August 27, 2008
Trine’s blog, Very Good Food, has been inspiring to me for its great photography and its sensitive appreciation of good food. So it was a thrill for Linda and me to have dinner with her at MR, one of Copenhagen’s cutting edge restaurants on August 25, 2008. MR stands for Mads Refslund who founded it three years ago, having worked at noma and other well-known Copenhagen restaurants. He was not there that evening as he had just been in the competition of Copenhagen’s Food Week where he won the prize for best first course. He would entertain 88 diners at his restaurant the night after our visit. But we received excellent attention from the young staff, perhaps enhanced by the astonishing fact that there were no other diners this Monday evening.
There is a choice of four, seven or fifteen course menus. There is also a list of the chef’s six “classic” dishes, each of which can be added to any menu as a supplement. All six can be ordered as a menu. This included the “Burnt field” which had just won the prize and we were allowed to have it as a substitution on the seven-course menu.
We skipped the offered wine pairings and ordered a bottle of Condrieu and one of Bionzo Barbera. The amuse-gueule was crab in a lettuce wrap and a plate of six radishes on a gravel of which I cannot remember the description. The chef used several granulated sauces in which he reduces or whips ingredients and then treats them, I think with liquid nitrogen, until they are just a coarse powder.
These were followed by a nugget of barely smoked salmon with a cauliflower foam.
The dab of caviar gave it a needed accent.
The first course was the
–Aroma and texture of burning fields
The small root vegetables were exquisitely prepared and arranged. The generous slices of black truffle were very tasty, surprising for August. They added a needed earthiness. The plate was presented under a white cloche filled with smoke. When the cloche was lifted, one smelled the smoke, which also flavored the vegetables. They had been topped with granulated hazelnut oil which enhanced the earthy effect. It was an fine mixture of elegance and nature.
The eggs had been smoked in the shell, then served under a cloche with more smoke. They had a more interesting flavor than simple poached eggs and added a lot to the vegetables. You can tell we are in the north if peas and asparagus are still in season in late August. The pea sprouts finally dominated this quite subtle dish.
Confit of Mackerel & Crayfish
Watermelon and small tomatoes
This was nice, but there were not enough mackerel and crayfish to stand up to the red ingredients. In fact, there may not have been any crayfish at all despite what the menu said.
Crayfish and Sweetbreads
Red currants with crown dill and fava beans
Like the previous course the currants were too dominant. The mixture of ingredients was too complicated. I do not understand why chefs use fava beans when they have to be boiled, peeled and split as they were here. They should be served only as small raw spring beans from Mediterranean climates.
Heart salad with parsley and arugula.
This was better than it sounds. The brown chicken glaze dominated half of the chicken piece and the gelatanous, but flavorless coxcomb. The parsley puree could stand up to the other half of the chicken and the lettuce heart.
Beets & Yoghurt
Cherries and woodruff
This was terrific. A frozen, crunchy ball of candied beet surrounded the slightly tart filling.
Goat’s milk and Martini rosso.
A jelly of sweet vermouth was in the hollows of the strawberries making the flavor a bit more complex. It was not as inventive a dessert as one would have expected, but it was enjoyable. Despite my criticism of some of the dishes, I came away feeling that we had enjoyed a first class meal. The kitchen was obviously trying to challenge both itself and us. The ingredients were high quality and chosen with imagination. I hope we will hear more from Mads Refslund.
MR closed on April 30, 2009.