Copenhagen is a food city and we are food people. That is the central truth the guides many of our choices including our trip to one of the best food cities today. And we don’t mess around. Our restaurant reservations were booked weeks before our flights. That’s just how it goes.

Given that set-up you can imagine our expectations for Manfreds Copenhagen. The casual younger sister of Relae (where we also dined) this spot was added to the list after reading consistently stellar reviews and boasting a good value fixe prix menu (275kr or about £31.50 per person) for seven courses of shared plates.

Mandreds Copenhagen booking process is simple and straightforward too, with bookings searchable directly through its website. You can always leave your name, or simply wait with a glass of wine until something opens up. We booked a week in advance with no problem. If you are in a hurry too, they even offer takeaway, rare for a restaurant of this caliber.

Manfreds Copenhagen Menu

The menu is heavily veggie focused – five of the seven courses were vegetarian on the ‘Chef’s Choice’ menu. But the quality of the seasonal, organic vegetables (about 90-100% of all items used at Manfreds are certified organic) were so high, that at no point did we wish for more meat-heavy dishes. For those wishing for a glass of wine and a few bites, the Manfreds menu also features a few a la carte snacks and small plates, ranging from 40kr-90kr.

Lunch is also offered Monday-Friday, with a truncated ‘Chef’s Choice’ menu of 5 shared small plates for 195kr (£17.50), with the option of adding on an additional small plate, such as beef tartar with cress and rye bread, for between 105kr.

Poached egg with radish at Manfreds Copenhagen

Manfreds Copenhagen Food

Our meal began with some beautiful sourdough bread and extremely fruity olive oil. While it sounds simple, when the two ingredients are that good, it’s all you need to begin a meal happy.

The first two shared courses were a good beginning, with baked golden beets and salt baked celeriac hitting our table shortly after our menus were whisked away. The earthy beets were topped with a mild-mannered horseradish cream and a rye bread crumble, which was a nice textural contrast. The celeriac dish was simple but well executed. Shredded pieces of salt baked celeriac sat upon a creamy purée of celeriac studded with fresh thyme. Basically celeriac on celeriac. Luckily, we both love celeriac and the salt baked version had great texture.

The squid course was next, which was seared and served with daikon radish and chervil. Again, simple dish with few ingredients, but a total winner. Really well seasoned, the squid was tender and the daikon radish and chervil combination worked wonders.

The final round of dishes consisted of a slow poached egg, fried Jerusalem artichokes and poach chicken breast. The runny, soft-poached egg was good, but not great, lacking something to spice up the potatoes served alongside. The Jerusalem artichokes, nutty and delicious, were dotted with a herbed aioli and were a tasty finger food.

The main meat dish of chicken breast was a surprise, since it’s usually the most boring cut of chicken. In fact, it was one of the best dishes, as it was sous vide and served slightly pink. That would be off-putting for some, but the texture was truly astonishing, with nothing more than a spoon needed to cut the chicken and scoop up some of the butter sauce pooled underneath.

Chocolate mousse with crumble at Manfreds Copenhagen

Service

We did experience one bizarre flaw in the service. The situation occurred after the squid course was cleared and another 2-top sat down next to us. At Manfreds, the chefs in the kitchen run out the food once it’s prepared. I love the idea but tasking a kitchen member with a servers normal responsibility is risky.

I noticed the first mistake when our new neighbours received a dish I knew was destined for us. We waited for about twenty minutes and then I asked for more bread as a classic American passive-aggressive move.

After more time passed, our server asked if we would like coffee or dessert. We informed him that we were missing at least three courses, which clearly caused some confusion. Eventually our next dishes arrived after a lengthy wait. I also felt bad for our neighbours, as within minutes of arriving they had six courses on their table while we only managed to make it through three.

Thankfully, the wine was flowing, and the staff was extremely apologetic about the ordeal. They graciously comped us wine, water and sides of bread and olive oil, which also happened to be the best olive oil I have had in a long time.

Wine

For drinks, Manfreds Copenhagen specializes in natural wines, which contain no added sulfites and are not manipulated in any way by modern winemaking techniques. The result is wines that can be quite funky and unpredictable. We both enjoyed the wines tasted, all with very distinctive flavour profiles, though these wines are definitely not for everyone. These wines might be a bit of a leap for fans of big, oaky California chardonnay, but for those willing to be more open and adventurous, this is a fantastic place to sample them.

If the thought of selecting wines with hard to pronounce names seems too daunting, you can always entrust the sommelier to make your selections for you, at 275kr (£31.50) for 3 glasses. In fact, I would recommend this route, as the staff is very knowledge and you will drink well with their guidance.

Conclusion

We’re big believers in second chances so despite the gaffs in service, the slate is clean and we would come here again for some truly stunning food especially for a not outrageous £75 for food and drinks for two. That said, it’s tough to bear witness to big restaurant mistakes – especially when one of you with ten years in the biz sees it coming a mile away.

Pardon the reference, but it does take the wind out of your sails. That said, the sign of a good restaurant is how mistakes are handled and Manfreds did well. I just wish they brought us a bucket of that olive oil.

Have you been to Manfreds Copenhagen? What were your thoughts? Share them below in the comments section!

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  • March 2, 2014
    Ann

    Loved your review, Drew. That’s your new business!

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