In the wake of Noma and the international hype of Nordic cuisine, several Danish restaurants have more or less successfully started experimenting within the discipline Yummy Modern Nordic Food.
Traditional cuts such as tenderloin and pork chops are ditched in favor of shanks, jaws and tails, preferably sprinkled with sea buckthorn, wood sorrel and other oddities, which nobody would have considered classifying as proper human food just a decade ago. Sometimes the result turns out rather strange (to put it mildly), while at other times, everything makes sense and pure magic is created. Regarding the new Copenhagen restaurant Höst, there is no doubt: They have brought out the big, buckthorn-clad magic wand.
In Copenhagen 285 DKK is already a very reasonable price for a three-course meal, so when the waiter announced that the menu that evening even included two additional complimentary dishes, it was hard not to feel like Super Mario jumping for a gold coin. When the waiter also promptly helped us escape from our noisy neighbors and got us a table in more quiet surroundings, the karma was so good that even the prospect of eating oatmeal, hay ash and dehydrated beetroot within the next couple of hours didn’t sound bad at all.
The first appetizer was veal tartar with pickled turnip. Then we had a cup of oatmeal (!) that turned out to taste like mushroom risotto, before the actual starter – scallops in a delicious Jerusalem artichoke cream – was served. The scallops were rolled in hay ash, which, besides making them completely unrecognizable to the naked eye (they just looked like tiny black lumps), also gave them a delicate, nutty flavor.
The main course was a veritable orgy of beetroot in ways I’ve never seen beetroot before, spread out over a tender piece of pork belly, and for dessert there was a surprisingly delicate øllebrød (a Danish porridge-like dish made from beer-boiled rye bread) with ice cream made from soured whole milk.
As in all the other Cofoco restaurants the décor at Höst was really stylish and with lots of attention to details. At each chair, there was a blanket, so nobody had to freeze in the otherwise slightly chilly room, and the lovely surroundings along with the insanely good food meant that you really had to make an effort not to have a brilliant evening. We didn’t even bother trying and instead capitulated and let ourselves get all excited and carried away by this new and shiny oatmeal star on the Copenhagen restaurant sky.