With over 14,000 km between Australia and Denmark, you would be forgiven for wondering how the outback-inspired cuisine of Reef N’ Beef made the intrepid journey to the Scandi-shorelines of Copenhagen.
The restaurant was started 28 years ago by two French brothers, who after having trotted around the globe seeking out culinary inspiration finally settled in the Danish capital. Their vision was to establish the first Australian restaurant in Europe, and they continue to introduce diners to the wild and exotic cuisine of the Oceanic country to this day.
A cultural fusion
Reef N’ Beef, primly located in the tourist hub of downtown Copenhagen, welcomes a steady flow of visitors and locals who add to the cultural mix of the establishment.
Over the chatter of multiple languages, the attentive and knowledgeable staff outline the new concept menu – a selection of four tasting dishes – which is perfect for the indecisive diner who prefers to sample a variety of different options.
Single dishes begin at 150 kroner, but on our visit we opted for the cheaper of the two three-course menus on offer, the Kakadu Explorer (355kr), which is accompanied by various Australian wine pairings for an extra 265 kroner.
Croc cake’s a ripper
No trip Down Under would be complete without trying some of the classic bush meats that Reef N’ Beef so pride themselves on. We didn’t have long to anticipate the arrival of our first dish: a crocodile cake placed on a bed of rocket accompanied by coriander mustard foam and bush tomato compote with juniper red wine drizzled over the top.
The crocodile – a creamy white meat, similar in texture to crab – contrasted well with the bitter rocket base and the addition of the rich tomato compote. A pairing of a white Peter Lehmann wine hailing from Adelaide was recommended for its zesty overtones and peachy aromas.
My gal pal opted for the seared salmon with pink peppercorns, wattle seeds, aubergine tartare and anis dressing. The freshness of the dish’s flavours and the lightness of the fish suggest this selection might be better placed on a summer menu.
It’s Feb-roo-ary after all!
Our bush tucker trial continued down the food chain, halting at the kangaroo. The tender red fillet taken from the back muscle of the animal, wrapped in Serrano ham and seasoned with wild thyme, was succulent and rich.
A potato fondant and red wine sauce accompanied the meat, deepening the velveteen texture and the intensity. A wine pairing from the Barossa Valley, the Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre blend, offered further hints of spice and earthiness to the meal.
The dining experience was rounded off by not one, but three desserts. Set off by the zing of fresh berries and fruits, the creamy Trio De Panacotta – wild berries, kiwi and mango – was beautifully presented on a rustic slate tile that further added to the naturalistic feel of the place.
Something for Sheila
No ladies night out is complete without a cocktail. An extensive bar situated at the front of the restaurant offers passing punters a wide selection of classic drinks and house cocktails (starting from 89kr).
The ‘Down Under’ comes highly recommended as a reef cocktail winner. Its fresh fusion of strawberries and lime combined with cane sugar – topped with creamy vanilla liquor, vodka and guava juice – makes it a perfectly delicious climax to the evening.