Posted on Monday, 14th September 2009
After Sweden I made tracks to Copenhagen. The urban population of this city might only number about 1.2 million, but it seems to be developing a reputation as a burgeoning gastronomic destination, and this is in no small part due to the highly acclaimed two starred Michelin Noma. There are also a number of one star Michelin restaurants here, and my first choice among them had been a restaurant called Geranium, which sadly closed a couple of months back, reportedly due to the tough economic conditions.
Next on my list was Søllerød Kro, a restaurant which is housed in a thatched inn dating back to 1677. Its about 16km from the centre of Copenhagen, and en route there I got thinking what would possess me to choose the only Michelin restaurant that was furthest away from town when there were about 10 others in the centre of it. Hmmm.
But there was no time for reflection. Food was to be had. The setting was very beautiful – with a touch of the country cottage to it – which made for a nice change of scene from the bustle of central Copenhagen. There is both an indoor and an outdoor sitting area (with heating provided if so required), and on this crisp evening, sitting outdoors in the lovely garden with the water features and the greenery was very pleasant.
I chose one of the tasting menus on offer, a 6 course affair for DK 895 (about £106). To start, there was a canapé of shaved cauliflower with cheese and tarragon cream on a rye crispbread. This was bland, although the hint of tarragon in the cream was quite aromatic. It was followed by an amuse bouche of green gazpacho with olive oil powder and olive oil sorbet which had a slight lemon kick to it. This was light and refreshing.
The first taster was shrimps with horseradish, avocado, gooseberries and wood sorrel. The shrimps were sweet, and the flavours of the various ingredients worked very well together. However, the horseradish had been plated unevenly as small dollops, so that in some mouthfuls you got more of a sensation from the horseradish than in others.
Next was a perfectly cooked piece of moist cod layered in a bed of mussel broth. The cod was topped with a crispbread; an almost raw scallop which was fat and plump; spring onions, some of which had not been cooked properly; and three different types of watercress, a couple of which had been handpicked locally. There was a pleasant aftertaste to the broth, but both it and the cod were a little heavily seasoned. Otherwise, this was quite a good dish.
A dish of langoustines with summer cabbage was set alight with some very aromatic fresh dill. The cabbage, both shaved and sliced, worked well texturally with the langoustine which had an excellent flavour, but which was a little soft. The dish was finished off with a lovely langoustine bisque and some dill oil.
The next course of chanterelles with chicken skin and parmesan foam turned out to be a spectacular treat. When it was presented to me, the waitress proceeded to shave an entire summer truffle all over the dish, the aroma of which was incredible! And the dish already had about half a truffle sliced over it. As a point of clarification, this was not listed as one of the ingredients of this dish. There is in fact a six course prestige menu (DK 1,595 (about £189)) which boasts such ingredients, eg, summer truffle and caviar. I am not sure why I received this special treatment and I can only assume that the restaurant might have deemed it worthwhile as I was taking both notes and photos. I enjoyed the truffle immensely, but I will proceed to evaluate the dish as if there were none, since this course doesn’t normally come with truffle.
The parmesan foam was lovely, with a light and fluffy texture, and it worked well with the flavoursome chanterelles. The chicken skin was reasonably crispy, but it could have been crispier. However, it seemed superfluous for it neither added to, nor detracted from the dish. There was some lemon confit dotted along the bottom of the plate, the sharp sourness of which worked against the foam. The dish was finished off with a drizzle of well reduced chicken jus, which, had there been slightly more of it would have further enhanced the flavour of the dish.
The meat course was pigeon with roasted foie gras. The pigeon was very tender and gamey, with a slightly bloody flavour to it. The foie gras was tasty and firm, but didn’t have the silky texture that other types of foie gras can possess. The soft, sweet cherries were pleasant when eaten with the foie gras, but the accompanying beetroot was a little too crunchy and bland. The sauce was disappointing. It was runny and insufficiently reduced, and as a result it did not have the requisite depth of flavour or consistency that would have made it a good sauce. There were some nice flavours in the dish, eg, the pigeon, but it didn’t hang together as one whole entity, and in this respect it was average. You might again note from the picture that some summer truffles (about half of a whole one) had been shaved on top of the dish. This was again done at the table and was again not an ingredient listed as part of this dish.
Pre-dessert was a seabuck thorn sorbet with diced carrots. I had tried this sorbet at Mathias Dahlgren and adored its zingy, melony, orangey overtones which were very refreshing. This version was similar, although the crunchiness of the diced carrots detracted from the smoothness of the sorbet for it forced you to chew rather than allowing you to just swallow the sorbet.
Dessert was raspberries (fresh, sorbet and little balls of puree), cream, tiny biscuits and hazelnuts. The biscuits and hazelnuts added crunchiness to the refreshing dessert. Overall, it was well balanced and very tasty with the exception of the balls of puree which were too dense and rich to eat in one go as the presentation would suggest that you do.
This was a mixed meal. There were aspects of each dish that I enjoyed, but most of them had aspects which didn’t work due to what I would call a slight ‘heavy handedness’, eg the horseradish in the shrimp dish, the raspberry puree in the dessert. This lack of subtlety meant that some of the dishes weren’t that well balanced when taken as a whole. There were a few mistakes, but the technique wasn’t particularly flawed (other than the sauce in the pigeon dish), and overall, there were quite a few nice flavours. The ingredients were also of excellent quality and care had been taken to source them as was evidenced in the handpicked cress. The service was excellent (regardless of whether I got extra truffles or not), very friendly and relaxed.
Cooking wise, it’s not the best one star restaurant that I’ve ever been to, but it was credible nonetheless. So in summary, it’s a reasonable choice if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, but given its location, not necessarily a place you would make a special trip for.
Note that most fine dining restaurants in Copenhagen charge a surchage when paying with a foreign credit card.