Copenhagen definitely wins my heart as one of the best places to dine out (especially taking into account the relatively small number of people living there.) So before leaving Copenhagen I thought it’d be a great opportunity to visit yet another one of the many Michelin-starred places in Copenhagen, Restaurant Paustian v Bo Bech. Located much further north than I’d ever been before, this restaurant is found near the harbour in a strangely industrial-looking area yet perfectly charming on the warm sunny summer evening we went. The best way to get here is definitely by taxi and it cost something like DKK90 to get there from near Tivoli or the main central station in Copenhagen.
Service was very nice with a very warm welcome as we entered the building with lots of smiles. We were invited to have an apertif, choosing to go with their house recommendation of champagne mixed with freshly pressed apple juice, perfect for the summery feel. They even brought a little stool to place my camera on so that I didn’t have to hang it over my chair or leave it on the floor.
Before getting into the real meal, they brought out a selection of appetisers, the first being described as Mini cucumbers marinated with lime. Perfectly bite sized I was amazed by how strong the cucumber taste cut through the zesty lime flavour. It looked elegant atop what almost looked like a glass petri dish.
Here’s a picture of the very elegant ring surrounding our table napkin. Weirdly enough whenever someone left the table, they never bothered to re-fold the napkin, instead choosing to take it away and replace it with a newly folded one served with silver tongs and off a silver platter. A little bit wasteful but a nice touch for service nevertheless.
Here’s the second part of our appetisers, fried onion rings topped with a salty paste, a perfect compliment for the sweet onion ring. We think that it was some sort of onion reduction but whatever it was, I found it extremely tasty.
This brightly coloured dish was Carrot with passionfruit and flowers picked from the garden. The carrot was gently cooked, still retaining some of its crunchiness with the other flowers enhancing the sweetness in slightly different ways.
Intentionally served without a spoon (encouraged to eat it how we’d like), the next dish was a mushroom soup. Even without picking up the dish, you could smell the strong earthy tones from the strong flavours contained in the broth. Perfectly seasoned and fun to drink!
Our next dish was Steamed Celeriac on a truffle reduction, a perfect follow on from the previous dish. The strong flavours of the truffle carrying on where the mushroom picked up but with the contrast of the celeriac bringing fresher and sharper contrast to the meal.
Five appetisers was a great start to the meal, with the next dishes to follow part of the Alchemist Menu, or as described on the menu, “Surprise menu – Forward mindset with respect for the classic kitchen”. In the meantime the waiters brought out three different types of bread to nibble on with two different types of butter (organic Danish butter, and a deliciously nutty Beurre Noisette).
The bread was certainly spectacular and had a lot of flair. As you can see from the picture above, the malt crisp bread was a hollowed out crisp bread that provided the lighter contrast to the other two breads – one a sourdough bread made from the Bo Bech Bakery, and the other a licorice-topped buttermilk roll. Strange certainly but it’s obviously a favourite flavour for many Scandinavians.
The first dish in the surprise menu arrived, named Danish oysters, oyster cabbage, pumpkin puree, mustard powder, fried vegetables (cauliflower, corn). Visually it seemed like there were many different things going on although what surprised me was the mellowness of the mustard powder (the white stuff) when eaten with the other ingredients on the plate.
Next to arrive was the Flaked atlantic cod with a tomato reduction, a hearty serve of fish perfectly cooked and the tomato strong yet not overpowering the delicate fish flavour. A great pairing of the two different flavours as one could easily have outweighed the other given different choices of species or methods of preparation.
The next dish, Poached Pouisson with heated egg yolk, ash, herbs (mint, sage), new potatoes also had a lot going for it but was certainly spectacular. I found it interesting how the combination of different herbs provided so many different flavours in surprising combinations. It could have been disastrous with one not quite properly mixing with another one yet was perfectly balanced so you never ended up with too many herbs in the mouth at the same time. Once again, a perfectly cooked egg yolk (firm whites and soft runny yolk) added a level of decadence to this dish that really helped boost it beyond just a plain and simple dish.
Yet another round of meat ensued with Pigs cheeks with fried onion, mustard oil . Out of all the meat dishes I think I really enjoyed this dish the most despite a comment from someone else at the table about the cheeks having an intensely strong flavour. I think the mustard provided that contrast needed from the pork being overwhelming and I found it delightful to have such small portions have so much impact.
Okay, so the cheese wasn’t officially on the menu (it was an additional cost) yet it was intriguing as they had the two cheese rounds sitting in the middle of the dining room where they would shave it live for everyone. The concept behind this was to have two cheeses from the same region, made from the same milk, and to enhance the comparison by experiencing the results of different preparation methods. One cheese was aged up to 36 months, the other only around 18 months yet both still weighing approximately the same. This was served with a light bread made with rye and a splash of sugar beet syrup on the side.
The first of the desserts arrived after the cheese, the first being a Milk crust ice cream, oxidised rye bread and ale, and a light creamy centre . It was a really delicate dish and a very nice way to start desserts.
The final dish was spectacular being described as Raspberries with raspberries. As you can see, it arrived with a scoop of raspberry sorbet sitting atop what looks like a puff of snow moulded into a circular bed.
It wasn’t until they poured the raspberry soup did the ice melt away to unveil a bed of other raspberries that the scoop of sorbet fell perfectly into the middle of the bed.
Our final dish for the evening, and a strangely rich yet very light dessert was unripe raspberries, burnt butter foam with a buttermilk sorbet. You can’t really see the raspberries as they were nested in the foam but they did add a needed freshness to the dish.
Restaurant Paustian certainly deserves its Michelin star and I highly recommend watching their “Alchemist” video on their website to understand what some of the experience is like.