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Geranium, Kongens Have, Copenhagen


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Geranium, 4th April 2008

I had been hankering after a visit to Geranium for over a year now - due to some advance press on egullet and the pedigree of its chefs (Two time Bocuse D’Or medal winner Rasmus Kofoed and former noma chef and Danish Chef of the Year Søren Ledet) and its beautiful setting on the edge of the King's Gardens in Copenhagen. Given its focus on biodynamic and organic ingredients - whilst retaining a quiet national and regional pride - all sounded very appealing.

Enthusiastic reviews elsewhere whetted my appetite further - so perhaps it wasn’t a huge surprise that they were awarded their first star in the March 2008 edition of the Michelin Main Cities of Europe guide. So - as part of a weekend in Copenhagen and in a spirit of adventure and further exploration of Nordic / Danish food - H readily signed up to an evening of gluttony here - lucky me J

And we had a lovely evening - some good food, lots of wine and warm and attentive service - but with a gentle sense of humour that kept things personal and friendly.

If you’ve followed the blog links above, then you’ll already have seen some gorgeous photos (so thanks to Trine and Zarah Maria for their skill - whilst my efforts are terrible - sorry about that - will try harder next time) and enjoyed their writings. In fact, the menu from Trine’s latest report is identical to what we enjoyed, but if I may beg your indulgence to relive a very good meal - then my thoughts and impressions are given below.

Snacks: Potato crisps; Parmesan sticks with nettle mayonnaise; Pumpernickel bread; “tart” of lojrom and cheese; Ham from Skåne

The highlights were the ham - smoked and sweet and utterly delicious and the rather too more-ish parmesan sticks. Rest were very good too.

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Amuses: Geranium jelly and apple and Scallop, beetroot (jelly and slice), capers, horseradish cream

Well, it would have been wrong not to have geranium somewhere in the menu and this amuse / palate cleanser was fabulous. Delicate perfumed jelly and crisp apple flavours blending together into a mouthful of loveliness. Perfectly judged - neither flavour overwhelming the other - very impressive.

The scallop dish was nice enough, but without the crystal clarity of flavours that marked the geranium jelly and perhaps not as a stellar scallops as I have been lucky enough to enjoy elsewhere - but very pretty to look at.

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Bread - buttermilk, oatmeal and spelt - with biodynamic butter.

Very rich - very open and springy texture that reminded me of crumpets. First roll was a touch greasy, second one (!) was much better.

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Lightly smoked lumpfish roe, raw Jerusalem artichoke and powdered hazelnut oil

2005 Sancerre, Domaine Du Rouet, Loire

They explained that lumpfish roe heralded the arrival of Spring in Denmark, and with an assortment of herbs as garnished that included chickweed, peashoots, woodruff, and wood sorrel - it was another very pretty looking plate of food. This time though, beauty was more than skin deep since it was delicious - the slight bitterness and nuttiness of the artichoke providing a great foil to the delicate fish roe as their texture tickled and slipped pleasurably round our tongues. A lovely dish - possibly one of the best of the night.

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King crab roast on bread, carrots, sea buckthorn and lemon cress

2006 Anjou, Les Vielles Vignes de Blanderies, Marc Angeli, Loire

The crab foam was very intensely flavoured and was the most impressive component of this dish. But whilst we enjoyed it - perhaps not the most cohesive dish of the night IMHO.

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Scent of Rosemary, monkfish, puffed spelt, celeriac and burned leek

2006 Pouilly-Fuisse, Secret Mineral Denis Jeandeau, Bourgogne

Ah, much much better - a kilner jar was placed on the table with a smoking rosemary branch - reminded me of a trick I’d seen at The Paul previously - and was a whimsical way of providing the diner with more rosemary notes. But really, it was all about the fish which was so so delicate and the flavours and textures which united beautifully to provide a very balanced and delicious plate of food. Very good - possibly H’s favourite dish of the night.

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Foamy potato, Cheese from Kristainsminde, Ryebread and oxtail

2006 Saint Joseph, Terre Blanche, Saint Joseph Monier, Rhone

The charming waitress explained that this would be the first serving of the oxtail, and would be richer than that which preceded or was to follow. And she was right, but the potato was foamy enough to avoid sending us into a carb coma, and both managed to clear the plate. I did notice that it was very highly seasoned but it just about pulled it off.

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Happy Veal, buds and sprouts of wild garlic, salsifies, mushrooms and apple vinegar

2005 Les Clous, Vosne-Romanee, domane Prieure Roch, Bourgogne

Fabulous dish - meat was so tender (probably sous vide?) but still had texture and rich flavour rather than becoming that unpleasant mushy texture which can sometimes happen. One of the best veal dishes I can ever remember having …

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Milk

2004 Riesling, Meunchberg, Vendange Tardive, Domaine Ostertag, Alsace

Ah - an object lesson in how menu descriptions can often hide their treasures - they told us it was 6 forms - jelly, puree, foam, cake, frozen …. and summat else which escapes me! But completely delicious … and really amazing how one ingredient could give such different results. Each component was obviously texturally different, but the flavours had been pitched differently too - very very good. And I can’t believe my photo of white stuff on a white plate has worked when so many others didn’t this evening … go figure ….

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Pumpkin seeds, Cloudberry juice and white chocolate

Ah - wonder if this was served into two servings - which is why we had a minor panic when we realised there was more food coming. First was a pumpkin seed oil icecream which was delicious and intriguing, followed by the pumpkin jelly wrapped round white chocolate ice-cream (I think) which was ok - but not my favourite. Pic of the first part only

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Petit fours: Peppermint and caramel chocolate; Rosehip meringue; Liquorice marshmallow; Chocolate and caramel flakeWas pretty stuffed by this point, but managed the delicious marshmallow and the decent peppermint and caramel choc - and very glad I did since they were marvellous.

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And so we were finally done …. Replete, happy, mildly inebriated … but having had a lovely evening. A good place, nice people, and they deserve to do well.

Recommended if you’re in town.

http://www.restaurantgeranium.dk/

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