I could for sure have eaten another dish from the tempting menu circulating around great produce of all kind but that was more due to curiosity than physical needs. The a la carte option makes it easy to compose your own meal fitting your appetite as well as your budget.
The service is professional without being too stiff and serious. It makes you relax and feel at home in the comfortable room with thick carpets ensuring good acoustics. All in all, Marchal is very recommendable for lunch as well as dinner. I will be back soon to have another portion of the gold bar.
A great way to really figure out if you have had a great meal is to ask yourself: “Do I want to come again?”. If the answer is “Yes!”, you know that you have found something great. If you on top of that get withdrawal symptoms after a few weeks, you know that it is really special.
This is how I feel about Søllerød Kro north of Copenhagen (a 25 minutes drive from the center). The old inn has been existing for more than 340 years and since the establishment not much has changed around the old building. It is surrounded by a church, a big forest and a pond where the chefs use to drop their students after their graduation from chef’s school.
Inside, much more has happened since a local priest got permission to serve food and offer a good night’s sleep to people passing by 340 years ago. Today, Søllerød Kro is a gourmet restaurant serving French inspired food with a Nordic, personal twist added by the head chef, Brian Mark Hansen, who has been defending the Michelin star every year since he took over the stove in 2013.
Give them two stars!
If I were a Michelin inspector, I would give two stars to Søllerød Kro right away. The food, the wine and the ambience are merged together to a perfect whole – you simply feel at home right away. This is especially due to the restaurant manager, Jan Restorff. He is a living legend in Danish gastronomy being famous and highly acknowledged for his unique skills as a host ensuring a personal experience suited for every guest. Feeling in good hands is an important part of being able to enjoy a delicious meal, and you will find absolutely no snobbish attitude at Søllerød Kro.
What I always enjoy about coming to Søllerød Kro is their uncompromising approach to produce. You will only find top quality products on the menu regardless if it is caviar, truffles or asparagus. The starting point is usually the French cuisine but Brian Mark Hansen always adds a personal touch to the dishes bringing in different textures and flavors.
Combined with Jan Restorff’s knowledge and ability to pair food and wine you are in for a treat. Restorff is not afraid of mixing conventional and natural wines – as long as they are great, they can make it to the table.
Sit in the courtyard
Søllerød Kro is open all year round. The kitchen follows the seasons closely in order to give the most fresh ingredients to the guests. What you can only enjoy during the summer is the chance to sit outside in the courtyard. It adds another dimension to the dining experience. Do not be afraid to take your children with you – Søllerød Kro welcomes all guests.
March 11 was a great day for one of our patissier Sofie Brandi. Her cake won the the press award at Cake of the Year 2017 in front of more than 100 other beautiful cakes. It is a great achievement for Sofie, who is just 24 years old.
When she is not competing the is the right hand of our head patissier, Torben Bang, who is running the afternoon tea in the upper room bar at Nimb. Already at the age of 15 she decided to become a baker and after moving from Jutland to Copenhagen she chose to top that by training as a confectioner as well.
About the cake she says:
“I wanted to do something different for the competition. To stand out among so beautiful cakes you need to surprise the judges. Therefore, I decided to go with a very distinct flavour of bergamotte,” Sofie Brandi says.
I had the pleasure of being in the press judging panel, and it was a true honor to taste to many amazing cakes by very skilled patissiers. You might think that I am biased by the fact that I work for Nimb but I can honestly say that none of us received any information about the cakes beforehand. Each cake had a number and nothing else so we had no chance to give preferencial to any of them. I remember Sofie’s cake being one of the last served and even after more than 45 cakes it stood out as a very distinct and perfectly balanced cake.
The base is a ring of shortcrust pastry filled with a crispy disk of earl grey merengue. The ring is filled with a fluffy chocolate and earl grey cremeux and topped with a milk chocolate disk lying in dots of chocolate and earl grey ganache. The hole in the middle is filled with a gel of earl grey tea and fresh bergamot juice and finally the beauty is finished with a thin bergamot merengue on top.
“The tricky thing is to make the cake taste of bergamot. The juice itself is not the most distinct part of the fruit so you need to add something extra. Therefore I used earl grey tea which is known for its significant flavour of bergamot zest. In combination with the bergamot juice you get a very fresh cake with clear flavour and taste of the product, which mas my main ambition,” Sofie Brandi explains.
Together with Torben Bang, Sofie Brandi is making beautiful cakes for the afternoon tea – hope to see you in the bar soon.
If you should only try one traditional Danish dish, it should be smørrebrød. Smørrebrød – an open-faced sandwich with a base of rye bread – is by far our best culinary invention if we set aside the new Nordic era, to which the smørrebrød chefs have actually contributed a lot.
To locals, smørrebrød is mostly seen as an elevated version of our usual lunch, which is based on rye bread with some sort of spreading, charcuteri or similar. It has much more to it than that. A good piece of smørrebrød is as good as every other dish that you can find.
There’s no doubt that the last decade in Danish gastronomy has been about the new Nordic cuisine. But alongside this great revolution Copenhagen has had the exclusive honor of being the hometown of the only Thai restaurant with a Michelin star in Europe since David Thompson’s Nahm in London lost its star in 2011.
The name of the restaurant is Kiin Kiin and the founder, Henrik Yde, has shown Danes as well as tourists that Thai food can keep up with the more “fine” cuisines around the world. Throughout the years he has been expanding his portfolio of Asian restaurants in Copenhagen and last year he opened three new restaurants; a restaurant serving the world-wide trendy steamed buns called bao, VeVe, a vegetarian fine dining restaurant and finally SEA by Kiin Kiin, which is supposed to me a more casual place still serving elegantly presented food in comfortable surroundings. The latter is the one I will try to give you a further introduction to right here.
Whereas in England, afternoon tea is a well known, common thing to do, Denmark has not had a tradition of going out for tea during the afternoon. Obviously we have something to drink and eat during the afternoon but it is not a ritual that we celebrate in any way.
At least until recently. To my opinion, Nimb Hotel has one of the most beautiful bars in the entire Copenhagen. The high ceilings, the enormous chandeliers, the beautiful wooden floors and the crackling fireplace are just a few reasons why the room is magical. Though decades and decades the room has facilitated extraordinary parties and other social events so it really comes with a long history.
In this lovely room, Nimb has introduced a delicious version of afternoon tea created by our very own pastry chef Torben Bang known as one of the best in Denmark. His lovely creations combined with the beautiful, calming settings guarantee you a couple of hours of pure enjoyment.
Despite being mostly known for his cakes, Torben Bang also knows how to handle the savory part of a meal. Hence the afternoon tea starts with a plate of cucumber sandwiches, croissants with a filling of creamy smoked salmon salad, crispy rye bread to top with duck rillettes as well as a fruit and nut bread with blue cheese. His background as a pastry chefs shines positively through. Everything is needly decorated and the textures and flavors are all balanced.
A serving of tea buns and “kringle” a speciel type of Danish, follows. A tea bun can quickly turn in to something boring as it easily dries out. But that does not happen in the hands of Torben Bang. It is moist with a deliciously spongy texture and topped with salted butter and blackcurrant marmelade it is a great thing to have with a cup of tea.
Mentioning the tea, this is obviously an important part of this concept. There is a wide selection of tea to choose from and it comes as a part of the menu – feel free to try out as many as you like. The teas are special blends and as with wine, you can pair different teas with each of the servings.
Back to the food. I mentioned the “kringle”, which is a braided type of puff pastry, in this case with marzipan, blueberries and chocolate. Kringle has to be flaky, buttery and not too sweet and this one is a perfect example. The classic comes with marzipan and raisins but I really like this version with blueberries and chocolate.
There is more! As a short intermezzo, a little cone filled with lemon ice cream and blueberry meringue is put on the table. The cold refreshments works as a nice refreshment before the delicious piece of mousse cake with a vanilla bottom, red grapefruit compote and a mousse made with Sweet France Tea. Again, the textures work perfectly together balancing and enhancing each other.
Just as you might think that the show is over, a trolley full of sweet treats is driven to the table. There are three kinds of macarons, a salt caramel filled chocolate, dark and white chocolate pralines just to mention a few. I especially recommend the chocolate with salt caramel as well as the licorice macaron – we Danes simply love licorice.
So how much will this lovely setup set you back? The answer is 295 DKK including all the tea you would like to have. Compared to going out for lunch or dinner you certainly get to try many different things throughout a couple of cosy hours in good company. I warmly recommend you to try it!
Read more about Nimb Afternoon Tea right here.
Culinary-wise, the world has so much to thank the French for; rich, complex sauces, buttery, flaky croissants and the most wonderful cheeses, just to mention a few things; the world would simply not be the same without French gastronomy. At Nimb Brasserie, they want to honor the French cuisine by being true to the the proud brasserie traditions. After a few years of flirting with a mix of French and Nordic cooking, the chefs have gone back to basics bringing in the all-time classics from the French brasseries. We are talking flambéed steak au poivre, crepe Suzette, steak tartare and a beautiful cheese trolley.