Travelling alone invigorates me. There’s something special about discovering a city street by street where you have no idea where you’re going or how to speak the language. It’d been a while – nearly as year since my somewhat-disastrous trip to Romania. I booked Copenhagen with higher hopes. Arriving around 5pm, I checked into my very small, very cheap room at Hotel Nebo, and set off in search of some dinner.
Before I left, I did the obligatory Twitter check to see if there was anywhere I needed to try. Within seconds I was recommended Aamanns for its smorgasbord and smørrebrød, a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich. What I didn’t know is that the traditional fare raved about is served at Aamanns takeaway next door to the brasserie, where I enjoyed one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time.
The brasserie at Aamanns is small – about 10 tables. As I walked in, I was greeted by a server who can only be described as a more attractive Danish Kenneth from 30 Rock and a server’s assistant who looked like a blond Zac Effron.
I love the decor, though. My favourite shade of green:
The menu at Aamann’s is only in Danish, which would normally be a problem if the staff didn’t speak English better than I do. I was taken through the tasting menu – 3 courses for 315 kroner, which is about £35.
I was presented with two types of bread – a seeded traditional rye bread and a spongy white bread – served with an herb butter infused with pork fat (yum!) and a light ‘regular’ butter with the faintest hints of horseradish and lime. Both were gorgeous.
Soon after, my starter of Fried Squid with Apple and Toasted Hazelnuts in a Sole Cream Sauce arrived.
This was a plate of a thousand amazing textures. Pieces of apple both fried and raw, soft hazelnuts, supple squid all sitting in a pool of the lightest cream-based sauce I’ve ever had. It was absolutely superb, and I didn’t want it to end.
My main, Braised Pork Neck, took on similar characteristics.
There were many different components, all with different textures – as if the chef had decided to include every step from smooth to crunchy, and assigned an ingredient to match. I wouldn’t say it was executed as perfectly as the starter, but it was certainly delicious. The presentation was simple: a layer of mashed potatoes served in a copper pot topped with endive, roasted peaches, braised pork, walnuts, watercress and fried hollowed-out potato skins.
And all plated up:
It was a healthy portion too. I loved the crisp potato skins against the tender pork. I was shocked that I had never seen potato skins prepared that way before. I hope it’s not the last.
Dessert was Poached Pears with Salted Caramel (my favourite) and Vanilla Ice Cream:
Presented in a sealed jar, the pear was cut into cubes and mixed with none other than a caramelised version of the spongy white bread I’d had at the beginning of the meal. Again, all about the texture, it was crunchy and soft at the same time. The salted caramel was a dream, and the vanilla ice cream was a perfect accompaniment to keep the dish from being too rich.
With a pot of tea, service and wine pairings for the first two courses, I spent 600 kr. If I had to do it over again, I’d stick with just one glass of wine- the pairings, lovely as they were, ran up the bill 205 kroner (about £25), but didn’t really add that much to the meal itself. Hindsight’s 20/20, though – and for the sake of overspending a few quid – I’m not complaining. This was a gorgeous meal, and Aamanns should be on anyone’s Copenhagen ‘must try’ list.