Decked out in modern Scandinavian décor, certified organic and winner of the World’s 50 Best Sustainability Award for 2015 & 2016 (and coming in at no. 39 in 2017), it seems Michelin starred Relae couldn’t be more Copenhagen.
A tiny eatery of under 40 covers, our cozy corner table seemed to be the perfect place to while away a warm and sunny Scandic Saturday. It seems this is a view shared by many locals and visitors alike, as it was a full house – a phenomenon I’m sure not uncommon at Relae.
They take the ethos of organic, authentic and seasonal very seriously here and this extends from the produce to the wines. The nature theme is echoed by the forest green drapes, the soft felt coasters, leather bound wine menus, pottery tableware and gorgeous wooden tables.
The design of these wooden tables is something of a statement too. If you wonder where your cutlery and napkins are when you sit down, here’s where you will find your answers – contained within a secret drawer built into the side of the table. Rather impressive I’ll admit – I wish my dining table had such a feature!
This sophisticated and restrained design continues into the plating of our four-course menu. There’s a seven-course option on offer also, but as we are doing what is known as the ‘bang bang’ in foodie circles today (back to back lunches), we opt to keep it short and sweet while still tasting the best of what Relae has on offer.
The bread, as per all of our Copenhagen dining experiences, is sourdough, and also as per all of our Copenhagen dining experiences, very good. Watch out though, these giant slabs of warm, soft sourdough with their perfectly crunchy crust are very addictive. And they will bring refills!
And of course what’s a Saturday lunch without wine? A tad scared of ‘natural’ white wines after the challenging Noma wine pairing the night previous, we pick a safe option, a pinot noir that came recommended from the extensive wine list. It’s not New Zealand pinot, but it did the trick at a reasonable price.
Now on to our menu. Obviously the menu at Relae changes frequently with the seasonal availability of produce, and being the spring season here’s what we enjoyed.
BUCKWHEAT, PUMPKIN SEEDS & HERBS *
WHITE ASPARAGUS, BUTTERMILK & BERGAMOTTE
STEAMED RHUBARB, CORIANDER FLOWERS, LEMON JUICE *
CUCUMBER SOUP, OLIVE OIL *
CUCUMBER, NASTURTIUM & GREEN STRAWBERRY
HINDSHOLM PORK, SPRING ONION & CAPERS
RHUBARB & BROWN CHEESE
As you might have noticed, there are actually seven dishes listed above – the three with stars were small extras. I love surprise courses.
Things got off to a great start with the buckwheat tart – so fresh and so earthy, this really summed up Relae from the get go. The white asparagus (an ingredient we saw a lot over our visit to Copenhagen) was served both raw and cooked, the buttermilk making for a very delicate sauce with just a hint of citrusy tea flavor from the bergamotte. Certainly a new combination for me.
A small bite of steamed rhubarb came next, restrained yet very refreshing due to the sprinkling of lemon juice spray. I’ve never had coriander flowers and the addition of these added a nice brightness. The cucumber soup continued on the refreshing theme, very subtle, but almost a little too much so for me. It was a nice lead in though to the next course – what else but cucumber! Looking like an alien dessert on a plate with it’s artistic splashes of green hues, the texture of the slab of cucumber was like none I’ve had before, heading further towards a protein like texture. A great dish as a whole.
Just as we were starting to feel much too healthy from all these greens, a beautiful pork dish came to add some savoury sumptuousness to the meal. Tender slices of pork dressed in a pork jus, complimented by whole spring onions and what we were told were elderberries (the menu read capers however). Amazingly delicious, and a great idea to cook the spring onions whole.
The dessert was a real highlight of the meal, championing brown cheese – something I had been lucky enough to sample on a recent trip to Norway. Of course there had to be some rhubarb snuck in there too, in both raw and stewed forms. The rhubarb paired with the rich caramel fudge taste brought by the brown cheese ice cream and cheese curls really worked.
The entire Relae experience was a relaxing one from start to finish, and really seemed to sing the sounds of Scandic cuisine. Whether you choose four or seven-course, Relae is a must visit. Personally, I feel the lightness of the cuisine on offer paired with the big windows streaming light in make it more suited to a lunch experience. Plus if you go for four-course, you’ll still be able to squeeze in another Copenhagen culinary hotspot for dinner!
4 courses 450 kr.
7 courses 725 kr.
All menus include filtered water, sourdough bread and olive oil.
4 glasses 395 kr.
7 glasses 685 kr.
Jægersborggade 41, 2200, København N
+45 3696 6609