Amass is the very essence of today’s trending Copenhagen restaurants, serving up inspired local fare in a stripped-back yet sumptuous space deep within a far-flung neighbourhood changing so fast that by 2018 it will be the hottest place to dine in town.
Both the 9A bus running past all the city’s central sights and the water bus from touristy Nyhavn serve Refsehalefen, once a naval enclave and still a bit of an industrial wasteland. So it’s an unexpected joy to step up into Matt Orlando’s double-height space, accessed through a candlelit glass foyer, for the initial, theatrical overview of a stark room decorated with thrilling graphic murals(don’t miss the tail of that lemur adorning the cloakroom wall; it’s to be found, accessorised with more candles, behind the back door which leads into the kitchen garden).
The food may be thoroughly New Nordic, but chef Matt Orlando actually hails from San Diego. Thanks to a spell at The Fat Duck among other illustrious restaurants, he met Rene Redzepi, who put modern Danish cuisine on the map more than a decade ago, and got to become chef de cuisine at Noma, four times named world’s best restaurant. Now Orlando is doing his own thing, and is clearly destined for his own clutch of Michelin stars.
A 100 per cent organic designati makes the garden out the back, running towards the water, the soul of this restaurant, and guarantees the freshest and sweetest produce. Our lunch started with a plate of the cabbage tops which are the star of the Copenhagen spring – sweet little shoots just waiting to be dressed, in this case with a glorious little gloop of mayo rich with Sicilian lemon, seaweed oil and the sweet surprise of dried plum powder. This was followed by a small but rich rectangle of braised neck of lamb infused with seaweed and blackcurrants and served with cabbage leaves and a delightful potato cake more like a giant scone than a straightforward spud dish.
Dessert was a vibrant beetroot sorbet rolled in toasted, salted grains, served with home-made sour cream flavoured with the palest pink rhubarb. Burnt meringue on a melting chocolatey base came with crisp biscuits to scoop it up with when excellent coffee was served.
In the long light summer evenings, many diners choose to have coffee outside, overlooking the harbour skyline and warmed by campfires as they contemplate the garden made accessible not only to diners but local schoolchildren, who help cultivate and learn about some of the 80 varietals of vegetable, hersb, berries and flowers in the raised beds.
At a little over £40 per head for a three-course lunch without wine, Amass is steeply-priced – dinner can run to twice as much – but it is exquisite, and thanks to friendly, expert staff as well as the food, the whole experience was memorable. Good news for diners on a budget is that Orlando will soon open a more affordable, casual nearby – one more reason to ride the 9A bus, take to the water or rent a city bike; there’s a depot to park your rent at within steps of the restaurant and water bus pier.
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Tel. +45 4358 4330