Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Geranium Rasmus Kofoed

In the past 5-7 years, the popularity of Nordic cuisine has skyrocketed to an unprecedented level especially thanks to Noma which has become the new El Bulli. Not only in Denmark, but also in most of Scandinavian regions; suddenly, they became the "hottest" destinations for foodies who are looking for new adventures. I'm more of an old-school person who usually goes to Western Europe countries, in particular France/Paris, for my dining destinations. However, for this trip, I accompanied my parents to places they would like to visit such as a couple of Eastern Europe places as well as Scandinavian countries. They're not a big fan of fine dining in which dinner often lasts more than 3 hours. However, I managed to persuade them to visit some top restaurants during this holiday. One of those places was Geranium that along with Maaemo was the only recipient of Michelin's highest honors in its 2016 Nordic guide. To avoid lukewarm guests, Geranium applied a ticketing system for the reservation. In this method, guests had to pay about 30% of the degustation menu price to have their bookings confirmed (after the meal, we would pay only the difference plus the beverages). It might not be pleasant but I thought it's fair since it would discourage people who're not willing to commit in advance.     

Geranium was established by Rasmus Kofoed and Søren Ledet (a former cook himself and the current head sommelier). Note that: both owners were not around during our meal. Chef Kofoed is famous mainly due to his impressive accomplishments in Bocuse d'Ors competition, the equivalent of Olympic for culinary talents. He's the only person who ever won all 3 different medals, including the elusive gold in 2011. Within 2 years of running Geranium at the current location, Rasmus managed to collect 2 Michelin star. He received the 3rd one four years later. With such remarkable backgrounds, preparing classical 'French-style' cuisine was probably never a problem for Rasmus. For his own beloved restaurant, he opted to prepare and cook contemporary Nordic cuisine whose emphasize was the use of local, seasonal & fresh ingredients particularly vegetables and fish/seafood. As far as the food was concerned, the delicious taste of the dishes was as essential as their aesthetic presentation in order to create unforgettable experiences for (all) our senses. There were plenty of playful and unusual variations, so please come with an open mind. Geranium only offered 1 kind of tasting menu consisted of 17 (relatively small) courses. Guests were encouraged to state their allergy and diet when confirming their reservations; these would be discussed one more time upon seated at the table. For the drinks, I decided to try the restaurant's unique juice pairing.   

The Geranium Spring Universe


Cep mushroom soup - A strong, focused in flavor and clean soup; it's delicious though it might be 'out of season' in the early Spring. The kitchen preserved this Autumn mushroom
Jerusalem Artichoke leaves served with Walnut oil and Rye vinegar - The artichoke chips were alright but the walnut mayo made the overall taste better; the rye provided mild acidity
Tomato water served with Ham fat and Aromatic herbs - A sophisticated dish with texture and flavor contrast. The 'water' had jelly-like texture; it was refreshing and balanced (between the taste of 'lard' and tomato)
Accompanied by juice: Sea Buckthorn (citrus and a bit sweet, like cranberry)

King Crab served with Milk & Juice from fermented Carrots and Sea Buckthorn - It was interesting. The plain crab was covered by tart flavors of the berry and carrot; generally, it's quite palatable
Charred Potato served in aroma from Bark and Sheep's butter - The appearance was fascinating. The "black" potato was smoky and pleasant outside but soft & refine on the inside. It went really well with the creamy & 'sweet' butter; the potato's taste would linger for some times ...
Accompanied by juice: Green Apple and Elder flower 

"Dillstone" horseradish served with Frozen juice from Dill and pickled cucumber - My favorite item from the appetizers selection. It had everything: playful presentation, smart interplay and some positive surprised elements. The 'stone' was actually a Trout (sashimi) covered by mildly sweet & aromatic dill. To enhance the experience, it's recommended to combine it with the sour granite as well as the horseradish sauce. Interesting and delicious at the same time
"Razor Clam" served with Sour cream and Parsley - Another witty presentation from the Geranium kitchen. The shell (painted with squid ink) was edible. Inside the shell was a mixture of razor clam, sour cream and (small amount of) parsley - it was surprisingly rich; more parsley to 'tone down' the flavors would be better for my taste
Accompanied by juice: Gooseberry, Tarragon and Sunflower seeds

Dishes ("Main Courses")

Oyster and Lumpfish roe plus Dried Oyster soup served with local smoked cheese - It was better than I expected. The fresh oyster was precisely cooked: creamy despite distinct sea flavor. The smoky cheese smartly covered this issue. Together, they made a tasty dish whereas the "red caviar" was rather smooth and not too salty. It's more fascinating than being delicious
Salted Hake served with Parsley stems and Finnish caviar in buttermilk - A magnificent dish! Arguably, the best thing I ate during this dinner. Everything was pretty much perfect. The Hake (before the sauce was poured) was meticulously cut into circular shape, simply beautiful! The succulent fish was not only looked good, but also tasted amazing. Everything (the buttermilk, caviar and even the scales) worked harmoniously - crunchy, creamy, not too salty etc. I could easily have another round of this dish - a masterpiece art by Rasmus Kofoed
Accompanied by juice: Elderberries and Apple

Old grains and Gluten free bread served warm with Crispy grains and Seeds - There was also butter with sorrel. The portions were small and delivered as part of the middle-course. My favorite was the one with with crispy grain (emmer & spelt) - moist and delightful. I ate 3-4 breads in total; oh the butter was very good too - flavorful and light
Quail egg and Melted Pork fat served with Leeks, Salted Ramson and Melted "Vesterhavs" cheese - The most distinguished flavors were the lards and the cheese. There were plenty of local veggies while some flowers tasted like garlic. Detailed preparations and decent
Scallop served with Söl (Icelandic seaweed) and Sour Berries - Another stunning dish! The plump Norwegian scallop's quality was superb and it was also flawlessly cooked resulting in a truly delicious morsel. The sol brought an 'extra' dimension to the dish while the berry sauce nicely balanced the sweet & juicy scallop. Bravo!
Accompanied by juice: Black Currant and Juniper

Grilled Duck hearts served with Jerusalem Artichoke, Sunflower seeds and Truffle - The rustic & relatively modest duck heart was actually tender and quite meaty without any trace of strong offal characteristic. It's not bad ... The clear 'soup' (made of duck's feet jus) was richer than I initially thought while the rests gave some crunchy textures in contrast to the grilled heart
Pork served with Pear and Pickled pine - Additionally, to enrich the experience, there were cucumber, garlic confit and lemon thyme. The pork neck was executed perfectly; its meat was indeed tender but not too flavorful. The sauce would improve the pork's flavor and it's made of the pork jus + pine. The poached pear was a good element to tone down any strong flavor. It was satisfying and I liked it more than the grilled heart from the previous dish  
Accompanied by juice: Cloud berry and Pine

Desserts and Sweets

Ice Cream made from Beeswax, Pollen and Honey with cloud berries - It was sweet and creamy. To fully experience it (to taste some acidic flavor), you should dig the berries at the bottom
Dried Apples served with Elderberries, Beetroot, Apple cider and Sheep's yogurt - It was pretty with minimal sweetness (from the white chocolate cream) - pleasant
"Naked Tree" served with Dark beer, Prune and Smoked Beech wood cream - Another artistic presentation - a reflection of its surrounding nature. The cream was rather sweet while the beer ice cream had some bitter flavor - working along well together. Overall, it's a fine dessert
Accompanied by juice: Prune and Pilsner malt

Sweets: Caramel served with Aromatic seeds and Rose hip tea; Cake with Pumpkin seed oil; Chocolate with Oats and Sea buckthorn; Green egg with Pine

For a fine dining establishment, Geranium's location is indeed unusual. It is situated on the 8th floor of a building that's part of a football stadium. However, the restaurant is beautifully designed featuring Danish characteristics such as: minimalist decor, modern furniture made from local wood, and plenty of white & neutral colors. There are lots of windows through which guests could see natural greenery. The view should be much better during lunch; I imagine we could also enjoy the forest and blue sky in a sunny day. Geranium applied an open kitchen concept (though I observed most of the cooking done behind it; they're more like stations for final plating) where diners could see many chefs in action live! It seemed to be a policy of the chef-patron Rasmus Kofoed that 2-3 chefs had to visit each table to present and explain some dishes to their guests. A nice gesture that elevated the unique experience at Geranium. The service was efficient, courteous and rather relaxed; our main 'assigned waitress' delivered the finest hospitality despite having worked at this restaurants only for a few weeks. By the way, she's French. Any questions were welcomed and she did everything she could to properly answer any of our inquiries. The rests of the dining room staffs did decent jobs as well but not as refined as her.  

Overall, it was a wonderful meal and unforgettable experience. I might be blown away by at most 1/4 of the presented dishes, however, in the bigger picture I could see the passion of the Chef Kofoed and his team to always try to create something different including breaking boundaries to reach to the next level, the way skilled artist's aim for his/her next masterpiece. Anybody who wants to have a superb Nordic cuisine meal, Geranium is certainly among the top place that will be able to deliver such fabulous experience. Picture of the dishes: Geranium Mar '16

Food: 95 pts

Service: 94 pts

Overall: 94.5/100

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