Restaurant Geranium has been on my bucket list for a while now. Executive Chef/Owner Rasmus Kofoed is the only three-time medalist of the prestigious, biennial Bocuse d’Or world-chef championship with a gold medal win in 2011. The two-Michelin starred restaurant is perched on the 8th floor of Parken in Fælledparken (Common Gardens) with floor-to ceiling panoramic views from the sweeping, open space. And despite its expansive exterior city views, the main focus of the eyes throughout your Geranium visit will be on the kitchen and the whimsical offerings arriving on the dining room table. Chef Kofoed’s dishes are exquisite, elegant and a gastronomic feast for all senses. Geranium is what a seamless fine dining experience is all about and Chef Kofoed and co-owner Søren Ledet, a Sommelier and accomplished chef himself have created a restaurant where the beauty and refinement of the cuisine matches the space and service.
Here are photos from my ‘Geranium Winter Universe’ dinner with both wine and juice pairings.
We started off dinner with a glass of Champagne along with five signature snacks.
2009 Marguet, Grand Cru Ambonnay, Champagne
Jersualem Artichoke Leaves, Walnut Oil & Rye Vinegar. The paper thin leaves were delicate and light to the touch with a distinct artichoke flavor hitting the tongue and quickly melting in the mouth. Winter has deliciously arrived.
Tomato Water, Melted Lard & Aromatic Flowers
Even with a hint of lard, the combination of the floral petals and tomato water created a wonderfully balanced dish that was clean and light on the palate.
Lobster, Milk & Fermented Carrot Juice
Charred Potato in Aroma from Bark & Sheep’s Butter – this is a signature Chef Kofoed dish. I first tried it when he cooked at Meadowood’s Twelve Days of Christmas and couldn’t wait to reconnect with it again.
“Dillstone” Horseradish & Frozen Juice from Pickled Dill (horseradish not pictured). The display of the “dillstone” with its bright green hue and silky, smooth texture provoked a connection to the sea not only visually, but for my taste buds and mind as well. The cool and subtle flavor of the sea reminded me of walks on the beach collecting sea shells and watching the sunset. It was nostalgic.
“Razor Clam” – Chef Kofoed’s famous dish has inspired many with his expertise in the trompe l’oeil style of dish presentation. It’s remarkable how realistic he creates his dishes to look so much like items from the earth (stones, razor clams rocks, stone). True artistry.
This was also the last appetizer course.
2012 Les Limozin, Mersault, Bernard Bonin, Bourgogne
Oyster & Sea Urchin, Juniper Oil, Soup with Dried Oyster & Local Smoked Cheese
Chef Kofoed and team in the Geranium open kitchen. Despite a kitchen crew of many, there is a calm and peaceful fluidity in the space that transfers onto the dishes.
In the next month, they will be restructuring the space and relocating the kitchen so the entire dining room will be able to have a view of it from wherever they are seated.
Sea urchin tarts in the forefront with mementos from the sea in the background.
Grilled Oyster in Seaweed with Dried Oyster Soup
Chef Rasmus Kofoed plating the Salted Hake with Parsley Stems & Finnish Kaviar in Buttermilk. This dish is stunning. My dining partner and I were in awe of the display of the hake which showed up at the table looking like a perfect, circular cut-out piece of white carrara marble. I failed to snap a picture quick enough before it was lusciously dressed with the caviar, buttermilk and parsley, but you can view it here.
The fact that the entire staff, including the kitchen are involved in synchronistically presenting and explaining dishes at the table is a warm and pleasant personal touch.
No surprise that Geranium’s Hake dish recently won ‘Dish of the Year from the Sea’ in Denmark.
2012 Morstein Reisling GG, Weingut Wittmann, Rheinhessen
Crispy Grains, Bread with Old Grains & Gluten Free Bread with Seeds and homemade butter
View of the bread course and the open kitchen
It’s rare that a restaurant voluntarily includes a gluten-free bread so this was a welcome addition. The trio of breads were served as a main-course dish which is also rarely seen. This was a nice touch since so often, the bread becomes an after thought of …”do I have room to even eat that?” or “maybe I shouldn’t eat that to save room for the other food.”
Assistant Head Chef Will King-Smith putting the finishing touches on the Leeks, Melted Pork Fat, Salted Ramson & Melted “Vesterhavs” Cheese dish. After four years in the Geranium kitchen, this was Chef King-Smith’s last week of service. I’m happy I got to experience his cooking and presence while he was still there. I have no doubt that he’ll go on to do great things as well.
Leeks, Melted Pork Fat, Salted Ramson & Melted “Vesterhavs” Cheese.
It was refreshing to see the use of Danish cheese along with the repeat focus on the local terroir and regional elements in the Geranium dishes.
2004 Robert Fleury Extra Brut, Fleury, Champagne
Scallop, Scallop Roe, Sour Berries & Chamomile
Juice Pairings at Geranium included:
Green Apple & Elderflower
Gooseberry & Sunflower Seeds
Black Currant & Juniper
Elderberries & Pine
Blueberries & Pine
Prune & Pilsner Malt
I wish more restaurants would offer juice pairings. It seems very common in Copenhagen, having also opted for it at Noma, but I haven’t seen it readily available at other spots around the world. Perhaps it’s not as in demand since Copenhagen seems to be a very juice-centric city but I do think it’d be a welcomed option for those who don’t drink as much alcohol. 2010 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Casa Emma, Toscana
Next came the Wild Duck in Two Servings which arrived with a verbal note from kitchen: “be careful for bullets”. Since the duck is hunted wild, it’s a wise warning since there is a great chance of finding one. Thank goodness my dining companion found one instead of me, because I was picturing a gold, arrow shaped, shiny bullet (no, obviously not a hunter) where in reality it was a very small dark pellet. I probably would’ve thought it was a dense caper or peppercorn and broke my tooth. Even though I personally didn’t find it, it was admittedly quite exciting.
Smoked Wild Duck Leg, Pickled Green Elderberries & Truffle from Gotland
2011 Howell Mountain, Herb Lamb Vineyards, California
Wild Duck Breast with Grilled Pear, Wood Sorrel & Sour Pine
After the last savoury course, we took a tour of the Geranium space and setting.
Søren Ledet – Restaurant Director, Sommelier and Co-owner gave us a tour of the Geranium wine room which boasts the largest Champagne selection in Scandinavia. I’m usually claustrophobic, but being a Champagne lover, I did have fantasies of getting locked in there.
The wine room is home to many bottled treasures . The pairings were fantastic, but don’t ignore the wine list. It’s impressive and sure to delight even the most discriminating wine connoisseur.
Oui. Oui. Oui. Oui.
Geranium Inspiration Kitchen interior. In addition to testing recipes and family meals, larger groups are welcome to host events and dine in this creative and intimate space.
Geranium is all about the intricate details and there is no space left unturned. Chef Rasmus Kofoed’s connection to nature is visibly sprinkled throughout the entire restaurant.
Søren offers us a sampling from the meat locker and we say yes please, of course.
Here’s another room I wouldn’t mind being temporarily locked in, although if I did, it would be ideal if there was an adjoining door between this and the wine room. The hanging protein in this meat locker resembled a carnivorous jewel box. Everything was perfectly placed and meticulously showcased.
Silhouette of Bibendum and a headshot of Kofoed spotted in the Inspiration Kitchen
2013 Sämling 88 Beerenauslese, Tsuchida, Burgenland, Austria
Desserts started off with Beeswax Ice Cream, Pollen & Honey with Cloudberries
Dried Apples with Elderberries, Beetroots and Cider Apple with a Sheep’s Yoghurt which was sprinkled at the table like delicate falling snow.
The contrasting color of the wines and juices were a lovely sight to behold. 2011 Vin de France, Automne, Gaëlle Berriau, Loire
“Naked Tree” dessert with Dark Beer, Prune & Cream with Smoked Beechwood
Geranium’s dishes are a true reflection of nature. I’m someone who spends a lot of time at the sea and in the woods, and although I was sitting in a very modern and formal dining room, I felt like this meal was an edible exploration through the wonderment of the environment and landscape.
“The End” – Since we were fortunate enough to locate a bullet in the wild duck, we were presented with this special Salt & Licorice dessert to conclude our meal. As with all aspects of nature and life, everything has a lifecycle and our ‘Geranium Winter Universe’ meal was no different.
I guess it’s true when they say that all good things must come to an end…Geranium’s lounge area is the perfect place to lean back and relax in the Danish-designed chairs while ordering an after-meal drink.
Caramel with Aromatic Seeds with a vibrant colored Rose Hip Thé poured tableside
Tea Service includes your choice of a selection of the freshest aromatic herbs and is preciously prepared while finishing the last of the sweets. I opted for a combination of mint and lemongrass.
Happy to report that “The End” really wasn’t the end, and our meal wrapped up with tea and these mignardises in the lounge: (l to r) Green Egg with Pine, Cake with Pumpkin Seed Oil, and Chocolate with Oats & Sea Buckthorn.
The only thing obviously missing after completing our 19-course gastronomic journey was that much-deserved third Michelin star. Having dined at many three-star restaurants around the world, Restaurant Geranium is no doubt in that league, if not better. From start to finish, you can’t deny the unmistakable skill, precision and authenticity that is highlighted in every one of Chef Kofoed’s dishes. He is a real deal culinary star.
Thank you, Chef Rasmus Kofoed, Søren Ledet and entire Geranium team for an inspiring journey into the winter world of Geranium. I know you just celebrated your fifth-year anniversary at the current location and I along with many others are greatly anticipating what the next five years and beyond have in store for you. No doubt whatever the season may be, it will continue to be extremely sunny and bright.
***UPDATE: On February 24, 2016, Geranium became the first restaurant in Denmark to receive Three Michelin Stars.
Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 2100 København Ø, Denmark