Nothing describes Copenhagen better than fine dining! And cold weather! Following is the pretty (funny) story of two very sensible tourists who packed cans of food and bottled water for their trip to expensive Copenhagen and ended up dining at a Michelin recommended restaurant!
We were recently in Copenhagen and I’ve been meaning to write something about our experience there. And what is the thing that stands out most about Copenhagen? Fine dining, of course! Oh, and it was as fine as it was unexpected.
If you want to get some tips and tricks about getting around town or what to visit and what not, here are two good and funny guides about Copenhagen: Prin lume – Copenhaga (in Romanian) and The Copenhagen Tales Blog (in English). We are carrying on here with something slightly more tastier.
Now rewind a couple of days before our road trip to Copenhagen and catch us reading all over the Internet how expensive the food is in this city and, moreover, how expensive it is to eat out. So, being two very responsible engineers, we immediately thought of buying some cans of food, bread and some snacks to eat in the hotel in the evening and not go to a restaurant every night. Oh, and we also got bottled water too. A six-pack to be more exact. We packed everything in the trunk of the car and drove off to chilly Copenhagen.
The city is beautiful, but it was January and mostly raining and snowing and everybody urged us to come back in the summer. One of the days we walked so much all over town that by 8 pm we were exhausted and wanted to go somewhere casual to grab a bite and then return to the hotel and call it a night. And as we were searching for a nice and cozy place to eat, we walked past a really good looking restaurant that caught our eye. It was quite fancy looking from the outside, but kept a very casual look. And the loud music and loud people inside made us think it’s just a cool spot where normal people hang out.
Yes, this is the restaurant’s name: Uformel. Looks pretty casual, doesn’t it? Well, it is casual, but more like smart casual and also “recommended in the Michelin guide”-kind-of casual. What does that mean you ask? Well, firstly, just by looking at the menu, the option of pairing every dish with a glass of wine should hint to a different price range than expected. And also “suspicious” is the four or five course meal that the waiter so pleasantly introduces.
Later I found out that this restaurant is in fact “Formel B’s cool and edgy younger brother” as the owners call it, where Formel B is a high-end restaurant in Copenhagen with more than 10 years of existence. Well, then it’s good we didn’t step into that one, isn’t it? But in my defense, this does look casual and non-pretentious, right?
We proceeded in browsing the menu and picking out what seemed to be the most interesting dishes, because… why not? And the waiter got the job of pairing each one of them with the appropriate glass of wine. And as he brought each one of them to our table, he also presented it in detail: how it was cooked, what makes it special and so on. Little did he know of the cans of food in our hotel room!
But as it dawned on us that this is actually a really interesting blend of fine dining and casual atmosphere, we had an amazing time! It was so relaxed and cozy, people at all tables were having a really good time, laughing and talking out loud. Nobody was pretentious or stuck up, from the guests to the staff. The decor was masculine, but not too strong, enough to make a statement, but not to overwhelm. And the food… oh, the food… amazing! There’s no point in trying to describe it, you just have to taste it.
So, if you ever find yourself in Copenhagen looking for a more special place to dine, I highly recommend:
Studiestræde 69, 1554 København V, Danmark
Tel: 0045 70 999 111, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
After arriving home from our trip, I decided to do some research on this Michelin business: what do the start really represent, how are they awarded, how do I feel about them.
WHAT ARE THE MICHELIN STARS?
The stars were initially a way for Michelin to categorize the food establishments along the routes shown in their motorists guide. Among maps, instructions regarding tires, car mechanics, hotels and gas stations, the Michelin guide would score the restaurants as following: one star meant very good cooking in its price range, recommended if the restaurant is on your path. Two stars meant excellent cooking, definitely worth a detour. Three stars represented outstanding cuisine definitely worth a journey.
Although some criticize the Michelin ranking as being out dated or discriminating (as most stars are awarded in Europe than everywhere else), it is THE international standard for haute cuisine. There is no doubt that chefs all over the world strive to get more stars for their establishments and dread having to lose one.
HOW ARE MICHELIN STARS AWARDED?
The Michelin Company employs around 120 inspectors whose jobs are to evaluate around 240 restaurants every year. The inspectors visit the restaurants anonymously of course, sample the foods and drinks and then write an extensive report regarding the meals, service, atmosphere and decor, while Michelin takes care of the bill. The criteria used for the evaluation have never been made public.
If an inspector is somehow identified as a Michelin employee, he or she will cancel the reservation and send a colleague at a later date. The inspector would then stay away from the restaurant where he or she was identified for about 10 years.
Because of the small number of Michelin inspectors and the enormous number of restaurants to be evaluated, the inspectors are mostly travelling as they are sampling food. This makes the constant travelling one of the highest dangers of this job despite the rich diet. Who knew?
HOW DO MICHELIN STARS FIT INTO A SMART LIFESTYLE?
Well, a three starred Michelin restaurant is a once in a lifetime, maybe a few times in a lifetime kind of deal. I guess it must be a remarkable experience that I would definitely love to enjoy sometime. I can only imagine how elaborate yet simple such a dish might be. Just take a look at these beauties from Uformel and keep in mind that this restaurant has not been awarded any stars, but it has been featured in the Michelin guide as a recommended establishment. Its bigger brother, restaurant Formel B does however own one Michelin star, making it our next destination in Denmark!
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DISCLAIMER: All the images used in this blog post are displayed with the permission of Uformel Restaurant.
DISCLOSURE: I have no material relationship to any brand or person mentioned in this blog post.