Restaurant review: With a rebel yell you’ll cry “More, more, more!”
Store Kongensgade is one of Copenhagen’s most prestigious, upscale and chic areas with class and elegance on almost every corner. Everything screams ‘posh’. But now there is a renegade in its midst: the culinary delights of Restaurant Rebel, a French gourmet bistro that is standing apart from its counterparts and following its own little culture.
Proud chef and co-owner Lars Pedersen humbly describes Rebel as a gourmet bistro-style restaurant that is all about classic French food, served in smaller yet more visual portions. According to him, Rebel does not want to follow any dogmatic food culture but just serve good seasonal food. Pedersen, who trained as a chef at Rebel under the previous owner Rasmus Oubaek, co-owns the restaurant with chef Martin Hylleborg. Since taking over from Oubaek and reopening the place in 2010, both Pedersen and Hylleborg have been striving to revamp Rebel into a more upmarket brasserie. They have however maintained the rusticity and quirks in order to break away from the formal dining set-up that is seen in most other restaurants in the area.
Rebel is truly a breath of fresh air for those who are tired of frequenting restaurants that require certain decorum. You might not feel it upon entering the restaurant, which is split over two levels, with eating upstairs and a kitchen in the basement. But once you’re settled in your seats with a nice glass of Andre Beaufort champagne, one begins to notice the details that set Rebel apart. The relaxed waiters who are present to answer all your questions but know when to leave you to enjoy your meal and dining company, the rustic yet simple furnishings, the cutlery that don’t necessarily match but adds to the cool factor and, above all, the laid-back atmosphere.
The restaurant appeals to everyone, but most particularly to lovers of French food and wine. Each wine is selected with utmost care to complement the accompanying dish, without overpowering it or undermining the flavours. For wine lovers who like to get more information, the waiting staff are well informed and can offer an insight into the grape, vineyard and company producing the wine.
For those who are looking for a real culinary adventure and are brave enough, I recommend Rebel’s signature eight-course meal. The grand soiree begins with serving of cured scallops cooked in two ways dressed with celery and soy – a great light start that is followed by veal tongue dressed on a setting of horseradish, capers and crispy rye bread. Not sooner have your tastebuds been tickled, you are then served hake with Jerusalem artichoke, and chorizo with a splash of browned butter.
Just when you begin to get a sense of what to expect, you are served the scandalous steak tartar with pickled berries and herbs mayo. I had always been a bit wary of steak tartar until I tasted Rebel’s. The dish is perfectly balanced and has just enough flavours to tone down the taste of raw meat for those of you who are not a fan of it. The tanginess of the pickled berries is a perfect accompaniment to the meat. The excitement continues with the next course: a perfectly cooked duck leg with corn and glaze. The duck while crispy on the outside is tender on the inside. The next course is onglet beef steak with beetroot and leek.
There follows a selection of Danish cheese, some of which can be quite strong, followed by a sweet course of vanilla ice cream, topped with hazelnut on a bed of blueberries. Coffee is then served for those who wish it with sweets.
As you can probably imagine, one does not leave Rebel feeling unsatisfied. What one does leave with is a dining experience that has a wonderful aftertaste.
Store Kongensgade 52, Cph K;
3332 3209, email@example.com
Open: Tue-Sat 17:30-00:00
Top Dish: Beef tartar with
pickled berries and herbs mayo
Price Range: set menus for
349 or 429kr