Innovative “Nordic Italian” fusion cooking at Relæ

In a beaten down (now trendy) street of Nørrebro in Copenhagen Relæ opened their doors in the middel of the financial crisis as a restaurant serving good quality food dominanted by vegetables at low cost. Both are still true today.

Relæ serves two menues a small 4 course and a larger 8 course menu. From a cost perspektiver the 8 course menu offers a very cost attractive option and is definently the way to go.

A small snack to start with. A baked and then deepfried Jerusalem artischoke in a very light and crispy tempura batter, great balance between sweet and salty.

 

First dish was warm apple tee with “raw” apples. Both sweet and acidic at the same time. Defininetly not classic combinations but I liked it.

Turnip and walleye. A very delicate dish and too delicate for me as the raw fish is extremely mild in flavour and so is a raw turnip, so no real flavor to the dish. A small side dish was served in the form of a grilled walleye. It was firm in textures and quite delicious.

The Next dish was OK but with the parring it was amazing. Trout served with trout roe, black trumpets and the pairing with a sea buckthorn juice was just soo good. The acidic yet somewhat umamirich juice was just a great match for the fish where I am sure the trumpets helped a lot to build the bridge in a combination that surprised and astonished me.

 

A roasted celeriac is one of my personal favorites to cook at home. The version that I got at Relæ is now my favorite version of a roasted celeriac . Roasted to a point where it was not just sweet but still with a strong “celeriac” flavour and firm in textures. Served with coffeegrinds the two are my new favorite combination.

Salsify and cacao with a smoked drives egg yoke made up a “fake” carbonara, Rich and delicious as the original dish. A great dish that proves that Christian Pugsli is still is proud of his italian heritage and uses the combination with Nordic ingrediens to create new flavours.

The last savery dish was a disappointment. Goose served with a yellow beetroott. Off course preferencer are different but for me this was way undercooked and cooked wrong also. Done on one side and raw on the other. A mistake that usually doesn’t happen at this level. The goose dumpling on the side was however pretty amazing.

 

A smoking hot coal had been dropped in milk giving a different smokey flavour then that of actually smoking it. A great match for the clementines which off course was from Sicily. One of the highlights of the meal

A very delicious savery pumpkin Danish was to end my meal at Relæ as a take on the classic “Danish”. Crispy “batter” and rich creamy sauce. Pure deliciousness.

I remember going to Relæ when it first opend 8 years ago. When friends aske me how it was I use to say that it was a like a low budget version of Noma as they shared a lot if the same caracteristica. That is defininently not the case anymore. Off course they have developer their own identity where heavy inspiration from italy is allowed both in terms of produce and actually dishes while still having a tight Nordic concept both in food and interior. What has´t changed is what I call their hit and miss style. Some dishes are amazing and some I just don`t understand.

With the about 5-6 visits to Relæ both hits and misses have always been there which is off course going to be the case when the aim is to do more than just serving food that tastes good, but wants to push boundries and develop new flavours.

I really like the interior of Relæ amd the very relaxed atmosphere where fx some guests are actually seated in the open kitchen. The food is very good but just lacking a extra touch comparing to the top 10 restaurants in the World which therefore does justify the lower pricepoint (it is probably the cheapest finedining tastingmenu in Copenhagen) Placed at number 39 on the World 50 Best I have been to both lower rated that were better and higher rated where Relæ was better. With that in mind the place is probably well deserved.

Relæ is therefore one of those restaurants that I will continue to comeback to because everytime I do they served some very interesting dishes with flavours I have never tried before.

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