High expectations joyfully met in showcase of shocking simplicity
Geranium restaurant rocks- it was to be expected really
A sports stadium and a construction site: not where you would expect to find a double Michelin-starred restaurant until you see the thread-like, slightly weathered letters spell out ‘Geranium’ on Parken’s (the Danish national stadium) façade.
If you don’t judge a restaurant by its exterior, do start in the elevator: clean and purposeful, it takes you as far from the nondescript ground floor as any lift in Copenhagen will.
Eight floors up you will enjoy a birds-eye-view of green tree tops, red-brick roof tiles and – on a clear day – the blue of the Øresund as distinct from the sky.
Lest this be dizzying, the interior is entirely down-to-earth. Robust and justified, the furnishings adhere to Scandinavia’s favourite (non-)colour palette: white table tops, grey Georg Jensen cutlery and black counter tops.
You’re in safe hands
With a bearing that is a remarkable blend of stern and friendly, the staff (waiters, runners, managers and cooks) help you out of your coats and to your table, at which you remain until a waiter invites you to accompany him to the kitchen for a little surprise.
It is here, under the auspices of owner and head chef Rasmus Kofoed’s three Bocuse d’Or trophies (bronze-silver-gold), that you enjoy your first dessert.
Clear your schedule. There is a ‘light lunch’ option set for two hours, but it took us a comfortable three and a half to complete, and if you go with the standard set menu (lunch or dinner), you’ll be glad about the comfortable chairs.
Four hours may not sound like particularly much for a restaurant visit until you consider that at Geranium you never wait longer than a few minutes for the next course – 19 of them in our case.
The odyssey begins
Especially at the beginning of our lunch, when the appetisers were being served, I could see that the next dish was waiting for us to stop marvelling at the current one. And that is easier said than done.
I haven’t enjoyed confectionary in my adult life the way I adored the little carrot ball with sea buckthorn, nor did I expect to encounter mackerel coated in dill when I first eyed what looked like a plain old olive.
But while surprises were a plenty as we wandered through the menu, none of them were demanding. Unlike Noma, Geranium doesn’t try to provoke. It doesn’t challenge your beliefs about food or disrupt your senses.
It ‘just’ pleases with its shocking simplicity, elaborate layers of flavours and artful plating. I never thought I’d sympathise with people who eat with their cameras first.
That most ingredients, including the edible flowers, are seasonal and sourced from within 100 miles goes without saying in the context of New Nordic Cuisine.
Another high note of this food philosophy: if for whatever reason you do not want to have sommelier Søren Ledet pair the wines for you, try the home-made juice pairing option.
My favourite was the tarragon-infused grape juice, which expertly accompanied the scallops in juniper aroma.
We left the restaurant with light stomachs and heavy hearts. Having tried Geranium’s handpicked version, scallops will never taste the same again.
Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 8th floor, Cph Ø; open Wed-Sat; lunch menu 1,250kr, dinner menu 1,500kr; 6996 0020, geranium.dk