The days when dining at Copenhagen’s best restaurants was reserved for the elite appear to be numbered. Exclusivity and expense are out, as 2012 sets a much-welcomed trend towards more affordable gourmet cuisine and refined but informal eateries offering set menus at down-to-earth prices.
Copenhagen’s new stars have been awarded to spots where a three-course dinner for two can be had for under DKK 1,000, not including wine. They‘re hardly backpacker prices, but such rates would have been unthinkable just two short years ago.
In the capable hands of Anita Klemensen from 1 th and Lars Thomsen from Dragsholm Slot, this country inn opened as a gourmet restaurant in May 2010, specializing in contemporary Scandinavian cooking in an idyllic, rustic setting. In a woodland orchard in Klampenborg, on the coastal road north of Copenhagen, the experienced gastronomic team in the pretty red house serve up three, five and seven course menus for DKK 450, 550 and 650 respectively.
Grønbech & Churchill
After jotting up an impressive resume in restaurants like Kong Hans Kælder, Krogs and Château Eza on the French Riviera, Rasmus Grønbech opened his own restaurant across from the attractive Churchill Park on the stately Esplanaden boulevard, one of Copenhagen’s most upscale and romantic neighborhoods, in March 2011. Despite this, his clean and contrasting, simply Scandinavian four-course menus, the feminine ‘flora and fauna’ and the more masculine ‘strong and juicy’, are offered for DKK 500.
Ten short years ago, most visitors to Nørrebro’s tough street Jægersborggade were out to score more than good food. Former souschef at noma, Christian S. Pugsili heads up the healthy, seasonal and predominantly vegetarian kitchen of no-frills gourmet restaurant Relæ, where the key to gastronomic perfection appears to be simplicity. Rather like its owner Pugsili, Relæ combines Danish and Sicilian influences. The set menu (vegetarian or meaty) will cost you DKK 355.
The final newcomer to the new Michelin Guide, announced last week, came as no surprise: Geranium, led by Bocuse d’Or winner Rasmus Kofoed, was one of last year’s front-runners for an award.
Tivoli’s Michelin reign looks uncertain. Thomas Herman has already announced his departure from Restaurant Herman in Nimb and The Paul closed at the end of 2011’s summer season.
There were no other changes: Top restaurant noma failed to get a third star but held on to its two, continuing to be the only restaurant in Denmark with more than one Michelin star.
Image courtesy of The Red Cottage.