Copenhagen & Stockholm trip report
- vanderb Oct 22, 2012 02:06 AM
Recently spent a week split between Copenhagen and Stockholm, here are reviews of places we ate:
Kicked things off with the best, lunch at Geranium after a late night arrival into Copenhagen the night before. Like others I tried to get a Noma reservation but failed and also could not get a dinner reservation at Geranium but thoroughly enjoyed lunch. 20 "courses", including amuses, with the wine pairing, but not the exclusive wine pairing.
I won't list the entire menu for the day but the highlights were: Burned Potato & sheep's milk butter; Dillstone & fermented vegetables; Iron & Minerals; Venison, red leaves and stems; and the Green egg & carrot leaf.
The burned potato was like the most exquisite campfire potato, beautifully soft and creamy inside with the skin of the potato perfectly and totally charred black. Dipping it in the butter added the lovely saltiness the potato needed. The Dillstones were almost as much about presentation as taste, a deep green, glossy dill jelly around a piece of smoked pork shaped to resemble pebbles and placed in a dish of black stones. Exceptional presentation and flavour, truly a highlight. Iron & Minerals was the "ode" to the seaside, when the dish was presented and the broth (can't think of a better term) poured over the dish all you could smell was the seaside, minerally, salty, slightly fishy (but in a good way). The taste was how you might imagine sea water could taste if you had such an accomplished chef composing it's construction. Very unique and a wonderful allround sensory experience. The "main" was Venison tartar, again beautifully presented inside a little package, seasoned very well but still allowing the full flavour of the venison to come through. Last but not least was the amuse served with coffee in the lounge, green egg and carrot leaf. This was a pine scented, flavoured chocolate/candy egg served with a leaf of dried sweet carrot. I thought a pine egg was odd at first, visions of Retsina dancing in my head, but the flavour with the chocolate and coffee was really outstanding.
So much creativity, a beautiful space overlooking the park (trees all changing colour), casual but professional service, wine pairings par excellence... it was incredibly expensive, but worth every penny and Krown. We were both very happy we chose it for our anniversary meal as it far exceeded all of our expectations.
We had heard that Nyhaven is a hopping area so we headed there to see what was on offer. The area was quite touristy but the restaurant (SkipperKroen) we chose ended up having a mix of Danes and tourists. There was nothing fabulous about dinner, but there was nothing terrible about it either. I had the salmon two ways to start and then the bouillabaisse. The salmon was good, nothing special and the bouillabaisse was pretty good but not enough broth or bread to go with it.
Lunch was at the Louisiana Gallery down the coast from Copenhagen. We opted for the buffet and sample several salmon, herring, roast potato, quiches, soup and salads. This was actually a pretty good deal, as recognized by the Danes at the museum who were piling their trays very high. The turn over on the buffet was very rapid and as a result everything was very fresh and tasted great... good option if you're going out to Louisiana.
The next dinner was at Wagamama (Tivoli), I've mentioned in other posts that we have very limited access to decent Asian food in our part of the Czech Republic so we always try to get some in when we visit larger cities. We didn't realize Wagamama was a chain but that also didn't impact our experience. We had two types of gyoza and some ramen. One gyoza was steamed and very good, nice flavour and texture, the others were "baked" or maybe deep fried and were too "bready" and not much like typical gyoza... these were ok but I wouldn't order them again. The ramen was excellent, great broth, nice sliced beef but not enough noodles for me. I really wanted a lot of noodles to satisfy my craving but didn't get them. We quite enjoyed Wagamama, service was attentive and friendly, we'd go again if we saw another location in another city.
Lunch the next day was a trip over to Aamann's Deli (Oster Farimagsgade 10) for some smorrebrod and oh my were they good. We tried a few different kinds including smoked salmon, roast beef, beef tartar and potato. Everything was perfect with these smorrebrod's and were the best of the trip. They were generously and elegantly piled with lots of very tasty accompaniments to the main ingredient. The roast beef in particular and an outstanding curry(ish) remoulade that really brought the whole sandwich together. I would absolutely return here if ever in Copenhagen again.
Dinner our last night was at another place outside the Tivoli but at the opposite end, Bryggeriet Apollo (Vesterbrogade 3). This place was jammed, tons of Danes and tons of tourists including a massive school group. The menu is limited but it was very appealing from a home-style/comfort food perspective. I had the beef short ribs with mashed potatoes, gravy and cow berries. These were outstanding, wonderfully tender ribs, the potatoes were beyond believe with the gravy... practically crack like in their addictive goodness. This place is also a brew house and their Oktoberfest special beer was excellent, not much ale in these parts so it was great to get such a nice micro brewed example in Copenhagen.
The hotel we stayed at is called CPH Living and is located on the water in a converted barge just off the Langebro bridge. The rate included breakfast so we took advantage to load up in the morning. It was very simple but still satisfying: fresh bread, cheeses, yogurt, juice, fruit, etc... Nothing special but given the expense of eating out in Copenhagen it was nice to fill up before heading out in the morning.
We also dropped in on Torvehallerne after our Geranium lunch the first day, it is a great food market, although horrendously expensive. We had a great time looking through everything then got a glass of wine and people watched for a while. Not as good people watching as the Naschmarkt in Vienna or Granville Island in Vancouver, but not bad. I recommend any Hounds visiting Copenhagen make the side trip to Torvehallerne.
Off to Stockholm on the SJ fast train, beautiful fall countryside rolling by at 200KM/h.
Our first dinner was a cheap and cheerful sushi joint just down from the main train station, nothing special but the fish was uber fresh, the gyoza tasty and the miso soup free! I can't remember the name but it was on Vasagatan near the intersection with Gamla Brogatan.
Lunch was at a CH recommended Wärdshuset Ulla Winbladh in the Djurgarden. This is old school Swedish food in a beautiful old building in the park, the clientele while we were there were also seriously old school. If you are looking for new, modern, hip this is not the place but if you're looking for good Swedish classics this place has it all. Started off with some gravlax, then moved on to Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, gravy and lingon berries. Outstanding meatballs, although my only comparison is Ikea brand :-), but the mashed potatos were not nearly as addictive as at Bryggeriet in Copenhagen. The restaurant had an outstanding art collection and the service was speedy and efficient. I would highly recommend Ulla Windbladh if you are on or near Djurgarden.
For dinner we picked an Italian place (Michelangelo's) on Gamla stan that was packed the previous night when we walked by. I know Gamla stan is touristy but we were tired after riding City Bikes around town all day so we really just fell into the first place that was busy. We started with Bruschetta mista, nothing special the anchovy one was very bland and uninventive but the artichoke heart one was good. I ordered the "fish soup", zero broth, over cooked scallops and fish but the mussels and prawns were excellent and not over cooked. The staff seemed to expect heavy tipping, which we didn’t oblige, and left us with a lot of disapproving looks from the staff on the way out.
The next day we hit Östermalmstorg late in the afternoon and sampled a few of the smorrebrod, one with just prawns the other gravlax and prawns. I didn't note the name of the place we stopped at but from a quick wander around everything was good in Östermalmstorg. This was a great market but seemed to cater more to the pre-made reheatable dinner crowd (nothing wrong with that as it all looked wonderful). If we had a place like this at home we'd likely live there, the fish counters were great, the butchers and cheese mongers all had us drooling. Good people watching too.
From here we wandered down to Hötorgshallen market, this one was definitely more of an everyday place to pick up fruit, vegetables and while we were there outstanding chanterelle mushrooms. In the indoor portion there were again great fish and ethnic food vendors. We decided to eat in the hotel that night so picked up some fresh made green salads with a huge mound of shrimps on top, added in a nice goat’s cheese and some buns from the bakery. A great in room dinner at a very low price.
Last up was CH recommended Melanders Fisk in the Solldermalm, we didn't realize it was located in the Söderhallarna food market which was closed when we arrived so we couldn't poke around. Melanders was excellent, had 6 very fresh oysters (no horseradish though) followed by the best fish and chips I've had in a very very long time. Just a hint of batter on very fresh pieces of beautifully fried fish, the chips could have been better to stand up to the fish but they were just ok. There appeared to be a Melanders at all the food markets we went to but this was the only one open for dinner after the markets closed.
Great trip, excellent food experiences and an overheated credit card that needs to cool off in the wonderfully cheap Czech Republic.