Welcome to an edible story,” declares the card handed to guests upon arrival at 1.th, and the experience is precisely that: an evening of creativity, with food as the star. Owner Mette Martinussen (also well known for Madeleine’s Food Theatre) has relaunched 1.th’s concept of a unique journey, marrying incredible food and intriguing performance to create ‘Metamorphoses’, a tale of transformation incorporating the myths of Pyramus and Thisbe, Narcissus, and Daedalus and Icarus.
Set in a cosy apartment, on a small street tucked in behind iconic Nyhavn, 1.th looks and feels nothing like a restaurant, and the evening is anything but a typical dining experience. With each seating limited to fewer than 20 guests, 1.th instead offers the intimate feel of a dinner party, and the result is memorable and nothing less than magical.
The evening begins
Upon arrival, guests mingle in the foyer while enjoying a warming hot toddy, the anticipation of what lies beyond the door growing. On entering the stylish yet cosily appointed apartment, the lights are dim, ambient music plays, and there is a feeling of an old murder mystery in the air.
A woman dressed in old-fashioned pink lace sits in the corner, hands dripping with ‘blood’, offering a wide-eyed gaze to anyone who looks her way. She is one of a pair of performance artists who will serve as our silent guides through the evening – an unsettling yet intriguing duo who add to the wonder of what will happen next.
We are offered bubbly and hors d’oeuvres, ranging from the traditional pølsehorn pastry to the innovative ‘Green stone of salmon’, which is served in a bowl of pebbles and almost doesn’t look edible, but is deliciously fresh and flavourful.
It’s not just the food that’s innovative – the manner in which it’s presented can be completely unexpected. It’s this air of mystery and surprise that draws you into the event and makes it so magical, and so, like a theatre reviewer would never give away the ending of a play, I won’t reveal all of Metamorphoses’s secrets. It’s something that must be experienced without expectation.
Dinner is served
The doors to the dining room are dramatically opened, and guests take their seats at the banquet table in preparation for the sumptuous meal ahead. It begins with a creamy potato puree with a salty foam, which looks thoroughly assuming yet is bursting with flavour, then moves on to a warm cabbage and roquefort salad and a delicious course of gently baked cod and octopus.
The style of seating encourages conversation, and it flows readily, as does the wine. Between each course, diners are taken away and led one by one on their own journey – a mystifying but compelling experience. The unveiling of the main course is a show in itself – highly choreographed with an ingenious use of lighting.
The food is surprisingly rustic and served family style: tender slices of perfectly cooked beef in a fantastic jus; a savoury pie with beef simmered in dark ale and herbs and surrounded by a buttery, flaky crust; an endive and lemon verbena salad; raw and baked beetroot with macadamia nut; and glazed carrot; and artichoke cooked in wine and butter.
The final act
With only the dessert remaining, the diner assumes that the performance is coming to a close, only to have the final course emerge to become the most incredible experience of the evening.
It’s presented in a completely novel and captivating way, and the flavours and textures – citrus, coconut and honeycomb, the creamy, crunchy and sweet – live up to the novelty of the experience. It’s transcendent, and we happily indulge in silence, greedily devouring each bite.
We retire to the living room for a soothing coffee or tea and after-dinner conversation, until gradually the satisfied guests make their way out of the warmth of 1.th and into the cold night.
1.th offers two evenings: ‘Den lange’ (the long) is offered on Friday and Saturday nights and runs for four hours at a cost of 1,495 kroner per person; and ‘Den korte’ (the short) is available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, taking 2.5 hours at a cost of 1,095 kroner.
Bookings are essential and can be made at 1th.dk. The evening is prepaid, and includes welcome beverages and hors d’oeuvres, the meal and accompanying wines, after-dinner coffee and tea, and of course the experience itself – one that’s not to be missed.
A fellow guest summed the evening up perfectly as we concluded the fabulous meal: after speaking only Danish for the entire evening, she sighed deeply and contentedly, declaring in English to the world at large: “What a feast!”
It was, and so much more.