Discovering New Nordic cuisine in Copenhagen

Discovering New Nordic cuisine in Copenhagen

Have you followed the rise and rise of New Nordic cuisine? On a recent trip to Copenhagen we took the opportunity to discover what all the hype is about.

New Nordic cuisine – a brief history

Up until a few years ago my knowledge of Scandinavian food extended to a round blue tin of butter cookies we used to eat at Christmas. They still exist and are quite delicious but are a far cry from the food culture we know as Nordic cuisine.

In the early 2000s, chef Rene Redzepi and professor and entrepreneur Claus Meyer founded the philosophy of New Nordic cuisine. With an emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal produce, this style of cooking prides itself on simplicity and purity of flavours.

Cooking with ingredients native to the Nordic region and using traditional techniques such as smoking are key to the philosophy. This has meant chefs forage for and use ingredients that are now considered unusual but were once commonplace.

The movement is also a response to globalisation and the mass-produced dairy and pork products that changed the face of Danish food production.

New Nordic cuisine is a force that changed not only Danish and Scandinavian restaurant culture but one that has had an important influence on global food trends.

Restaurants and cooks around the world have adopted the philosophy which celebrates local ingredients, techniques and recipes.

New Nordic Cuisine in Copenhagen

Mushrooms and thyme at Manfreds Copenhagen

Related  How to fall in love with Copenhagen

New Nordic cuisine in Copenhagen

The New Nordic philosophy was realised in Meyer and Redzepi’s restaurant Noma. The small restaurant is in the Copenhagen district of Christianshavn and holds two Michelin stars. It has consistently been in the top 3 restaurants of the world for over a decade.

As we did not plan to dine there we took a walk around the outside of the restaurant on our trip to Copenhagen. The building itself, an old warehouse, looks quite unassuming until you notice the restaurant’s own beehives and smoking houses. Along with the foodie fans trying to catch a glimpse of the famous head chef Rene Redzepi.

New Nordic Cuisine in Copenhagen - Noma

Noma is now one of many restaurants in Copenhagen celebrating New Nordic cuisine. Restaurant Geranium holding three Michelin stars and whose chef Rasmus Koefoed, recognised as the best in the world, is among them.

The cooking style is not restricted to fine dining however and there are many different styles of eateries at different price points featuring the cooking style in Copenhagen.

Here is a great list of New Nordic dining options in Copenhagen.

Unfortunately, we were not able to dine at Noma or Geranium on this occasion but we enjoyed some great examples of New Nordic cuisine at Manfreds and Mielcke & Hurtigkarl.

New Nordic restaurants in Copenhagen

Manfreds

Having arrived in Copenhagen just in time for lunch, we were glad we had chosen an apartment in the Nørrebro neighbourhood. A short walk down Jægersborgadde we found Manfreds, a cosy little restaurant with a self-professed love of vegetables. From a semi-open kitchen, we ate five dishes from the daily Chef’s Choice menu.

New Nordic Cuisine in Copenhagen - Manfreds

Each dish was incredibly well thought through in terms of flavour and texture. Manfred’s is certified as using 90-100% organic produce since 2013 and this respect for the produce used is evident in all the dishes we ate.

It was such a pleasure to eat the wholesome and delicious food with the knowledge so much care was taken over its provenance. The asparagus and mushroom dishes were standouts for me.

White asparagus was a feature of many of our meals in Copenhagen as it was in season and plentiful.

Manfred's Restaurant in Copenhagen

I always think a mark of an excellent restaurant is the freshness and quality of its bread. At Manfreds, bread is an important part of the meal and arrives warm to the table. The restaurant is also well-known for its natural and

The restaurant is also well-known for its natural and biodynamic wine list. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Manfreds and recommend a visit if you want to experience casual but excellent dining in Copenhagen. It is the type of restaurant I

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Manfreds and recommend a visit if you want to experience casual but excellent dining in Copenhagen. It is the type of restaurant I wish was around the corner from where we live in London.

Manfreds is open from 12:00pm each day

Mielcke & Hurtigkarl

We were celebrating my friend Julia’s significant birthday in Copenhagen so I wanted to dine at a restaurant that was special and representative of the food scene of the city.

Julia is a keen gardener so when it was suggested we dine at Mielcke & Hurtigkal located at the Royal Danish Horticultural Society’s garden at Frederiksberg, it was a moment of serendipity that had to be grabbed. The restaurant is elegant and gives the sense of being inside a garden wonderland.

It is beautiful but in no way stuffy. The emphasis is on an amazing dining experience and that is exactly what we got.

Fine dining in Copenhagen - dining room at Mielcke & Hurtigkarl

The food at Mielcke & Hurtigkarl is not classically New Nordic as the kitchen takes influence from cuisines around the world.

However, the emphasis on fresh and local ingredients means that the influence of the movement started in Copenhagen is strong. Flavours are clean, pure and fresh and enhance the produce used in each dish.

Selection of dishes from Copenhagen finite dining restaurant Mielcke & Hurtigkarl

We chose the five-course tasting menu. This ended up being more like ten courses of extremely beautiful and delicately flavoured food enjoyed over three hours.

I was not expecting to experience Asian flavours but was delighted by some of the dishes that took influence from Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.

My favourite dish of the night, however, was a perfect spear of white asparagus that had been dipped in a mussel reduction and rolled in the freshest of herbs.

I also had to report back to my husband that the razor clam with nuoc cham was an incredible dish. Razor clams are his favourite seafood.

Our meal included mainly vegetable and seafood dishes and was expertly balanced. The desserts were also light and emphasised fruit flavours such berries alongside a sheep’s milk ice cream.

A selection of five green hued macarons, each highlighting a different flavour was our final course. Among them, we tried shiso, lemon verbena and lovage.

Turbot peas redcurrant bergamot jelly - a dish from fine dining restaurant Mielcke and Hurtigkarl

This was a special occasion dinner and we really could not fault the food, atmosphere, service or wine. It is a meal we will be talking about for a very long time.

If you are interested in fine dining and would like to discover more about the food scene in Copenhagen, I would strongly recommend a visit.

Thanks to Caroline from Love Live Travel for the fantastic recommendation.

Mielcke and Hurtigkarl is open for dinner from 6pm Tuesday to Saturday.


New Nordic cuisine outside of Scandinavia

Do you want to try New Nordic cuisine but are unable to travel to Copenhagen? Here is a list of restaurants around the globe where you can try New Nordic influenced cuisine

London – Try Swedish trained chef Michael Jonsson’s restaurant Hedone in Chiswick

New York – The first venue in a series of offerings from Claus Meyer (who founded Noma) is Agern restaurant on 42nd Street. Meyer is also opening a New Nordic Food Hall in Grand Central Terminal.

Melbourne – At Attica, chef Ben Shewry has been celebrating local ingredients and techniques for many years. The restaurant is number 32 on a respected list of the world’s 50 best restaurants.


Is Nordic cuisine worth the hype?

The principles and ethos of New Nordic cuisine are attractive to many people in a world that is struggling with mass production and food waste.

With a focus on fresh, local ingredients and balanced nutrients, Nordic cuisine has unsurprisingly also been found to have health benefits by some nutritionists.

Copenhagen is one of the best places in the world to discover this way of cooking and we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Manfreds and Mielcke & Hurtigkarl.

In doing my research for our trip and this post I read an interesting perspective by a journalist who had been involved with Redzepi and Meyer in the early days of the new cuisine.

According to this writer,  the New Nordic movement is now a little stale and has been hijacked by restauranteurs and chefs that do not have the skill or vision of the original pioneers.

My opinion is that cooking that relies on fresh, straight from the garden vegetables and high-quality protein should be encouraged. You can learn more about New Nordic cuisine here.


Have you tried New Nordic cuisine? What did you think? Did it live up to the hype?


 

New nordic cuisine at Copenhagen restaurants Manfreds, Noma,

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44 Comments

  1. 7th June 2016 / 2:42 PM

    YUM! I haven’t been to Noma yet either, but would love to try Manfreds – thanks for showing me something in my own city – cheers from Copehagen – Erin

    • 7th June 2016 / 2:54 PM

      Hee hee. It’s so funny how everyone has a different experience of a city. Lovely Caroline took us to look at the outside of Noma and we actually spotted Rene Redzepi. It was quite funny as I took a photo as he stepped back inside. I felt like such a groupie!

  2. 7th June 2016 / 4:13 PM

    I was swooning throughout this entire post. The concept of New Nordic cooking with it’s appreciation for local, seasonal ingredients and use of traditional techniques is right up my alley. When you found an affordable place to sample some simple, flavourful dishes I was happy, but when I saw a stunning restaurant in a botanic gardens, I was overjoyed! I simply can’t wait to visit Copenhagen.

    • 7th June 2016 / 4:53 PM

      You will love Copenhagen Lauren. It’s such a fun and relaxed city with incredible food. Hope you make it there soon x

  3. 8th June 2016 / 5:23 PM

    What fabulous photos – my mouth is watering. When I visited Copenhagen, I was with my daughter who was not quite 18 months old, so we skipped these restaurants for something a bit more baby-friendly (although Denmark is very welcoming with kids, I thought Noma might be best for another time!). Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • 9th June 2016 / 8:55 AM

      Funny how our travels take on different flavours depending on our travelling situation. I visited Copenhagen with a pregnant friend so we weren’t able to do the bike riding and bar hopping we envisaged. So we pretty much ate and walked! I can’t wait to visit with the family and maybe without kids so we can do Noma!

  4. 9th June 2016 / 2:45 AM

    Thanks for the detailed restaurant descriptions. I especially like their emphasis on local, fresh and organic ingredients. I often enjoy watching a cooking show called “New Scandanavian Cooking” where the chefs prepare meals outdoors in breathtakingly beautiful locations.

    • 9th June 2016 / 9:06 AM

      Thanks for letting me know about the show Adrienne. I’m going to seek that out now. Thanks so much for dropping by 🙂

  5. 9th June 2016 / 8:53 AM

    Wow! I was in Copenhagen last summer, and I’m just kicking myself that I missed all these fab restaurants. I’m definitely bookmarking this post! I also saw a film on noma at the Berlin Film Fest this year and I’m totally obsessed with finally going there one day!

    • 9th June 2016 / 10:04 AM

      I definitely think Copenhagen deserves a second visit! I am reliably informed that Noma is moving to perhaps bigger premises in Christiana so it might be easier to get a reservation. Thanks for the tip on the film too Isobel

  6. 9th June 2016 / 11:00 AM

    I didn’t know anything about the Nordic cuisine before reading your post. I have been to Copenhagen for a day once but I didn’t go inside any of the restaurants because I found them very expensive. I did enjoy the street food however, those hot dogs with fried onions on top were amazing. 🙂

    • 9th June 2016 / 12:43 PM

      There’s always time for a hotdog!! Yum ?

  7. 9th June 2016 / 2:08 PM

    Thank you for these suggestions. I loved the New Nordic food when I was in Copenhagen last summer. I ate at Host, which was a spectacular experience. So many fascinating flavors and textures. Even if it’s not traditionally New Nordic, I would like to try Mielcke & Hurtigkarl. The setting is beautiful!

    • 9th June 2016 / 3:45 PM

      Ooh. Host sounds wonderful. One for next time! ?

  8. 9th June 2016 / 2:52 PM

    I’ve never really thought much about Scandinavian food, but I really enjoyed learning more about from your post! And the pictures of the food look fantastic!

    • 9th June 2016 / 3:44 PM

      Thanks Danielle x

  9. 9th June 2016 / 5:38 PM

    Wow! So much to taste in Copenhagen. I’m afraid that the last time I was there, I was a very broke student, and didn’t have the means (or the appreciation). I’d love to go back soon with all of these recommendations, particularly to Mielcke & Hurtigkarl! BTW, totally remember those butter cookies in the blue tin at Christmas!!

    • 9th June 2016 / 8:01 PM

      I am so with you Patricia. I am in the process of revisiting a lot of places I went to as an impoverished student and it’s a completely different experience. To this day I cannot eat a ham sandwich as that is what I lived on when I travelled around Europe in the 90s. They were great times but give me Truffle pizza and Mielcke & Hurtigkarl over ham sandwiches any day!

  10. 9th June 2016 / 7:45 PM

    The first time I learned about the Nordic cuisine trends was in a book (I think it was this book) highlighting the healthiest communities in the world. I think there was a specific village in a nordic country that participated in a dietary experiment shifting from really cholesterol-heavy diets full of dairy, and shifted more towards plant-based. It’s really interesting to see how it has evolved! I’m super interested in trying for myself, but don’t have a visit east planned any time soon 🙁 Hopefully I can stop in to the joint in NYC next time I’m in town! Did you have anything that was particularly outstanding that it s “must eat”?

    • 9th June 2016 / 7:57 PM

      Well Katie (great name by the way), I have to say the asparagus was simply amazing. We were there in peak asparagus season and therefore it was fresh and almost growing on our plate. We met up with another blogger who lives in Copenhagen. She took us to the street food market at Paper Island where we had an amazing duck burger. I’m still thinking about that burger!! Hope you make it to Denmark soon. I’m definitely planning another trip.

  11. 9th June 2016 / 11:24 PM

    I find Nordic food so different to anywhere else but I’d definitely be willing to give it a try, especially the seafood!

    • 10th June 2016 / 6:56 AM

      Mmm yum, seafood. It’s my favourite too

  12. 10th June 2016 / 2:29 AM

    Everything looks so fresh! I visited Stockholm a few years ago and I loved the food there- though this New Nordic cuisine looks much more plant based and fresh. I will definitely keep this in mind for my next visit to Scandinavia!

    • 10th June 2016 / 6:55 AM

      Thanks Nicole. While I like most people like a burger and fries occasionally, this type of eating feels so healthy and nutritious. Hope your next visit to Scandinavia is not in the too distant future

  13. 10th June 2016 / 8:21 AM

    Haven’t been to Scandanavia but it’s on my list. Noma is also a restaurant that comes with such a huge reputation and I am really wanting to go there. LOVED the photos, the food looks sensational and I honestly want to try them all. Noted for when I get there.

    • 10th June 2016 / 9:49 AM

      I just know you will have a great time in Copenhagen Kerri. I am hooked so we are planning an extended Scandi trip for next year. Thanks for your lovely comment!

  14. 12th June 2016 / 8:44 PM

    I love the tree in the restaurant! Amazing! I am a big fan of new Nordic cuisine…thanks for the background on it. I just wish we’d gone to Noma when we were in Copenhagen but didn’t want to drag my daughter along. #citytripping

    • 13th June 2016 / 3:19 PM

      Hmm yes, Noma is definitely a kid free zone 🙂

  15. 18th June 2016 / 5:27 PM

    Thanks Katy, now I need to buy a new keyboard my mouth was watering so much from those gorgeous photos! We’ll be in Copenhagen later this summer so we’ll be following up on these tips!

    • 19th June 2016 / 8:31 AM

      There is so much fantastic eating to be done in Copenhagen Jim. Thanks for your lovely comment

  16. 18th June 2016 / 9:38 PM

    The food looks amazing. Fresh local seasonal vegetables and seafood are high on my “eat often” list (not too hard to find where I live). I have not heard of New Nordic but I will try it if it comes across my plate.

    • 19th June 2016 / 8:32 AM

      I’m all for trying anything that’s fresh and local too Rhonda. Thanks for stopping by

  17. 19th June 2016 / 12:01 AM

    I love the concept behind New Nordic cuisine. I am waiting to go out for breakfast and you have built up my appetite.

  18. 22nd June 2016 / 1:32 PM

    Those mushrooms look interesting! All the rooms are quite impressive too. We also love the cookies in the blue tin ?

    • 22nd June 2016 / 2:40 PM

      Thanks Eileen. The mushrooms were delicious! As are those cookies. Once you pop one in your mouth it’s hard to stop there ?

  19. 20th July 2016 / 8:50 PM

    Great array of restaurants here for the food connoisseur. We are looking forward to visiting Copenhagen in January

    • 21st July 2016 / 9:12 AM

      Thanks Mark. Have a wonderful time in Copenhagen

  20. 21st July 2016 / 9:57 PM

    Yummy… It seems that the Nordic cuisine is deliciously healthy… I’d like to try some one day!

    • 22nd July 2016 / 9:15 PM

      I am sure you would love to experience New Nordic cuisine Stephanie. The concern for the provenance of ingredients and particular care in preparing vegetables means it really is a clean and healthy but delicious way of eating. Thanks for dropping by

  21. 22nd July 2016 / 7:00 AM

    Thanks to this post, I am now going to keep my eyes open for New Nordik food in India. Lovely pictures and description.

  22. 22nd July 2016 / 11:56 AM

    First time I’ve heard of the Nordic cuisine and now thanks to your post I want to try it! 🙂

    • 22nd July 2016 / 9:16 PM

      Thanks Lisa – healthy and delicious. It’s a must try!

  23. 22nd July 2016 / 8:02 PM

    I love the elegant garden atmosphere of the restaurant! Everything looked amazingly delicious.

    • 24th July 2016 / 9:43 AM

      Cathy I think I enjoyed the atmosphere so much because the restaurant was elegant but casual and a bit funky at the same time. It was a real treat. Thanks for stopping by

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