Destination – Copenhagen
Mission – to combine food experience with meetings and incentives.
Lately, Copenhagen restaurants have been earning stars and stripes from the French Michelin Guide, awarding them a total of twelve stars! The city is more endowed with Michelin stars than Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Milan, and Vienna. Let’s face it, food is not something anyone can ignore during a trip and certainly not when you organise meetings and incentives for groups.
Our visit to Denmark’s capital goes without a hitch so join us as we explore gastronomic Copenhagen. My first stop is NIMB in Tivoli Gardens; the City’s answer to trendy, chic and fine dining amidst amusements and attractions. It is right opposite the Hovedbanegaarden, the City centre train station and has everything a tourist would wish to see but above all, it has 30 restaurants some very renowned for gourmet cuisine. I was due to lunch at one such restaurant at Nimb which has four eateries to its credit; Restaurant Nimb, Restaurant Herman, Nimb Bar and a Vinotek.
My rendez-vous was at Restaurant Herman where Executive Chef Thomas Herman and his team had put together one of their finest to appease my very critical taste buds. Thomas Herman strongly believes that what we eat should remind us of something or even someone.
Here I am in Copenhagen at lunchtime and I am dining at a Danish restaurant renowned for its handmade gourmet sausages served with homemade mustard and onions fried in duck’s fat and rosemary. The chic medium-sized restaurant has an open kitchen with perfect chefs plating perfect meals for diners expecting to match finesse with taste. I studied my menu; it included oyster, scallops, asparagus and everything delicate.
Then, just when I thought that the very delicately plated scallops was heading my way, a sommelier turns up with the wine list and this is when it all kicks off. The sommelier delivers a fine lecture about the wine, its origin, why it was suitable for my particular food choice, everything except for what it would do to my liver. The perfectly rehearsed sommelier could not be interrupted but my fellow diners and I had questions and we simply had to interrupt him. Why was the choice of wine so important with what we eat? Another bout of intense lecture begins – you see, Nimb is also home to one of Copenhagen’s finest Vinoteks so they aim to impress and surprise their clientele.
To them the sheer handling and the serving of the wine is a piece of art in itself. For me, there were simple rules to follow: how much you have to spend, what type of wine you want (red, white or rosé), and whether you’re going to drink the wine with food or all by itself. But here I was amidst other connoisseurs in fine dining and wine, in a restaurant reputed for gourmet dining, in the same premises as a Vinotek – of course, the wine had to be a big deal!
Sommeliers have had years of training to make sure that the art of choosing the right wine for your food appear as delicate as possible. I was therefore sure that even before he started to answer our questions the common notion of pairing red wine with meats and white wines with fish and dry rosé with very light foods was definitely going to sound like a completely new lecture. To top it all, he devised suggestions for non-alcoholic beverages as well! I was secretly hoping that the delicately plated meals I was observing from the kitchen will be worth the lecture and wait.
As the exquisitely plated oysters, asparagus, scallops begin to arrive; I immediately realise that when it came to Danish gourmet dining, perfectionism was more important than food portions. One has to appreciate the produce used; delicate organic produce are rare; so consequently, must be served sparingly. Thomas Herman and his team had cultivated a discriminating palate for our enjoyment with good wine and that is all that matters.
The food begins to arrive in “drips and drabs” about five to seven courses; I have actually lost count because the portions are so small per course that I appear to be gulping every tasty portion so fast that I had stopped counting the courses.
There is a beautiful ending to this fine dining experience. The beauty of dining at Nimb in Tivoli is that you get to have coffee or tea with delicately prepared petits fours on the terrace. Irrespective of the weather, the mere fact that you can sit in a beautiful restaurant, to be served by super polite waiters who handle food as if a whisper might ruin the whole arrangement and then be invited to coffee on a terrace overlooking one of Denmark’s delightful theme park and gardens with a quaint “petit four”– priceless!