You’ve probably heard the phrase New Nordic cuisine thrown around if you’re a foodie who can’t get enough of the Michelin-restaurant scene. In 2004, a group of 12 chefs led by Danish chef Claus Meyer created the New Nordic Kitchen Manifesto, which marked the beginning of a new era in Nordic cuisine. They shed light on issues such as food quality, season, ethics, health, sustainability, and purity. But rather than reinventing Nordic cuisine, they aimed to restore it to its origins. The use of organic, locally sourced ingredients is highly valued in new Nordic cooking, which also favours a return to more time-honored cooking techniques like pickling. It also strongly supports an ethical approach to the entire culinary lifecycle. The movement took off with a number of well-known restaurants, most notably Noma and Geranium. However, trying New Nordic cuisine shouldn’t necessarily come with a hefty price tag (a meal at Geranium costs 3,800 DKK, compared to 3,500 DKK for a set menu at Noma). New Nordic menus are increasingly available in many restaurants and cafes today, not just upscale ones. Here are some of the best affordable alternatives.
Høst, Danish for harvest, is a great spot for those wanting an introduction to the New Nordic cuisine, but without the hefty price tag. Recycled wood, granite, concrete, and zinc are used in the restaurant’s design by Norm Architects and Menu, who also used plaids and lambskin on the chairs and benches to create a cosy atmosphere and balance out the restaurant’s raw aesthetic. Don’t be put off by the Nordic-sounding menu – Høst’s set three-course menu (priced at 395 DKK) with wine pairing (an additional 295 DKK) is a steal.
Photography courtesy of Høst
Formel B, a popular restaurant in Copenhagen with a Michelin star, has a younger, hipper brother named Uformel. The kitchen team collaborates closely with its suppliers, who are primarily modest Danish producers who value sustainability and the environment. Uformel admires and respects the idea of New Nordic cuisine, but it doesn’t want to be constrained in how it approaches food, drawing ideas from around the world. The Uformel Experience is 550 DKK for four courses.
Photography courtesy of Uformel
The original Noma location is now home to Barr, a restaurant created by chef Thorsten Schmidt, a 40-year-old German-born Danish chef sometimes referred to as the Nordic Alchemist. Here, at the unpretentious quayside eatery with wood-clad walls, Schmidt offers his own version of elevated comfort food with a distinct New Nordic twist (and the occasional outcast, like the schnitzel, which has been named the best in Copenhagen). Additionally, there are 20 craft beers on tap.
Photography courtesy of Barr
Urban-cool, informal restaurant Radio, named after the former headquarters of national Danish broadcaster DR next door, is located a little off the beaten track. Radio is “Nordic-minded,” but does not strictly abide by the dogmas outlined in the New Nordic manifesto. It was created in 2011 by Claus Meyer, the father of the New Nordic Cuisine, and chef Jesper Kirketerp. Instead, in an effort to add a little extra flair, the dishes on the mostly vegetable-based menu are enhanced with Mediterranean and Asian flavours.
Photography courtesy of Radio
Marv & Ben, or marrow and bone in English, has gained fame in Copenhagen for its emphasis on straightforward classics presented in a creative manner while still being flavorful. The menu is largely seasonal and draws heavily from what is available in Denmark, as is the case with most New Nordic eateries. The eatery claims that everything on the menu is Danish and that it is a priority to purchase ingredients as locally as possible to Copenhagen. A large portion of what the chefs use is grown in the restaurant’s own garden. Organic and biodynamic wines are offered. At times referred to as having a gastro-pub atmosphere, Marv & Ben strives for a laid-back atmosphere.
Photography courtesy of Marv & Ben
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