I only had time for one really nice meal in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen was the starting point of our week long cruise with Royal Caribbean exploring the fjords of Norway. We had chosen to fly into the city a couple days early to explore the city. The first night we enjoyed a fantastic simple and traditional Danish meal at Restaurant Karla. The next night, I chose to visit Relæ, a Michelin-starred restaurant from El Bulli and Noma trained chef Christian Puglisi.
I was drawn to Relæ for several reasons. One, it clearly has excellent food. The restaurant boasts one Michelin star and is ranked number 39 on S. Pellegrino's Top 50 restaurants list. My food-loving coworker from Denmark highly recommended it. More importantly (for me, at least), the restaurant focuses on sustainability and offers "no-nonsense" creative food at reasonable prices.
I love their philosophy, "Relæ works on focused and tasty food, no muss, no fuss."
"Simplicity with quality comes first, great details are just beneath."
The restaurant did not disappoint. I LOVED my meal there. The food was fresh, creatively, and outstanding. Service was great, and we loved the warm and approachable feel of the place. Here's a look at our meal!
In classic Noma-esque style, we found our utensils, menu, and napkin conveniently tucked away in a hidden drawer right in front of us. The menu consists of a few different types of tasting menus - a five course "Relæ Menu" for 475 kr (about $75 USD) or a ten-course "Relæ experience" for 895 kr ($135 USD). We decided to splurge for the Relæ experience because we wanted to treat Bryan's parents to a really nice meal (plus the food looked interesting and we were on vacation!).
Our first tiny bite consisted of a few leaves of baby Romaine lettuce, dill, and dressing. The dressing and dill were on each leaf, giving each bite the perfect balance of dressing and herbs.
Next came a slice of sourdough bread, which was served with an excellent peppery olive oil from Sicily.
Our next course was cucumber "noodles" tossed in almond cream, fresh almonds, and two different types of basil. We enjoyed this course with a white burgundy.
The next course was Danish trout, sorrel and onions marinated and fermented in gooseberry juice. The fish was tart, like ceviche, and really tasty. The overall dish paired really well with the wine, a Sauvignon blanc from the Loire valley. After we finished the trout, we enjoyed a lovely onion broth topped with pine oil. It was fantastic! Super intense and really flavorful.
The next course consisted of aubergine (eggplant) with a caramelized cream sauce topped with summer truffles from Piedmont. This dish paired really well with a Chenin blanc from the Loire Valley. We learned that the winemaker does not top up the wine after it is aged in old barrels. The resultant wine has a more "oxidized" flavor which pairs well with the earthiness of the truffles.
The smell of the truffles was intoxicating!
Have you ever had baby corn NOT from a can? We enjoyed a fresh, tiny cob of baby corn cooked "en papillote" (by paper) with brown butter, tarragon, oregano, and thyme at 95 degrees for about one hour. It was tender, sweet, and delicious. We enjoyed it paired with a slightly carbonated chardonnay from central France.
For our final savory course, we enjoyed local Danish lamb from Western Denmark, where they graze near the ocean on seaweed. This lamb came with sea beans, leaves from the restaurant's garden, and jus from lamb bones. There was also fava beans cooked in lamb fat and berries. We enjoyed this course with a juicy Beaujolais from Burgundy which was served slightly chilled.
For our first dessert, we had a whey ice cream topped with black currants. I loved it.
The whey ice cream was a bit nutty and there was a nice mix of flavors from the chewy fried currants and the fresh juicy currants.
I absolutely loved this next "cheese course", a Swiss cow's milk cheese and buckwheat tart. The tart had a foam-like cheese on the bottom and a lovely mound of fluffy shaved cheese on top.
This was paired with a dry but fruity wine from Southern Austria from an American winemaker currently living in Copenhagen.
Finally, we had a lovely lemon curd yogurt ice cream served with chervil powder on top. I absolutely loved the "grassy" herbs, which cuts sweetness of the ice cream. All in all, it was very nice, not too sweet at all, and extremely refreshing. This was paired with a Chenin blanc from the Loire valley.
We ended with a small bite of honey butter malted buckwheat crispies (so good!!).
We enjoyed the crispies with French press coffee from Rwanda.
General Thoughts - Relæ Copenhagen (Relae Copenhagen)
I absolutely loved our meal at Relæ and would highly recommend dining here. I really enjoyed the focus on local ingredients, fresh produce, and creative flavors. The dishes were light and healthy, yet packed full of flavors from the natural ingredients.
All in all, the food was excellent, the staff was great, and our family had a really great time. I would not hesitate to return.
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