Relae

Usually I don’t like posting nasty posts and I really respect the hard job chefs are doing, but you don’t come here to read my sweet  lies, don’t you? One Michelin star Relae is considered one of the hottest restaurants in Copenhagen.  Nothing surprising about that-  it’s chef and most of it’s team have worked at Noma at some point of their careers… When I was there ( the night before MAD symposium ) , the place was  full of foreign chefs, journalists and  foodies and as I understood, getting a reservation at Relae is pretty hard these days .

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What I wonder though  if the Relae chefs ever  taste their food before it leaves the  restaurant’s  kitchen and is it really the food they would like to eat ? I did enjoy a “bouquet” of various herbs with pistachio sauce for the amuse bouche and the raw aspargus salad with sunflower seeds and mint was as good as raw aspargus salad with sunflower seeds and mint can get  , but the rest was weird and  barely edible.

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How about unripe, but cooked and still warm strawberry with cress sauce and buttermilk “snow”?  All the ingredients of the dish were sour,bitter, unbalanced and nothing appealing you would expect from one Michelin star dish.  My main dish ( I took a vegetarian menu and I’ve had really delicious  vegetarian menu before ) was  romaine salad with egg yolk and nettles. It was very similar to the starter, too conceptual, no balance of the flavors whatsover and the dried egg yolk shavings served more as a pretty decoration than an ingredient… The dessert, elderflower snow with rhubarb was quite tasty, but again, I was so missing good food that even the Steff Houlberg hotdog I had afterwards tasted delicious!

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P.S. Loved my dinner at  Sollerod Kro the next day  (which also has one Michelin star, but worth at least 2 or  3) , will post about it soon..

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View comments (18)
  • I have learned the following about chefs who practice the art of foraged cuisine. I an not a fan of their food in the springtime because the flavors are too bitter. They like cooking with unripe fruits (hence the green strawberries which taste like crap to me), and the herbs at that time of year are so bitter that they drown out the flavor of the rest of the food. I suspect that you would have enjoyed the meal much more if you have visited at the end of the fall or the winter when the flavors are muted and the chefs have to work harder to express the ingredients.

  • Unripe strawberries are horrible, I don’t even know why chefs use them…
    Good to know that this type of cuisine tastes better in fall..

  • I was in CPH couple of weeks ago and had did the chose between Relae and Geist, we chose Geist but unfortunately we had exactly the same experience as you seem to have had.
    A total tasteless and non-durable. Asked myself the same question as you did. Does the chefs not taste their own food?
    Have a great summer!

  • Funny,you are not the first to tell that about Geist.. Have a great summer you too, zwampen!

  • Dear Luxeat,
    I really believe you had bad luck in Relae this time. we were there last autumn and it was an amazing meal. Fully flavored and we really enjoyed it. Knowing that Relae’s visit was on day 3 after Noma and Geranium it was not easy to get this WOW effect. See: http://begusto.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/relae-copenhagen.
    I am sure a next visit will be different!
    Kind Regards,

  • Dear Be-Gusto, thanks for sharing your post. You meal does look nicer! Kind regards

  • Sorry to hear about your experience.
    But I have mention the old fairy tale “the emperor’s new clothes” again.
    Raw strawberries are not good and try not to sell that to people!!

  • “But I have mention the old fairy tale “the emperor’s new clothes” again” Couldn’t have said it better!

  • Emma

    @Steve I do understand your point, and it brings interesting light on the subject. But this doesn’t seem to be a valuable reason to me : shouldn’t the chef’s talents to be able to balance this bitterness in an interesting and tasteful way ?
    Because if you can’t handle this type of constraints, you are not worth a Michelin star no ?

  • will-smith-but-not-that-one

    Seems as if the “Foraged Food Fad”, like the Molecular Obsession, has overstayed its welcome and is spread too thin now. Boeuf Bourguinon, anybody? But thanks for being a Guinea Pig for the rest of us, and as always, great photos!

  • JC

    Re: seasonality – When I went to Noma, it was in the Spring, and it was one of the two best meals I’ve ever had. With the exception of one of the vegetables in a lamb course, I didn’t think anything was bitter, and even that course’s bitterness was fairly balanced. No unripe strawberries in the meal, but I can’t imagine them (or anything else Steve mentioned) being anywhere near as bad as the bitter melon dish my parents used to subject me to as a child.

  • Give me boeuf bourguignon any day 😉
    P.S. Hope you enjoy your summer, Will!

  • Dubchild

    My fiancé had almost the same menu as you, I did the meat. We were also hugely disappointed with the whole experience. It is comforting to see your review. I still don’t understand how this restaurant gets 1*, #76 on San Pellegrino and is in every magazine that does an article on Copenhagen. Geist was shockingly minimal and it worked for us. I don’t know if Relae is victim of a huge ego or a chef who just really over thinks things. Did your server lean in and place both hands on the table while telling you how things work?
    P.S. Love the site

  • Thanks, Dubchild! Yes, he did lean actually now when I remember 😉

  • Cam_13

    Finally someone mentioned the amazing hot dogs in a blog post about copenhagen dining!!! Not to be missed!!!

  • Cam-13, hot dogs is one the main reasons I love coming to Copenhagen 😉

  • Come try the hot dogs at Glass!

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