How lucky can one person be to have an appointment with one of Denmark’s most talented chefs in his restaurant on the eighth floor on a sunny Thursday?!
I consider myself pretty lucky once I set foot into Geranium, a restaurant that offers an exquisite taste experience, beautiful interior, a stunning view over Copenhagen and impeccable service. I never made “40 things to do before 40′ list which is too late now, however, if I had, this experience should have been on my list.
I am shown to a table near the kitchen which is called “The George Clooney” table, a good start to the experience. And throughout the meal, I am waited on, as if I am, well maybe not George Clooney, but someone pretty special. Because I am sitting so close to the kitchen I can keep up with the small details, the atmosphere and the work rhythm among the chefs and I witness a piece of well-oiled machinery. Later I am told that there was a small accident in the kitchen, something I didn’t notice even though I basically sat on the chefs’ laps.
The kitchen wasn’t part of the restaurant when Geranium first opened. However, as there was a great demand for tables that would allow diners to watch the chefs’ work, the beautiful kitchen is now designed in a way that allows all guests to have an almost front row seat. Of course, an open kitchen requires some rules. Rasmus says there is no running or loud talking in his kitchen. There is also a quirky but all-important dress code in place: all staff must wear black socks on weekdays but are encouraged colorful socks on Saturdays. Another faux pas or rather an almost mortal sin in this kitchen: a chef must not loose their personal tweezers ever. To prevent this from happening, each outfit has a designated tweezer pocket on the sleeve. In addition, everyone has to wear a chef’s hat except for Rasmus himself. He admits with a grin that he likes for guests to know immediately who the boss is.
The changing seasons are the starting point of Rasmus’ inspiration for the menu at Geranium. The dishes are a break from traditional dishes with gravy and potatoes, almost a culinary therapy from the normal. Rasmus wants to give guests an opportunity to try something different.
From the dishes I am served, it was clear that the staff beforehand spent a lot of hours cleaning, watering, sauteeing, picking, burning, blending, fermenting, baking, pickling, brushing, souring, smoking, drying, decorating, slicing, whipping, sipping, roasting, melting, grilling, freezing dipping, reducing, spraying, boiling, tasting, changing everything a bit and then tasting again. It almost feels wrong to eat the little masterpieces of art that are being set in front of me, but you do what you gotta do.
Well then, do I want to tell you what my favorite dish was? Yes, it was the caviar. Or maybe the vegetarian dish with cabbage and truffles? Or… It is so hard to choose but no, the caviar wins the race. In addition to not having seen such an impressive plate and serving before, this dish tasted like kissing a mermaid – in a good way of course.
The small black eggs almost float in a glass bowl, and together with wheat milk that Rasmus adds at the table, it becomes an overwhelming taste experience.
While eating my caviar I think of Goldie Hawn in Overboard: “Andrew, caviar should be round, hard and at an adequate size, and should burst into your mouth at the exact right moment.” I clearly never tasted real caviar before, but now I know what Goldie meant.
Instead of a wine pairing, I choose the juice menu which becomes a delightful and different surprise: apples, lemon thyme, cherries, söl, Jerusalem artichokes, blackberries, rhubarb, pears, and prunes are lifted to a higher level of taste.
I watch as egg white was whipped to foam to create a dream of a feather-light apple drink. And how beech chips are burned to give smoked flavor to a blackberry drink which compliments the meat dish. In hindsight, I am glad that I came by car because otherwise I might have chosen wine instead of the most unique juice pairing ever.
Looking around during a private tour of the kitchen and storage facilities, I can see that herbs and flowers are clearly the star of Geranium, carefully stored and guarded. While there is a cool room for meat storage it is surprisingly small which makes sense when looking at the menu more closely: extremely few meat dishes but lots of fish and vegetables. In fact, it is only when I look into the cooler room with delicious dangling hams, that it dawns on me, how little meat I actually ate during the 18 dishes served and how little I missed it. A truly sustainable meal and one that has become the highlight on my non-existent “40 before 40” bucket list.
Artwork: Maria Blok Hansen #lovetokrea – Text: Maria Blok Hansen + Annika Ziehen #midnightblueelephant