my little brother finally came to visit me in copenhagen in the beginning of may. he is very enthusiastic about food, so this was the perfect chance for me to check out some of the places that are bringing attention to the city. of course noma, being the so-called 'best restaurant in the world,' was at the top of our list. but due to the short notice of my brother's visit, there was no chance we could get a table.. maybe next time. relæ is only about 10 minutes walk from our flat, located on the trendy street of jægersborggade. the area had a shady past with gunfire and drugs, but it has cleaned up well and is now home to hipster-friendly shops and restaurants. the thing about relæ is that despite the humble interior and reasonable prices, it has recently been crowned with a michelin star. the price of a four-course menu is 355 DKK ($60 USD), same with the vegetarian menu, and the supplementing wines. though it could be argued that it should be cheaper than the regular menu, how many michelin restaurants have you been to that cater to vegetarians?
the vegetarian menu started with thinly-sliced kohlrabi wrapped around cucumber and lemon balm and topped with roasted caraway seeds (see top photo). sadly, the most i can say about this dish was that it was interesting. i wasn't crazy about the texture of anything, nor the cucumber soup it was served in. however, it did whet our appetites; we polished off the perfect bread and olive oil that was presented earlier. the wine pairing was jacquere ’11, jacques maillet vin de savoie. the next course was leagues better; marabel potatoes cut into noodles, wrapped around pecorino and seaweed (hijiki?), and served in a cream with seaweed (wakame?). i never imagined potatoes in this way... this should be a huge inspiration of vegetarians everywhere.
the third dish was half a head of romaine lettuce (possibly poached?) topped with cured, shaved egg yolk and dotted with olives, served on top of a pool of stinging nettle sauce. i've never eaten anything like this before. the yolk reminded me a bit of salted duck egg, but with the texture of shredded cheese. it was actually a very salty dish, on the verge of being too salty. but the crisp white wine took that away with every sip; bouchat ’09 de guy blanchard, mâcon. my brother had the accompanying juice menu instead of wine, and i'm sorry to report that he didn't like them. they were not all sweet as he expected; in fact the first juice tasted very much like my cucumber soup. i'm not saying you shouldn't try it, but don't expect them all to be fruit juices. (;
when i first looked at the menu, i didn't know if we would be offered dessert at all or maybe we would have to order it separate from the menu. when the fourth course was presented to us, i realized that "sunchoke, malt, and bread" was our dessert. the sunchoke a.k.a. jerusalem artichoke was made into an ice cream and the peels were saved to become sweet roasted chips. little bits of bread were soaked in malt, creating an almost raisin-y taste and texture. this was a very pleasant, not-too-sweet dessert. i love sunchokes and we do use them from time to time at the soup kitchen, but i never would have imagined them in this way. the wine pairing was actually a cider; eric bordelet sidre tendre, normandie. it had just enough acidity to cut through the mild sweetness of dessert.
i don't want to hype this place too much but it really was very good, and not just for the price. service was on point and each dish was explained to us in english by the chefs. i'm still far from convinced that copenhagen is the culinary capital of anywhere except denmark, but if you're traveling through then this is good eats.
2200 københavn n
+45 3696 6609