I’m normally not that into fine dining. It has to do with me being very picky with my food and consequently not very experimental. But on our long-planned trip to Copenhagen I was surprised by my friend Pam wanting to eat the best of Danish food. Turned out there were lots of options, as Copenhagen hosts some major players when it comes to Michelin starred food. I had to put my foot down when it came to cost, as I’d already overspent in August. In the end we settled for a restaurant called Geist. The weather had turned on us and this was the closest affordable restaurant from our fine dining list that was nearby. We still got wet on the way, and I expected them to turn us away. After all we had no reservation, we were in tourist gear and we were a little bit wet.
But ohh they didn’t. We were told we could either have a table for 1 hour and 20 min or sit on the heated terrace. As we did not want to rush the meal we opted for the terrace. When we sat down there were only two other people there, but it got busy quickly. It seemed like we got there just in time. There isn’t a tasting menu and we were told we could order one course at a time, depending on our mood and how full we were. In my experience that’s rather unusual.
First things first: Cocktails. The menu wasn’t too long and most of it sounded amazing. All of them were priced as 110 DKK, roughly £13 at the time. It’s the usual price in London and I thought it was decent, as the place was clearly high class. In our first round we went with Danish Summer Martini Strawberry Dill and the Lemon in Lemon in Lemon Hint of Thyme. Sadly I did not like my martini. The combination of flavours was just all wrong and unpleasant. Pam loved hers, but you cannot go wrong with Lemon on Lemon. We also really loved the bread rolls and the butter. Mhm, fresh bread with butter…one of my favourites.
The food menu was offering everything from veggie to fish and meat and ranged from 95 to 225 DKK (£10-£25). We started our culinary journey with Tartar of Norway Lobster with Yuzu and Hibiscus for Pam. When it came out I would have never guessed that this is lobster. It was looking slightly strange, as it was so thinly spread over the plate and dusted with what I assume is the hibiscus. The yellow light did not help make it more appetising. Pam looked at it skeptically, put the first fork in her mouth … and was completely smitten. She loved it. I chose Sugar Peas with Fried Egg and Wild Garlic Capers, even though the idea of capers was not appealing, but this was the place to risk it. Look at that egg yolk peeking through the wild garlic capers. It was delicious. We were happy that this adventure was going in the right direction.
For our second course Pam had the Black King Trumpets with Mackerel and I had the Salted and Dried Brest of Young Duck with Figs. Both dishes did not look great when they came out, as one ingredient covered up the rest of the plate. We had to dig through the first layer to find the rest. Pam was ok with her fish course, but I had a little bit too much duck and not enough fig on my plate. The balance wasn’t right and because of the sheer amount of duck the plate in total was too salty.
On to our last savoury plates. I know it’s not very fancy but I could not resist the Pot Roasted Cauliflower with Summer Truffle. I was given half a cauliflower with foam on top and truffle sauce. It was sublime. Melt on your tongue gorgeous! Pam’s Scallops and Chicken Wings with Brown Butter was also great, but she said it was a little bit too rich for her after two courses.
We decided to get more cocktails and a dessert to share. So what else to have after the first cocktail disappointment? I went with something I eyed before the meal. Pam had talked me out of it, as it’s an after meal drink in her opinion. Why did I listen to her?? I now had the Vinous Sage Bourbon Walnut. It was great! Just amazing. I think Pam went with the Liquorice Elderflower Velvet Smooth, but we booth decided that mine had more flavour. The dessert was Coconut Sorbet with Pomelo and Matcha Tea. What a refreshing delight!! While sipping our cocktails and waiting for the dessert, we observed our neighbours having coffee. Normally not something that fascinates me, but they got candy floss with it as well. Turns out everyone who orders coffee gets candy floss. As it was a rather damp evening it started to disintegrate immediately and droop in sugary little drops onto the table. It was strangely addictive – I just HAD to look at it from time to time to see its progress.
The whole experience was a delight. The waiter in the beginning put us at ease and helped us with the menu. It got a lot busier later on and we had to work hard to get his attention during the last hour of our stay. That was a bit of a downer, but generally the restaurant was great! One tip: don’t get too drunk. The whole place is dark and when you get to the toilet areas there are a lot of black walls and mirrors.
I had two cocktails and I was getting a little bit disoriented. I wonder what happens if you are really in your cups. Talking to your mirror image while waiting for the unisex toilets to become free?
This restaurant has been established by chef Bo Bech, who previously had a Michelin starred restaurant called Paustian, before opening Geist in 2011. If you are in Copenhagen AND want a fine dining experience which doesn’t cost an arm and a leg … this is the place!
KONGENS NYTORV 8
DK-1050 KØBENHAVN K
BORDBESTILLING +45 3313 3713