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Relae (Relæ) Restaurant – Copenhagen, Denmark

September 30th, 2010 · No Comments

This is a new restaurant, and it’s fabulous.
Relae (Relæ) Restaurant - Copenhagen, Denmark Relae (Relæ) Restaurant - Copenhagen, Denmark
Just opened in August of 2010 (I’m writing this in September), Relae is staffed by some ex-members of the kitchen of Noma, the restaurant in Copenhagen that was recently voted the #1 restaurant in the world, and is taking the media by storm. More than one good thing has come out of Noma’s kitchen and front room, and Christian Puglisi and Kim Rossen – the two gentlemen who have started Relae – are definitely two of Noma’s best products (not to understate their extensive experience elsewhere in the gastronomic universe).
Relae (Relæ) Restaurant - Copenhagen, Denmark Relae (Relæ) Restaurant - Copenhagen, Denmark
We wanted to dine some place that was casual, yet was all about the food, and we found it at Relae. I have often mentioned before that some kitchens just ‘get it’ – i.e. they understand what goes into the flavour of an ingredient (say, an onion), and they prepare that one ingredient with such care to bring out the flavours, and create a dish around this ingredient. This is what the staff at Relae has done – our meal started with very lightly pickeled mackerel, probably the highlight of the meal for both us – almost raw, but with a delicate taste of vinegar, served on lemon puree, and with delicate shavings of cauliflower. The dish was perfect. I could have gone home after this one dish and the meal would have been a great meal. But there was more to come.

Relae (Relæ) Restaurant - Copenhagen, Denmark
Next – an onion that had been gently caramelized, then poached with elderberries – and served with tapioca, onion puree, and sorrel leaves. That anyone can take a vegetable like an onion – mostly water – and prepare it so that you can eat half an onion as a distinct course – and enjoy it – shows that this is spectacular cuisine indeed. This is a team that ‘gets it’, indeed.

Relae (Relæ) Restaurant - Copenhagen, Denmark
The main course was poached chicken (I know, it sounds underwhelming) – I imagine that ‘poached’ translates into ‘sous vide’, as this was the most tender chicken imaginable, and was likely just on the safe side of medium rare. It was served with the most perfect, delicate, sweet baby corn that was sliced – the picture doesn’t do the dish justice. The corn could have been served by itself, again as a separate dish, it was so good.

Relae (Relæ) Restaurant - Copenhagen, Denmark
Finally – dessert. Like our previous meal at Le Chateaubriand and La Gazzetta, dessert wasn’t just a sugar-bomb – instead, it is such a new experience (for me, anyway), that until tonight, I was having trouble wrapping my head around it. I usually think of dessert as something sweet – sometimes to punctuate a meal, to finish it off, to signal to your stomach and brain that the meal is over. But dessert to these new restaurants isn’t that – instead, it is a course that ends the meal – likely with some fresh fruit involved, and perhaps something cold, but no other rules apply – the team in the kitchen is going to bring out and mix the flavours of these ingredients however they think they should be – not just with sugar and chocolate. Tonight’s dessert was some vanilla ice cream (I think), coated in toasted rapeseed, served with fresh raspberries, on a raspberry puree, and with some kind of powder – the menu said ‘vinegar’ – but vinegar powder? I’m not sure. In any case – it was one of these rare, new desserts that ends the meal, and is a conversation starter, and is indeed tasty – but doesn’t fit into the conventional description of dessert.

I won’t go on. Service was perfect; we were never rushed. I ordered the wine pairing, and while often the wine pairing is just a selection of wines that don’t cause great offence when consumed with the food, instead, this wine pairing – all four glasses, perfectly accompanied the dishes, and the food brought out flavours in the wine and vice versa. What more could I ask?

Inside, the warm lighting, wood and brick surfaces, beautiful ceramic flatware, and immaculate cleanliness of the restaurant make you feel welcome and truly add to the meal.

Bottom line: come soon, and find out just how much more to Copenhagen there is than just smørrebrød and schnapps. Dinner was ~$200CAD for two including a wine pairing for one and an extra cheese course for one.

Relae (Relæ) Restaurant
Jægersborggade 41
2200 Copenhagen
Tel: (+45) 3696 6609
open wed – sat 17.30-22.00

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Tags: Copenhagen · Favorites · Western Food

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