Copenhagen is home to a large number of extraordinary dining experiences, and in 2014 no fewer than 15 restaurants can brag about their well-earned Michelin stars. One of these restaurants is ‘Den Røde Cottage’ (‘The Red Cottage’) with owner and chef Anita Klemensen in the lead. This hidden gem is tucked away in the forest, just 15 minutes away from the city centre, and the audience includes both true gourmands, Michelin fans and lovers seeking a romantic dining experience out of the ordinary. Here’s our review of the much talked-about restaurant.
A historical restaurant in idyllic settings
It feels liberating to leave the city and take a drive down the idyllic Strandvejen to reach ‘Den Røde Cottage’. The air gets cleaner, the scents get more intense and the sea is so close we can smell it. It makes the perfect setting for an out-of-the-ordinary dining experience and we’re excited as we turn right into the woods and the winding gravel road that discharges into ‘Den Røde Cottage’. Only a couple of lamps and a humble sign tells us that this is our destination and that’s really the charm of it as well. Here’s absolutely no sign of showing off – nature and the beautiful and historical building, which houses the restaurant, does the work just fine.
The history of the place dates back to the 19th Century when King Christian the 8th gave permission to build a spa and amusement park in the surrounding areas of the restaurant. Several small cottages were built in order for wealthy Copenhagen residents to rent them as holiday homes, and in 1937 the Danish state took over ‘Den Røde Cottage’. Since 1996 it has served as a restaurant.
The current owners Anita Klemensen and Lars Thomsen appreciates the new Nordic cuisine, which definitely reflects in the menu. And so we entered the restaurant with great expectations to taste their interpretation of this interesting food culture.
Nordic cuisine: 8 courses
The restaurant itself is rather small. With space for approximately 20 seatings on the ground floor and more or less the same on the top floor, one will definitely experience an intimate dining experience in the red cottage. We’re seated on the ground floor with a nice view to the surrounding forest.
As an aperitif we’re served a glass of champagne and we agree that Anita gets to choose the menu. Not more than a couple of minutes later we receive a small plate of local goodies – a treat from the kitchen. And then we begin! Our menu consists of 8 courses and though they might not be big, they certainly do as they promise! The quality and creativity of each course is astounding and I surely understand why this restaurant has gained a Michelin star. Our 8 course dinner looks like this:
Starter: Scallop with potato, horseradish and greaves
Starter: Fried codfish with creamy rye, pickled green tomato and smoked clam
Starter: Spring cabbage, mustard and bacon
Main course: Sweetbread from lamb with leek, fresh goat cheese and ramson
Main course: Chicken from Hopballemølle (local chicken farm in the south-western part of Denmark), foie gras, radish and carrot
Dessert: Cheese from Thybo (a local cheese manufacturer in the Northern part of Denmark), Jerusalem artichoke and Macadamia
Dessert: Oat with grape, toffee and buttermilk
Dessert: A symphony of chocolate
The wine selection
We had wine to accompany all these amazing courses, but it’s also possible to order a so-called ‘juice’-menu if one prefers. The juice-menu is a fun and tasty alternative to alcoholic beverages and it consists of different organic fruits such as raspberry, lemon and blackcurrant. Den Røde Cottage offers a small yet solid selection of both white and red wine, deriving mostly from France (Alsace, Jura, Loire, Bourgogne), but there’s also overseas surprises such as the Australian 2013 Domaine Lucci from Noir De Florette, which was actually my favorite. To finish off this great dinner we had a glass of late bottled vintage port; 2008 Taylor’s.
I can definitely recommend anyone with a genuine interest in great food and local specialities to pay Den Røde Cottage a visit whenever in Copenhagen! As a matter of fact, I’d travel for this experience, cause this is a true food adventure out of the ordinary! Anita’s take on Nordic cuisine is delicious and tasty without being decadent or too much. And on top of that the prices are very reasonable too! An 8 course meal costs 800 DKK, but one can also choose either 3, 5 or 7 courses. Wine is not included.
For more information on Den Røde Cottage go to www.denrodecottage.dk.
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