Stepping up the stairs to Rebel on Store Kongensgade we were a little intimidated at first by the silent and somewhat distant atmosphere. There were none of the oh-so-typical Copenhagen wooden tables, random chairs and candles, but instead black tables, white walls, minimalist decoration … and only a few candles. But that feeling quickly faded when we were helped out of our coats and welcomed with a delicious French sparkling rosé.
We opted for the set menu, ‘A Rebellious Evening’, which immediately begged the question asked to Marlon Brando in The Wild One, or at least rhetorically: “What are you rebelling against?” Well in this case, we didn’t reply “Whadda you got?” as we already knew it offered seven courses and extraordinary wine pairings. Which is good news if you like your vino.
Think outside the docks
We started with a fresh light salad with oysters, cucumbers and parmesan. It was a taste explosion that perfectly complemented the bubbly light wine.
This was followed by what proved to be my favourite dish retrospectively: light crab meat served in a traditional Danish way with young potatoes, dill and a lovely cauliflower sauce. The dish was surprisingly matched with an apple cider – a combination one wouldn’t have thought of, which worked amazingly well.
While waiting for the next course we took a little stroll around the two-storey restaurant that can hold around 60 people when it gets busy.
The restaurant was opened by Rasmus Oubaek five years ago and is now co-owned by his protégé Lars Pedersen, the head chef since 2013, during which time it has effortlessly established itself on the high-end food scene in Copenhagen.
Rebel’s philosophy is simple: serve good food using seasonal and regional ingredients. And its success is evident in the number of mentions it has enjoyed in the Michelin Guide. While another key component is the quiet atmosphere and subtle service that, as the menu states, includes “no waiters lingering at your table and pretending to be your best friend”.
Meat one’s match
Taking a break from my strictly vegetarian diet for one night, I indulged in a little meat party, starting with the third course. The fried baby corn with bone marrow and a chicken Anglaise was simply delicious and voted the top dish of the evening by my plus one.
The next plate was a splendid combination of Jerusalem artichokes – which according to Noma are a definite no-go at restaurants because they make your stomach rumble in a bad way, but are just too delicious to miss out on – with scallops and smoked cream.
Building up to the finale of the evening, the Rebel signature dish twisted our taste-buds. Their steak tartare is the one dish they never change on the menu – and we now know why. Served with a hint of mayonnaise and red berries, it makes a great sour-meaty fusion and there was not a speak left on the plate.
One might ask if a Dane could ever have a good meal without a little roast pork and of course the answer is no. The last warm dish was pork cheek served with beetroot, spinach and crackling – a deli version of the traditional dish and a tasteful last filling up of the stomach.
Applauding a genius
Even though we were almost bursting, there were still two things left to be tasted. The evening ended with a plate of Jutland cheese and a very nice dessert.
The surprising and delightful twist on Nordic cuisine and extraordinary wine pairing was a great experience. Rebel’s sommelier is a genius when it comes to wine. Every selection yielded a stunning fusion that greatly enhanced the dish and our overall enjoyment.
The food, wine and atmosphere definitely make it a night worth having for all the rebels out there who want to indulge in a taste sensation.