Impressive performance by the new head chef at Studio

There a certainly job positions that are harder to succeed than others. I believe Damian Quintana will agree. A couple of months ago, he was announced as the new head chef at the one Michelin-starred restaurant Studio in Copenhagen. He was about to take over from Torsten Vildgaard, a living legend within the new Nordic cuisine. Torsten Vildgaard worked as the creative head chef at Noma for five years before he decided to go solo and open Studio in October 2013. Studio received a Michelin star already four months later and it has been maintained ever since.

Studio is located the The Standard along the waterside.

Therefore, it was quite a surprise when Vildgaard announced that he was leaving Studio to become a member of the Noma team once again. Who was about to take over as head chef at a restaurants that was even part-owned by Vildgaard himself?

Damian Quintana was the answer. The Chilean chef has worked for Torsten at Studio as well as other top establishments in Copenhagen but never as a head chef – could he handle the job? I needed to find out so I visited Studio in November.

Top service and comfort
The decor looks the same. The decor is still Nordic, yet warm, the tableware is still build around the beautiful plates and bowls made by K. H. Würtz ceramics and the service is still impeccable. It is run by Morten Magh, who to our joy has returned to Copenhagen after a couple of years in New York at Wine Director at the two Michelin-starred Atera. To my opinion, Morten Magh’s service is perfectly balanced between formal knowledge about the food and wine and a more informal, relaxed way of handling his guests. This combination makes you feel safe and relaxed from the very beginning.

Churros cooked in smoked bone marrow and filled with gruyere and topped with a mushroom puree and black truffle.

The menu (DKK 1,300) is consisting of a good handful of delicious, very precise appetizers and seven bigger courses and I’ll go straight to the conclusion: There was no low at any point of the meal – it just kept getting better and better, and I can easily say that the dinner at Studio went straight to my top five in 2017. I’ve eaten at one Michelin-starred restaurants that are not even close to the performance I experienced at Studio and if the inspectors have been doing their work properly, a second star should be within reach.

Damian Quintana has managed to create his own expression at Studio without loosing its original Nordic DNA. The flavors are still light, elegant and based on local produce but at the same time, Quintana is adding a bit of his South American heritage to the plate. The scallop dish was a perfect example. The large, hand-dived scallops from Norway were served raw with onion in a ceviche inspired version with a marinade of white currants, elderflowers, lemon grass and ginger giving the exotic twist; So fresh, sharp and elegant.

Scallop ceviche – devine!

Another one was the grilled duck heart served with a chumichurri of local herbs or the grilled Limfjord Oyster with potato and mussel sauce. Everything was thought through and made to perfection.

Grilled duck heart with chimichurri.

The very last dish, wasn’t very South American but indeed both challenging at utterly delicious. It consisted of porcini cream, porcini praline, porcini oil, spruce, roasted almond ice cream and 12 year old apple balsamico – wauw! The mushroom flavors certainly confused the brain at first but as we digged more into it, it just got better and better.

All in all, Studio is a very solid one-starred restaurant leaning very much towards two, and if you go to Copenhagen to do fine dining, do not miss this beautiful restaurant along the waterside of Copenhagen.

Studio
Havnegade 44
1058 København K

Marchal – the perfect spot for a fine dining lunch

marchal

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.

marchal

Welcome to Marchal, a one Michelin star restaurant situated at Hotel d’Angleterre.

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.

marchal

Hand dived scallops from Norway – a world class produkt serves in a great way.

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.

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I missed some of the pigeon’s gamey taste which disappears when you cook it too much.

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.

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The gold bar is a masterpiece. After having eaten one I was almost about to order another one.

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.