Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Relae - Copenhagen

We visited Relae on our final night of the trip, which also happened to be my 30th birthday. It was recommend to me by a few people when I asked on Twitter about the must go places in Copenhagen.

The restaurant was set up by two Noma alumni and is situated in the trendy Norrebro area of the city on Jaegersborggade.

As Relae is a Michelin Starred restaurant we thought we’d save this treat for my birthday. Relae is also ranked as the 39th best restaurant in the world and the world’s most sustainable restaurant. It’s this pursuit of sustainability that drives the food focus at Relae.

The chefs want to take a ‘no nonsense’ approach to their menu and offer simple dishes, with the best ingredients that offer the best flavours. This is also reflected in the d├ęcor and attitude of the staff. You don’t feel like you’re in a snooty Michelin Star restaurant but instead a more relaxed environment with clever details, such as the cutlery drawer and ‘interesting’ and unique (for a restaurant) art work. It’s fairly small in restaurant terms but this makes it feel much more intimate and it helps the staff keep their focus on you.

A piece of art work near the toilets. 

We had decided to order the tasting menu, a ten course menu which they term the ‘Relae Experience’. As it was a special occasion we took up their offer of a glass of bubbles each whilst we waited and looked over the wine menu.

The wine menu consists of all organic wines from around the world, we’d been in Mikkeller and Friends before we headed to the restaurant, where a fellow Northerner (England that is) was working and he had recommended we get the wine pairing. We looked at the price and was unsure, it was going to cost us another £200(ish) for both of us. We asked the waitress in no uncertain terms whether we’d end up totally sloshed if we ordered the wine pairing, we were advised not and we decided to go all out and indulge. Once in a life time and all that…

As with most restaurants we were served bread to start with a clotted cream (or organic olive oil as an alternative), a little unusual but it worked really well with the sourdough. D commented that it “had better be the best bloody bread I’ve ever tasted” making reference to how much we were paying for the meal… I think it met this standard.

On to the main dishes of the night.

Cabbage and cod roe

Cooked to a salty crisp with the best cod roe I’ve ever had, even D liked it (I didn’t explain what cod roe was to him until after he had eaten it). It was a great first entry in to the meal.

Cod and radishes

D’s reaction, “Oh my god. Is this fish? It doesn’t taste like fish!” A testament to the freshness of this dish.

Carrots and lemon thyme

D’s reaction, “oh wow, this is carrot? What did they do to this carrot?”

Mushroom, almond and sourdough

This was one of my favourite dishes, the mushroom was cooked in such a way that it resembled pasta and the almond offered it a creaminess that far outweighed that of double cream.

D’s thoughts, “What do we eat it with? I’m going to go with a knife, I have a lot of knives going spare.”

Squid and juniper broth

D’s reaction, “I just can’t get it out of my head that I’m eating a tentacle”. Wonderfully cooked, no chewiness and plenty of flavour without it being overly ‘fishy’.

Fresh water salmon, sour cream and biscuit.

D promptly dropped this one on the table, scattering salmon eggs everywhere.

Gothenborg duck and beets

The duck is aged for 10 days and mixed with beet and elderflower. Daniel tells the waitress that his mum loves ducks and that for every Christmas and Birthday he used to buy her a duck, not one you could eat. We both find the duck rather fatty and D mistakes the small accompanying bowl of mushrooms for bones.  

Fresh cheese, rhubarb and pine

A really refreshing dish, a perfect palate cleanser for the sweet dishes ahead.

Yoghurt and citrus

Daniel tries to cut the dish with his spoon thinking it is a biscuit base. It’s almost like someone has picked out the segments of an orange, managing not to burst them, and neatly arrange them on top of the yoghurt.

Baked sunchoke and milk

We were advised that sunchoke is a Jerusalam artichoke, this dish was of ice cream consistency but not quite as sweet, it was a perfect end to our meal.

The wine pairing was as follows, I couldn’t even begin to tell you when we received each glass, as despite the waitress saying this wouldn’t happen, we were sloshed by the end of the meal.

Champagne Brut Nature NV – Andre Beaufort, Ambonney

D’s thoughts, “I’ve never seen Champagne this dark before”. To which I responded, “How often do you drink Champagne? It is dark in here too”.

Quartz ’14 – Etienne Courtois, Soings en Sologne.

Le Boit Sans Soif ’14 – La Coulee d’Ambrosia, Anjou

The type of wine I would buy purely for the design on the bottle, I know very little about wine so if in doubt go for the most interesting label.

L’iris ’13 – J.P. Robinot, Jasnieres

I actually have a note on this one, where I describe it as an ‘Earthy wine’.

Apple (salted)

Rot Number 6 ’13 – Franz & Christina Strohmeier, Lestein

D mishears or forgets where Austria is causing the waitress to laugh when he starts talking about German wine. Perhaps a smaller glass should have been served to him at this point.

Sottobosco ’14 – Ca’ de Noci, Quattro Castella

Berretes ’14 – La Microbodega del Alumbro, Zamora

The only glass I wasn’t keen on throughout the meal was the non-alcoholic option, (not because it didn’t contain any alcohol) it was a salted apple concoction that I just couldn’t take to. It reminded me too much of gargling salt water when you have a mouth ulcer or sore throat.

The total cost of the meal came to 3,450 Danish Krone, I won't convert this in to Sterling, it's a lot. The most we've ever paid for a meal. 

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