Another nod to Noma, Relae was Christian Puglisi’s first restaurant and boasts a Michilen star to boot. It’s supposedly one of the top 50 restaurants in the world and is a bit less forage-y than Noma. This pedigree in a seemingly non-pretentious ambience is what drove me to make Relae my splurge meal of my entire three-week trip.
From my hotel, I had a lovely, lengthy walk through many neighborhoods and this absolutely gorgeous park where Hans Christen Andersen is buried.
The street where Relae resides is all cute shops, coffee stops, and bicycles.
TONS of bicycles.
Relae offers a four and a seven course meal each day. Of course, I went into this splurge lunch thinking that I was in for all seven courses…until…everyone around me ordered just four. I thought to myself that I would save the funds, get a taste, and stick to just four as well. That’s what I ordered. And when I expressed to my waiter that I’d also like to have the wine pairings, something got lost in translation and I ended up with seven courses and an odd wine/juice/beer pairing. Mmmk. While this is what I originally had in my head, once I realized that I could be smarter about the experience I was rather annoyed with the large (caloric and cash) snafu. How does this happen when there are two options??
So, rather than recite back to you exactly what I ate, per the menu that I was thoughtfully sent home with for likely just this purpose, I thought I’d give you a sample of how I actually felt about each dish, veiled with the snafu mentioned above.
My table was very cute and simple with a drawer full of flatware. As a solo lady, I wish they would have asked me if I’d like to sit at the bar that overlooked the kitchen, but they did not.
A waitress asked me if I’d like a glass of bubbly to start. Well, yes of course! (I would later find out that this was not part of the insanely expensive lunch and wine pairing. This was uncharmingly its own line item. Just build it into the menu price already). It was served with a deep-fried shallot and an awful lot of dipping sauce. Anything fried is always good and the steaming shallot on the inside was just that, steaming hot.
Next came olive oil from Italy and some sourdough from the sister bakery which was chewy, funky, and delightful.
Next up was some beans in a pea green puree. Fine.
Then, there was mackerel topped with cucumber and salt. This surprised me and was fantastic.
Followed by the most surprising dish – shrimp salad. Full on eyes, legs, roe, guts antena, or who knows what. They looked SO unappealing to me, but were absolutely delish. Something akin to kettle corn, sweet, but savory, just a little crunchy. I tried not to think about the eyes and slugged wine after each one.
Then, there was a grilled lettuece. Mmmk.
Followed by a strange green sandwich of sweet squash with green goop in the middle and on the sides. Like a macaron you wouldn’t really want. The flavors were soft, I just didn’t see a point to this stack of squash other than fiber.
There were some new baby potatoes (’twas the season) with barley in some thick broth. This was really delicious.
The main was a pile of plants that grow by the ocean and an ounce or so of lamb that grazed on them. The dish was fine, if anything the lamb was surprizingly flavorless and the leaves quite succulent. My friend who’d been here recently said her lamb was so tough that she spit it out in the bathroom, which just made me laugh. I was merely underwhelmed.
There was also some fennel – I think that’s what this was.
Then, there was a cheese made of almond milk and wrapped in lettuce leaves. The cheese and almond crackers were fantastic – there was just far too much of it for one person.
Then, came a bowl of smashed up cherries as a pre-dessert. OK. Not my favorite fruit, but I guess it was cherry season.
Real dessert came with some sparkling beer-type sweet drink. Ick. And dessert itself was wonderful. Another red fruit base with the most wonder topping. I was surprised the two courses looked so much alike, but this one was far superior.
That was it. That was Relae. Two and a half hours and about two and a half hunddos later, I’d just eaten alone at one of the top fifty restos in the world. It was definitely an experience, but honestly, I’d say it probably won’t make your top 50 resto experiences, let alone top 50 in the universe. Funnily enough, my friend came to the same conclusion. Take our advice and give elsewhere in Copenhagen a try first.