Authentic, fresh, innovative and healthy: these are the characteristics of the New Nordic Cuisine, the gastronomic revolution which has redefined northern cooking over the last decade. Its epicentre has been Copenhagen, where top chefs from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland met in 2004 for high-level discussions. At stake was the future of Nordic cuisine, which they decided needed to return to its roots.
The idea was to bring the taste of nature back into Nordic dishes with seasonal ingredients fresh from the sea or the land. Wild indigenous berries, cabbage, herring, rye and other traditional northern products were again given pride of place on the menus. The dark winters and long summer evenings mean that the tubers, turnips and fruits from northern soils are bursting with taste and vitamins. Innovation was another important element: modern, experimental cooking techniques allowed a remarkable new Nordic cuisine to develop in Copenhagen.
Spicy moss from the woods around Copenhagen, wild Baltic salmon and langoustines from the Faroe Islands: special regional products and innovative cooking techniques allow chefs René Redzepi and Claus Meyer to continue to conjure up the most exclusive dishes for their guests. Under their inspiring leadership, restaurant Noma on Strandgade in Copenhagen has stayed at the top of the culinary world for many years. The atmosphere here is warm and informal, with the chefs sometimes coming to the table in person to pour sauces out of the pan and tell guests a little about the origin of the dish.
The great success of Noma unleashed a culinary craze: many restaurants in Copenhagen now proudly serve New Nordic Cuisine, each in their own way. Kodbyens Fiskebar, which is run by Noma’s former sommelier Anders Selmer, is a seafood bar dedicated to products from the waters in and around Denmark. The dishes are prepared without fuss and the ingredients are local and bursting with flavour. Sit at the bar and enjoy Limfjord mussels and fresh oysters at a bargain price.
The men behind the restaurant BROR also have their roots at Noma: Samuel Nutter and Victor Wagman were both sous-chefs there. Again we see a preference for authentic ingredients from Danish soil such as shallots, seaweed, herring or rhubarb. The culinary delights which adorn BROR’s menu stand completely on their own merits. Creative and, especially, no-nonsense, the dishes at BROR are a true feast. Try the radishes with spicy hazelnut cream or beets with elderflower.