Sourdough Rolls with Danish Butter and Fleur de Sel
Enoki Mushrooms with Yuzu and Egg Yolk Sauce
Salted and Dried Breast of Young Duck with Cherries
Grilled Avocado with Green Almonds and Curry
Ricotta Gnocchi with Fermented White Asparagus and Summer Truffle Mornay
Charred Quail with Summer Truffle
Zucchini Flowers stuffed with Cod and Pistachio
Heart of Lamb with Red Grapes and Wood Sorrel
Blackberries with Oellebroed
Caramelized Bread with Vanilla Ice Cream
Originally opened at Kongens Nytorv 8 in 2011, an enormous room with a trendy vibe not far from Nyhavn clearly a luxury available to Chef Bo Bech thanks to his years as a Celebrity Chef on a Danish cooking program, Geist is one of the most polarizing restaurants in all of Copenhagen amongst those who travel and talk about such things, some calling the menu an a la carte alternative to relæ or noma while others seem to loath the place for feeling like a club and offering flavors that are underseasoned or too ‘simple’ to warrant their price-tag.
Booked in the middle of a downpour, one of three experienced during an eight day trip to the Capital in July, it was mere moments before the a 12h00 reservation that several tourists huddled beneath the canopy were forced to part in order for guests to enter the restaurant, a hostess who also acted as waitress leading them to tables at the furthest end of a room that would never fill past 1/8 over the next three hours of dining, in reality probably a good thing as the kitchen’s expediting process is a mystery still to be solved with some items coming out hot-on-the-heels of that before it while others were subjected to wait times eclipsing thirty-five minutes.
Without doubt a member of the ‘New Nordic’ way of thinking, though not as prone to foraging as Redzepi or Nørregaard nor as obsessed with processes as Puglisi, Bech’s menu features a fairly substantial number of plates each day for lunch and dinner, the ability to build one’s own tasting menu a novelty amidst Copenhagen’s best restaurants but one that is welcomed for those willing to share or those with a fairly substantial appetite.
Perusing the menu while bearing in mind that reservations were pending for dinners at both 17h00 and 19h30, it was ignoring comments from the server that eight plates would be ‘too much food’ that an order was placed, her mistake actually adding one more that was served free of charge and the afternoon starting out with three-bite Sourdough Rolls served warm with Salted Butter.
Rather wishing a seat near the kitchen had been offered, the open counter assuredly more interesting than raindrops falling on an empty patio and bumping beets playing overhead, it was just as a party of ten took a seat across the monochromatic space that course one arrived, a tangle of blanched Enoki Mushrooms glistening with Citrus and Egg Yolk an elegant way to awaken the tastebuds and quickly followed by house-cured Duck Breast sliced thin amongst a light drizzle of Balsamic and halved-Sour Cherries.
Somehow mistaking the word Avocado for Gnocchi, odd as the Server spoke flawless English, it was after a short pause that Bech’s oft-photographed Curried Avocado with Raw Almonds arrived and eating far lighter than the average with an almost snappy texture and surprisingly light fragrance the dish was successful despite being slightly under-seasoned, exactly the opposite situation marring the Gnocchi that had actually been requested as the Dumplings were presented as a hide-and-seek amidst White Asparagus Tips beneath Truffled Mornay that was quite salty.
Here hitting the first expediting snag, the fact that the large group was now receiving food along with a few other tables seeing a thirty minute gap before a simple grilled Quail with slices of Summer Truffle arrived, it was shortly after the Bones had been picked clean that the dish of the afternoon arrived, a trio of Squash Blossoms stuffed with Brandade in a pool of Pistachio Cream finding an elegant balance as the expected Fish flavor came across first only to dissipate quickly with a sweet and nutty linger.
Opting against the Tartare presentations of 108, relæ and others when presenting Lamb it was instead with 1/8” thick slices of the beast’s Heart gently smoked and mixed with Grapes and Wood Sorrel that savories concluded, the flavors somewhat redundant in the setting of the Duck and left to be thought about for some time as a dessert of Blackberries and Rye Porridge took nearly twenty minutes arrive with another thirty-five separating the hoppy dish from a thin slice of French Toast soaked in Caramel and topped with creamy Vanilla Ice Cream.