Scallionpancake has been extremely fortunate to go to five of the top restaurants in the world this year. Geranium makes the list at number #19 under the creative talents of Head Chef Rasmus Kofoed. Kofoed opened up Geranium in 2007 after working at a fancy hotel in Copenhagen, and it quickly climbed the ranks of all of the "best" lists; it's the only restaurant in Copenhagen to have three Michelin stars (yes—it's hard to believe, but Noma only had two before it closed for renovations!). Fun fact about Kofoed, according to the Top 50 list, "Kofoed is the only chef to have ever won bronze, silver and gold at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or cooking competition in France." Impressive!
You only have one choice here, and that's the Universe tasting menu. This is a three hour experience, so buckle up ladies and gentlemen, and get ready for the ride.
Danish Lobster covered with milk, carrot juice, and sea buckthorn oil
And we're off! The signature first dish is lobster. This was almost like a gelatin, with the buttery lobster contrasting with the cool, earthy carrot. We also loved the presentation with multiple dishes on top of each other.
Jerusalem Artichoke Leaves, Hazelnut Oil, and Rye Vinegar
Dip the artichoke leaves in the hazelnut oil and rye vinegar mayonnaise.
Razor Clams with Minerals & Sour Cream
The signature dish of Geranium. The rumor is this took Rasmus over six years to perfect. In his book, One Day at Geranium Restaurant (which we absolutely purchased), Rasmus calls this the, "perfect abstract illusion of a razor clam shell." The shell is edible and painted with algae and charcoal to make it look like an actual razor clam shell. In the middle is a creamy razor clam tartar made with sour cream.
Tomato Water, Ham Fat, & Aromatic Herbs
We love eating flowers with our tomato soup. We also love ham, and we especially love fat. Mix them all together and you've got a Scallionpancake trifecta. The sourness of the tomatoes and the warm, saltiness of the ham mixed great with the aromatic herbs.
"Dill Stones" Mackerel, Horseradish, & Frozen Juice from Cucumber & Dill
This was one of our favorites. The mackerel dill stones were plated on real sea stones, to blend in as if taken directly from the sea. Of course we love dips, and why not dip your mackerel dill stones in a frozen juice of cucumber & dill with a spicy horseradish cream?
Salted Hake, Parsley Stems, & Finnish Caviar in Buttermilk
Our favorite dish of the day. Cold flattened and salted hake covered in a warm buttermilk filled with Finnish caviar. Is there anything better in the world than warm caviar on a great fish? I don't think so.
Crispy Grains, Bread with Old Grains, & Gluten Free Bread with Seeds
We always love the bread course. This bread was okay, but nothing we really need to talk about.
Scallop in Juniper Aroma, Filippa Reduction, and Browned Butter
Scallops are hard to get rght. It's easy to overcook them, and then they taste like a chewy bar of soap. Also, a scallop should be on the larger size --if they are too small, you can't get the proper texture throughout the meat. Geranium's scallops were amazing. They were presented first in a bed of sea grass, as if they magically appeared from the sea for our pleasure. The scallops were then plated in a bowl in front of us, and then the waitress poured the Filippa reduction on top. The scallops had a great rich taste, and you could cut them with a butter knife.
Lemon Sole, Onion Herbs, "Vesterhavsost," and Pickled Pine
Let's take a journey to a Danish village, where we walk along the sea and pick flowers. We stumble upon a local fisherman who, as we walk past, catches a sole on his wooden fishing pole. He cleans the fish in front of us and serves it to us lightly cooked over an open fire mixed with the flowers we had picked up along the way. You get it?
Tartlet with Fjord Shrimp, Sol, & Pickled Elderflower
Are you sensing a pattern here? Almost every dish had some sort of flower on it. The Danes love flowers on their food --it provides a pop of color and flavor to the dishes. Plus everyone knows the saying, "When you eat shrimp, you should stop and smell the roses."
Cabbage Sprouts, Chicken, & Hay Beer
A big theme in all the restaurants we ate at in Copenhagen was the lack of meat. This was the only non-seafood meat on the menu, and it was not the focal point of the dish. The Danes love thier greens and seafood! What we liked about this were the sprouts, which added a nice little crunch to the chicken.
A Bite of Beetroot, Blackcurrant, Yogurt, & Tagetes
Like a kiss at the end of the rainbow, more precious than a heart of gold. You know what I mean.
Ice Cream from Beeswax & Pollen with Intense Rhubarb
The winner of winners when it comes to dessert. This ice cream tasted as if a million bees flew to you, spelled out your name in the air, and then presented you with their finest beeswax in the form of ice cream. It was so creamy and had the subtle flavors of beeswax and honey.
Carrot Tree, Cake with Pumpkin Seed Oil, Caramel with Cloudberry and Chantrelle, Chocolate with Oaks and Sea Buckthorn, Marshmallow with Rose Hip, & Green Egg with Pine
Yvonne calls this the fireworks grand finale, where they bring out an onslaught of desserts all at once and then you get to go to town like it's your birthday (and we're going to party like it's your birthday). We were instructed to eat them in any order, except the green egg had to be eaten last, because it had a strong flavor. Our favorites were the marshmallows with rose hips and the cake with pumpkin seed oil.
Geranium makes all of their drinks right in front of you. They are known for their gin and tonic, but we didn't try that (we were still in our non-drinking during lunch phase--lame). We ordered tea during the savory dishes, and coffee with dessert. For the tea, they roll out a cart with roots and herbs growing from pots. The waitress then asks what types of herbs you like, and then proceeds to pick them from the pots and make your tea. The coffee is presented in a similar way, with the waitress boiling the water and pressing the coffee right in front of you.
The atmosphere at Geranium can best be described as friendly, yet sterile. Everything about the restaurant was clean and perfect, almost too perfect You didn't feel like you could make sarcastic jokes with the wait staff--but you know we tried to anyway. The restaurant is located on the top floor of the national soccer stadium, which provides great views of all of Copenhagen. You can even see Sweden from across the water on a clear day. The whole staff was very international, our waitresses were from Australia and Martinique, and the chef who took us of a tour of the restaurant, was from Sweden. It felt very cosmopolitan, and you could tell that there was a lot of room for collaboration and creativity in the kitchen.
The service here was just as exceptional as you would expect at a fancy-shmancy place like this. What was unique, was that after the savory dishes, one of the chefs gave every guest a tour of the entire restaurant, from the test kitchen to the fermenting room. We even got to see Head Chef Kofoed, who touched me on the shoulder. I havent washed my shoulder since.
Frankie also has not washed since we were in Copenhagen; It's nice to have the option to play a soccer game and then go have a three Michelin star meal, all in one block; If Frankie could have tea with anyone in history, he would pick Lassie, and then punch him in the face after; We like to be able to banter with our waiters and make them feel uncomfortable; We have started putting flowers on all of our canned tuna now that we are back in the U.S.