Tuesday, 27th/Wednesday 28th February 2018 – Gorilla, Copenhagen
And so for the second time this year I found myself in Copenhagen on business. This trip was quite a lot tougher. Due to a variety of circumstances, some of them down to my own lack of organisation, we’d been out late in London the night before (having dinner at Locanda Locatelli) and so I was set for a painful Tuesday morning with a flight at 06:25 out of Heathrow, and consequently an 04:00 taxi pickup to get me there in time! I’m getting too old for this sort of thing, and find it catches up with me quite quickly now I’m pushing 60.
Anyway, I survived the early flight, a day’s worth of meetings, and the intense cold gripping Denmark when I arrived. It looked fabulous from the plane, mind you.
To be fair it also looked very spectacular from the bridge over the harbour heading towards the office, especially when I realised there was a couple swimming in the harbour pool. The wind chill meant it felt like -12C out there and they were in swimming trunks and a bikini! They must have been mad.
After the meetings ended I escaped the building and headed for the hotel (the Hotel Danmark again) where I unpacked quickly, and turned the radiators in the hotel room up full. I then changed into thermal tights and a sweater, put my normal jeans and sweater on top and swanned off to test the “Wine Hour” in the hotel bar. A very pleasant glass of Portuguese red wine was just the job, sitting in the bar by the fire with a book for an hour or so.
It was off to Gorilla after that for a team dinner to celebrate the completion of a major project. I like Gorilla, it’s a terrific restaurant that I’ve been to twice already, once on my own and once with a colleague. By the time I’d walked there from the hotel (and it’s not much of a distance) I was chilled to the bone, despite skiing gloves, a woolly hat, my massive coat, and all those thermals, so I reckoned I needed to start with a pre-dinner cocktail.
That took the shape of a Basil made with Tanqueray gin, grilled lemon, ginger and egg white and it was warming and lovely and put me in a cheerful mood to tackle the rest of the evening. The food had been pre-ordered and we were having the tasting menu of 10 courses at a (for Copenhagen anyway) reasonable 375DKR per head.
We started with a plate of coppa to share, along with some good sourdough and some excellent butter, apparently whipped up in house. Some of my colleagues were not keen on the coppa but they’re unadventurous eaters as I’d established some while back. More for those of us who did like it.
There were also beef tartar with mustard and kale sitting on top of a glorious creamed goat’s cheese that was almost remoulade-like in its intensity. Again the more “traditional” eaters seemed somewhat troubled by this. I loved every mouthful of it.
Just to add to the pleasure there were some tiny onion tarts, the onion soft, sweet, caramelized to melting point.
Next came what was in effect a fish course, though it wasn’t obvious on the ground as some plates hung around for a while until we were sure we’d finished with them.
Again, it was relatively challenging for some people who struggled to get their heads around the idea of what is basically uncooked fish (at least in the conventional sense though the citrus effectively cooks the flesh while it marinates). This fish in this case was pike-perch which you don’t tend to see in the UK, so that didn’t help. It was silky smooth and delicious though. I could have taken of left the avocado but then I always feel like that about avocado.
The other fish was a sublime piece of cod with smoked mashed potato, and a mussel and sherry sauce. It was an absolute knockout, couldn’t fault it and could have happily licked the plate clean. It also looked beautiful.
Meat was next and this was more of a success with the squeamish! The pasta dish with sausages and saffron was brilliantly comforting, the sort of thing I’d like after a long run, preferably a big plate of it with a scattering of Parmesan to top it off! Oh, and I really do like the way radiatore pasta holds a chunky sauce!
The brisket sliders were much nicer than a burger would have been, the meat slow cooked and falling apart into its individual strands. I might not have ordered it myself but that would have been my loss.
I would certainly have ordered the prime rib on the bone with smoked bone marrow, which we had shared between us. Probably just as well as it was priced individually at 625DKR! It would have more than justified that cost based on the sample we were presented with. Sadly this did go down well – though the bone marrow didn’t so there were extras of that. It was a lovely thing, sticky and soft and unctuous and altogether something to remember (and possibly to smear on sourdough in the depths of a winter night).
And after that all that was left was dessert. It was a concoction of mango ice cream, white chocolate and cuajada (a milk curd traditionally made from ewe’s milk, but now more often made industrially from cow’s milk). It’s apparently popular in the northern regions of Spain, but it’s also popular with me!
And so we finished eating. Someone suggested whisky and it went a bit downhill from there really! I made it back the hotel at 23:00 to find my room was still freezing cold, the radiators occasionally emitting a feeble clunking noise but no heat. However, I was too tired to care and the duvet was densely warm and comforting so I dived underneath it and hoped there’d be heat by the morning.
There wasn’t. Showering was hellish and achieved very quickly. I got dressed as fast as possible and headed out of the room and over to the breakfast room where I was an hour earlier than agreed with my colleague. I didn’t care. I wanted to defrost. I ordered the oatmeal and a large quantity of coffee as hot as they could get it. I also ordered scrambled egg with bacon and sausages, and tried to get warm. To be fair the hotel receptionist didn’t charge for my breakfast when I complained about the lack of heat, despite the fact that I really ought to have complained about it the night before.
And then it was a day in the office and a flight back, hoping that the snow gripping the UK wouldn’t prevent me completing my journey as the Beast from the East (or Wednesday as the Finns apparently called it) took hold.