Encounter a real culinary contender on the waterfront
In 1999, when the city of Copenhagen witnessed the opening of the waterfront extension of the Royal Danish Library, it was not just receiving a monumental addition to its archaeological heritage, but also witnessing the birth of a fine eatery. For those who haven’t already guessed it, I am talking about restaurant Søren K located in the Black Diamond. Within just 13 years, this cosy dining room in the library has earned a reputation as one of the top modern Nordic kitchens in the country.
Just as the restaurant is not unfamiliar to the diners of the city, over the years the place has also acquainted itself with all the major food critics of the region. Having received many an accolade, the restaurant outdid itself when it was chosen as one of the Conde Nast Travellers’ top 100 restaurants in the world in 2001, merely two years on from first opening its doors. At a time when the current fanaticism of serving seasonal, local or organic was less prevalent, Søren K was the ‘stock-less kitchen’ that simply served a pick of the day. As a restaurant that has been ahead of the game from the beginning, Søren K has assumed the role of the mature patron who sets the trends and is now in the process of finding the next big thing.
As I made my way, along with my dining partner, to the restaurant on my evening there, I couldn’t help being overcome by the magnificence of the building that captures you even more in the evenings when the atmosphere is rather tranquil. But stepping into the welcoming setting of Søren K, this majestic feeling is replaced with one of warmth and comfort, while the backdrop of the water adds a dash of romance to the ambience. Not a second too late, the waiting staff shows us to our waterside table.
As we settled into our seats, placed in front of us was a serving of Marinated scallops in crown dild aquavit, served with mayonnaise and fried capers. Accompanying this scrumptious starter was a fine glass of 2009 Riesling Bollenberg Zusslin Alsace. As we devoured the last of the starters, I took a second to take in the outer surroundings of the restaurant. On the one side of Søren K spreads historic city of Copenhagen, with the various churches and towers filling the skyline, while to the other side is a display of fine modern architecture, proof of the growth and expansion of the city.
The second course served to us was Turbot served in lobster bisque. For this creamy course we were poured a glass of 2010 chardonnay Sur la Roche, Macon-Vergisson. While the fish was cooked to perfection, the creamy sauce complemented it perfectly to form a fine concoction that almost melted in our mouths.
The main course was the Veal with sweetbread, smoked red onions, Jerusalem artichoke and sauce borderlaise. To wash it down was a 2008 pinot noir, vieilles vignes santenay, Bourgogne.
For dessert, the smiling waitress served us a quince-chocolate fondant with dried raspberries and sea buckthorn sorbet. The beverage was a 2006 ganeche, maury. An elegant finish to a perfectly elegant evening.
At a time when many gourmet upscale restaurants are struggling, it was interesting to see that Søren K has no such problems. But unlike its competitors, Søren K is not about numbers – the seating has been limited to a maximum of 70 for a la carte menu.
This in no way reflects the capacity of the kitchen of the restaurant. I was told that on a daily basis, the kitchen serves about 3,000 guests between lunch and dinner, with the kitchen also preparing the meals served in the café of the library during the day.
In short, Søren K has all the attributes one would expect of a modern Nordic gourmet restaurant with French influences, but what might take most guests by surprise are the prices. For a Nordic kitchen, that has just been officially given the Michelin Bib Gourmand, the prices are definitely affordable. This and its key location within the Black Diamond definitely puts the experimental kitchen at the cutting edge of excellent fine dining in Denmark.
Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1, 1221 Cph K; 3347 4949
Open: Mon-Sat 12:00-24:00, Closed 16:00-17:00 & Sun
Cuisine: Modern Nordic with French influences
Top Dish: Fish of the day
Price Range: Mains 150-250kr