Brotherly love to our tummies is “yummy” say happy mummies
I’ve always wondered how 15th century society functioned with everyone from monks and queens to merchants and small children guzzling beer and wine all day long, but perhaps this weekend I came across the answer.
On a rainy, autumnal evening my friend and I headed out to dinner at BROR. I’d twice tried to get a table at this newish restaurant in the Latin Quarter, but following a rave review in Politiken free seats are hard to come by.
The fact that we had secured a place and that this was our big night out to celebrate babies moving on to bottles (and hence us hitting the bottle too) meant we were girlishly giddy with excitement.
BROR, the Danish word for brother, was opened this summer by Victor Wågman and Sam Nutter, who first met at the Vinery restaurant in Bristol and then honed their skills as sous chefs at Noma. They chose the name because it symbolises care, respect and honesty – values they hope to build their restaurant upon. The name also conjures up notions of teamwork and comfort, and it is these two sentiments that first struck us as we entered BROR.
Looking around, the décor isn’t fussy: wooden tables lit by bare light-bulbs, a small, semi-open kitchen and cutlery, napkins and menus stuffed in a bucket on the table. YMCA blares from the ‘70s radio station accompanied by the animated talk of our 40 or so fellow diners.
The concept behind the menu, like at other Noma spin-offs such as Manfreds and Pony, is celebrating seasonal ingredients sourced from within northern Europe. At BROR you can either order the chef’s menu or pick à la carte dishes ranging in price from 40-170kr. We start with a selection of snacks presented and explained to us by the chefs, who while enthusing about the food are also incredibly humble. Dehydrated beets with their tell-tale chewiness served on peppered crème fraiche and topped with sorrel snow is a light, refreshing and clever prologue.
Next arrives the Breaded ox testicles with tartar sauce, which could be mistaken for a gimmick if it wasn’t for the silkiness of the meat. KFC nuggets are like road-kill in comparison. Delicate squid poached in a creamy white wine sauce is aptly served in a dainty old teacup followed by Danish mackerel lightly cured with kelp, garnished with sorrel and devoured (entirely) once dipped into an egg yolk. Divine.
Next to arrive is the showstopper, a wolfish head from which the cheek meat has been scooped out, seasoned, cooked then stuffed back into the canopy. It looked awesome. Intimidating even. But it’s actually our least favourite and lacks the unusual taste combinations of the others.
What followed was an ambush of fantastically fresh and interesting dishes. The Courgettes with cured cod with toasted seeds and nasturtium in a whey source and the Wood-smoked squid with roasted kohlrabi were delicious, especially if you piled up your fork and ate musketeer style. The BROR take on Peking duck with lamb and a multitude of condiments wrapped in a pancake was okay, while the Yoghurt splattered with baked carrot and wafer thin sweet, salty, chewy shortbread nearly made a casualty of my dress zip.
The food is experimental but not pretentious, delicious but also filling, and whereas with the Nomas of this world, one visit may be enough, with BROR you would come back. Especially seeing as it is incredibly good value for money and the menu is frequently updated.
A further reason to visit is the extensive wine list. Served by Alexander Elsner, the incredibly zealous sommelier, it consists of only natural wine. So no pesticides or fertilisers on the growing grapes, but also no sulphur, artificial yeast, sugar, salt, synthetic additives or flavourings added during the winemaking process. It’s an acquired taste and best to ask Elsner to match your wine to your food choices. Our favourite was the intensely bitter Gamay by Pascal Simonutti, but there were misses too.
Best of all we discovered that natural wine, like that of the 15th century, left us miraculously hangover free. Giddy girls could wake up the next day as happy mummies. Now that’s what I call brotherly love.
Sankt Peders Stræde 24A, Cph K
Open: Wed-Sun 17:30-00:00,
last seating at 21:30; 3217 5999
Cuisine: northern European
Top Dish: Wood-smoked squid
Price Range: five-course menu 350kr, wine menu 325kr