Travel Post: Denmark Episode 2: Fine Dining, Scandinavia’s Art of Cuisine Is Best Represented In Copenhagen

Restaurant Sletten                     The best restaurant in our trip to Denmark, in my opinion, is Restaurant Sletten, which lies next to a beautiful marina with many boats waiting for Summer to comeIt is a house-like restaurant located in a quaint harbour-side town called Humlebæk, which reminds me of The Hamptons or Cape Cod in the US.  We were on our way to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and happened to learn of this restaurant in the vicinity.             A travel package at the train station in Copenhagen includes a return train ticket as well as entrance to the museum, something to consider while trying to save money on transportation while travelling and eating in Denmark.        We were hit with the gifts of the sea right as our menus opened. The oysters on the half shell presented in 3 ways with different mignonettes provided a platform for the chef to play with colors. The dish looks as if it was a painting and the plate like a canvas for the artists to display their food.           The best dish of this trip was their steak tartare. It was simply something I could not forget! Imagine the best cuts of steak shielded under a floral display of micro-herbs and pickled root vegetables and sweet and sour pearl onions. Then a tarragon snow storm hit the horizon and landed on top of the fauna to provide protection with a sprinkle of the most perfect croutons imaginable.  I know what you are thinking, but I truly had an euphoric moment of surprise and enlightenment when I dug into this dish, which opened up all my senses and nothing around me mattered! I urge everyone in Denmark to journey here for this experience. 
   The mains were also innovative with great flavor, texture and presentation. One honorable mention was their cod and langoustine mousseline with was a unique way of cooking fish and langoustines together in one formed shape. Also the sweet breads with tapioca and charred onions. 
Den Gule Cottage                    There are 2 quaint little colorful cottages along the seaside area of Klampenborg, Denmark and we ended up at Den Gule Cottage or The Yellow Cottage for a long lunch on a peachy day. In a perfect life, I’d stop by their affiliated Restaurant Den Røde Cottage or The Red Cottage, which is conveniently further down the meadow to sample the dinner fair, but that calls for another trip that I cannot currently afford :O Judging from the exterior, you’d think there are not many seats in this little cottage, but the space is used quite well after an observation inside.                  I chose a snack to start my meal with a chilled glass of Spanish Cava to loosen my appetite after the journey. The decor is minimal but the cottage really gives off a countryside atmosphere that cannot be replicated in the bustling city. I really enjoyed the greenery all around this cottage.             Of all the restaurants on this trip, I think the bread at Den Gule Cottage was the most memorable. I loved how there were 2 different kinds of homemade bread and one was made from Danish Beer and even the butter was dress with pumpkin seeds and sea salt. Another memorable moment was how the chef de cuisine finished the main course with a tableside sauce while explaining how he hand picked these beautiful edible weeds from the garden this morning and pointed them out on my sweet breads. 

These dishes were presented with care and I especially loved the cod fish filet with rugbrød crisps, apples and roasted cauliflower. The apples were a great pairing to this dish along with how this fish was perfectly flaky and broke apart with ease on my fork! The dessert reminded me of a yogurt-granola mix with some stewed plums I would possibly make at home fro breakfast but the petit fours were exquisitely paired with a perfect cup of double expresso!   Restaurant Relæ            When one fails at getting a reservation at NOMA more than 3 months prior to our arrival, one becomes desperate and search for the next best thing in town! Even being demoted to second place in the World, NOMA still has the Scandinavians and the rest of the world intrigued. As for the next best thing, it’s either a hit or a miss. Restaurant Relae was our first choice after NOMA, which taught us to never trust online reviews.          Chef Puglisi had been a sous-chef at NOMA as well as El Bulli in the past, as well as the honored Michelin Starred man on the block that they deem a capable chef in Copenhagen under 30, clearly stated in his book that was laid out on our table. Overall, the dishes were too technical for my taste, the cooking skills were formidable but if I had a choice, I’d choose to taste the real textures and flavors of food instead of overworked dishes with no nutrients left to offer.         The sourdough bread course was ultimately the best of the lot and show a ton of care on its execution. A remarkable dish was the celeriac pasta that utilized thin celeriac slices, first dried then rehydrated to create a distinct chewy texture. It mimicked a very large piece of pasta made al dente and was finished off with Hagvus, a Danish cheese and a sprinkle of coffee grinds.             As far as other dishes go, the mushroom medley had great texture and flavor and it was paired with raw sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes), walnuts and all julienned quite finely served on a cold plate. Even though it was small, I was quite blown away by the mushroom sauce that blended everything together.        A signature dish was the long-baked potato purée, finished with bread crumbs, dried citrus fruits and a caramelized butter. The dish smell like cracker jacks! This dish apparently had been on the menu since the beginning and was also printed in the cookbook. I do much appreciate the time it took to bake this potato, but on the other hand, there are many other things they could have done with potatoes, citrus fruits and bread to make this a far more interesting plate rather than have much of it stuck to my teeth.      The main course was a slow poached chicken over parsnip puree and shaved raw parsnips on top then finished with white sesame seeds. While everything was a bit bland and the raw parsnips was bitter. The chicken was the only thing that redeemed it being perfectly cooked and seasoned. The pairing could have been more crowd pleasing if the parsnips were possibly blanched and the sesame seeds possibly toasted.               We were offered 2 desserts, of which I enjoyed the first one more so than the second. It was a lemon curd frozen yogurt with egg yolk and a shaving of sweet dehydrated egg yolks on top. The almond cookie in the middle gave a good crunchy texture to pair with the custard.  A bit too sweet but overall, I loved the concept.     There are so many more trips to come and so many more foods to experience. It’s a hard life being “A Dietitian On Vacation”! Stay tuned for posts on Holland:)

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