Kokkeriet – well worth the money

On our last night in Copenhagen we had reserved a table at a one Michelin star restaurant called Kokkeriet. Kokkeriet describes itself as modern and old-fashioned, innovative and traditional, decadent and minimalist, formal as well as down to earth. The restaurant puts out dishes that lean on Danish tradition and grandma’s recipes but does so with a twist and a modern approach. The head chef Morten Krogholm describes his inspiration and philosophy: “For me, food is one of the most beautiful things in the world — it speaks for itself entirely. My style is based on four elements: nature – simplicity – flavor – Danish. In my gastronomic interpretation, Danish is when I’m able to create something that my guests do not immediately recognize, but which can suddenly take them back to childhood memories and experiences with a single special or recognizable scent or dish – although fragmented and assembled anew”.

Exterior image from thefork.com

Kokkeriet is a relatively small restaurant locate in Nyboder’s charming neighborhood in one of Copenhagen’s beautiful, old buildings. The restaurant received a Michelin star in 2006 but lost it in 2007 and managed to regain it in 2009. The Michelin inspectors’ comments on Kokkeriet in the 2019 Michelin guide: “The kitchen takes Danish classics and adds its own modern interpretation; dishes are fresh and colourful and all have their own story. The focus is on the tasting menu; veggies and vegans are well looked after. This very welcoming restaurant, once a corner shop, is intimate and contemporary.”

Interior image from thefork.com

Visiting a Michelin starred restaurants has been a dream of mine for years and now it was finally time to realize that dream. Kokkeriet that offers separate tasting menus for carnivores, pescetarians, vegetarians and vegans seemed like the perfect option. You can choose a shorter (8 course) or longer (12 course) menu which both begin with an amuse bouche. There is an option of a wine or juice pairing with the menus. We decided to try the 8 course pescatarian menu with the wine pairing. But before you even get to see the menu and order you are served 5 snacks to give you an idea of the food the restaurant serves. After the snacks you are presented with the menu from which you can chose either individual dishes or one of the tasting menus.

The first snack is served: egg – pearl onion – ash
Potato – anchovie – roe
Smoked bread – cream cheese – leek The bread rested on smoking pieces of wood
This one was challenging: octopus – lemon – chervil, as I don’t like octopus
The last snack rye bread – chocolate – pistachio was also called beer porridge
The amuse bouche lumpfish roe – buckwheat – cress
The bread basket was absolutely adorable
On to the actual menu, first starter scallop – cabbage – pear
Pike perch – blueberry – licorice Hubby wasn’t too conviced of pairing blueberries with fish but I liked it
Last starter halibut – caviar – thyme
Beetroot – cherry – tarragon Not my favorite as I’m not a big fan on beetroot and his had loads but it didi work well as sort of a palate cleanser before the mains
On to the mains turbot – ramson – celery
Cod – parsley – onion
The actual palate cleanser before the dessert pine – pear – yuzu
And finally, the dessert apple – sunflower – chamomile

The whole dining experience was excellent: the food, the ambiance, the wine pairings, the service… I could not fault anything. It was also a joy to watch the restaurant staff do their job, everything worked like a well-oiled machine. The only time we had to ask for something (more water when we had basically finished eating) the waiter seemed mortified that we had to ask. There were several small touches that I am sure have contributed to getting a star. When you asked for the restrooms you were taken there not just told where they were. One time I went to the restroom and left my napkin on the table it was changed as it had gotten slightly dirty when using it. The check was hand written and with it you got small individually packed handmade confections and a copy of the menu including the wines. As you were ready to leave, the entire staff that had served you came to bid you farewell. Naturally this was not the cheapest dining experience but well worth the money. Now I cannot wait to test out some other Michelin restaurants.

Canal cruise and Tivoli Gardens

On Monday we had breakfast at the hotel and the headed to Ved Stranden to buy tickets for a canal cruise. As the boat that was about to take off was a covered boat I asked the person at the ticket booth when the next open boat would leave which was in around 30 minutes, so we had a coffee at a nearby Espresso House and boarded the boat at 11 am. There was a little bar at the dock where you could purchase refreshments to take onboard (soft drinks, water, beer, etc.) but we opted not to. The cruise was equipped with an audio guide in several languages but there was also a live guide on board who provided us with some additional/alternative information. The tour lasted one hour and was a great way to see the city from the water.

Ready to set off on the cruise
The Little Mermaid statue attracts loads of tourists
Many interesting abodes can be seen on the shores of Christiania
There is a copy of the statue of David outside
Den Kongelige Afstøbningssamling
Church of our Saviour whose serpentine spire was inaugurated in 1752.
The Marble Church and Amalienborg
The Black Diamond is an extension to the Royal Danish Library on Slotsholmen.

Once we returned to Ved Stranden we decided to walk to Torvehallerne for a spot of lunch. We chose to share a margherita pizza with tomato, buffallo mozzarella, cherry tomato, basil oil and fresh basil at Gorm’s Pizza. The pizza was tasty but could have used a bit more spice. We also had ice cream at Is à Bella. We shared two scoops in a cup, pistachio and lime and they were super delicious. We also stopped by Exotic Mix that sells various nuts, seeds and dried fruits, and bought a couple of bags of nuts to take home.

Pizza for lunch
Is á Bella’s selection

After lunch we hopped on the metro and headed out to explore Nørrebro. We strolled around, stopped for some refreshments and slowly made our way back to the hotel. In the evening we went to explore Tivoli Gardens. We decided to buy only entrance tickets without any ride access. The area is really nice with lovely buildings, beautiful flower installations, fountains, thrilling rides and some 40 places to eat. We ended up having dinner at Italia – La Vecchia Signora. I had a La Caprese salad to start and hubby tried the Carpaccio, both were delicious. We opted for the same main: Ravioli ai Funghi al Burro e Salvia (mushroom filled ravioli with a butter and sage sauce), delizioso! When we were finished eating the sun had set and we got to enjoy Tivoli at its best, all lit up with various light installations.

Tivoli houses some peafowls
Inside Tivoli Gardens
A snack to tie us over to dinner
Waterfront restaurants at Tivoli
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli entrance

In the next post we will visit Nyhavn and the Marble Church.

Nothing was rotten in the state of Denmark

I had some vacation days that I had to use before the end of April and as hubby had enough frequent flyer points to get us two return flights within the Nordic countries we decided to take a short vacation in Copenhagen, Denmark.

We arrived early on Sunday morning, took the train into town, dropped off our bags at the hotel (The Square/) and headed out to explore the surroundings. We decided to walk to Rundetaarn or the Round Tower. The tower was inaugurated in 1642 making it the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. It is most noted for its equestrian staircase, a 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the platform at the top at 34.8 meters above ground, and for the expansive views which it affords over Copenhagen. By the time we got back to street level we were hungry so we decided to go get something to eat. A place I wanted to visit called Paludan Bogcafé was a couple a blocks away so that’s where we headed for brunch. Paludan combines the traditional bookstore with a functioning eatery and it was a really cool place, plus the food was good.

Inside Rundetaarn
My delicious goat cheese sandwich for brunch
Hubby’s ham and mushroom omelet
Inside Paludan Bogcafé

Next we wandered around for a couple of hours and stopped for a beer at The Taphouse. The place offers 61 beers on tap and the selection may actually change during the day. After enjoying our beers it was time to head to the gathering point for a walking tour we had pre-booked with Viator. It was a 2.5 hour guided food tour during which we would visit five different food/drink stops and learn about food history and culture from our guide. We were a group of 10 people plus the guide. The tour started with a traditional Danish hotdog in Rådhuspladsen or City Hall Square. The Danish hotdog is served with apple ketchup, mustard, remoulade, chopped onions, fried onions, and crisp, sweet pickles. The sausage or pølse is distinguished by a very bright red color and called Røde Pølse (red sausage). I really enjoyed the hotdog. Then we actually went to The Taphouse that we had visited just before the tour and had a little beer tasting of two beers and tried to guess which of the 61 beers we were tasting.

The city hall
Rådhuspladsen
The Danish hotdog
Our merry tour group at The Taphouse

Next we walked to a restaurant called Godtfolk where we were served smørrebrød and some more beer. Smørrebrød is an open-faced sandwich that usually consists of a piece of buttered rye bread (rugbrød), a dense, dark brown bread, topped with commercial or homemade cold cuts, pieces of meat or fish, cheese or spreads, and garnishes. The smørrebrød we were served was a shrimp and egg one and it was super delicious. Our next and final stop of the tour was Torvehallerne. The history of TorvehallerneKBH dates back to 1889, when Grønttorvet (greens market) was established at Israels Plads. Grønttorvet closed in 1958, and only in 2011 when Torvehallerne opened did Copenhagen again have a fixed marketplace in the middle of the city. Torvehallerne is a marketplace that offers Danish delicacies, local vegetables, fresh fish and meat, chocolates, baked goods, pizza, etc. Torvehallerne consists of more than 80 shops located in two buildings and an outdoor stall area in between the buildings. We had a look around the “savory” building and then got to taste the local fishcake with some remoulade sauce, which was quite nice. To finish off we strolled through the “sweets” building and ended with a small dessert, flødebolle, which is a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat with a marzipan biscuit base. This was not to my liking as I do not like marzipan. All in all, the food tour was a great experience and good value for money.

Shrimp & egg smørrebrød
Flower stall at Torvehallerne
Produce stand

After the tour finished we made our way back to the hotel and got our room. We unpacked and took it easy for a couple of hours. As the food tour was quite substantial we did not need a big dinner so we headed around the corner from the hotel and ended up at a place called Rosie McGee’s and had some pub grub. The food was nothing to write home about and the place in itself was quite an experience.

Second post on Copenhagen will include, e.g. a canal cruise and a visit to Tivoli Gardens.