NOTE: New owner. Kim Møller-Kjær has moved to Villa Vest now!
Friday 6 April 2007
Delicacy and Innovation
In the adorable, old, softly hilled but rough town of Lønstrup by Jutland’s North West coast there is a wonderful place, Restaurant Glashuset, only open during spring and summer. The chef there is Kim Møller-Kjær, an ambitious and clever guy. The restaurant shares premises with a glassblowing and a shop all in one house.
I know Kim from his time at the Hotel Phoenix in Hjørring (North of Jutland), where I enjoyed always delicious food sitting in the old distinctive wine-cellar next to the kitchen, and I remember that I was impressed by the young Kim’s creations from my very first bite. Food of Kim’s standards is not to often to be found in that part of the Denmark, and this fact made me think about another Danish delight, the film Babette’s Feast.
3 versions of asparagus and North Sea cod
Lump sucker with partly mashed potatoes, onions and thick cream.
Risotto with Danish langoustines, fresh green ramson and ramson oil.
Lamb from Hørmsted with piment and celeriac
Gin and tonic
Buttermilk and dark chocolate
The Grüner Veltliner was so good. A strong scent of flowers and at the same time crispy with lemon. I’ve never sniffled nor tasted a wine with such a powerful citrus flavour. And the amazement was even bigger, when the food came and I experienced how the asparagus absorbed the lemon taste and drew out the dryness and the body of the wine.
I really liked the three tastings, one of the dinner’s best dishes and indeed, the first one was surprising. A fine powder of frozen white asparagus spiced with chilli and with the Spanish Serano ham perfectly crispy, not leathery in any way, it provided both salt and intensity to the dish and with the knife-point of chilli darting the sweetness of the white vegetable. The chervil matched the green asparagus well, and both the fine cod fish and the pecorino cheese did that too. Last, on the upper left top, was the white asparagus cream, which had a delicate taste and the cod provided some structure to this creation.
I completely forgot to photograph the second course. I guess that I was too busy absorbing the next wine, which was a lovely Riesling 2005 ‘Kiedrich Gräfenberg’, from Rheingau, and pecking at my puffy lump sucker pearls. The wine was magnificent with a perfect balance of fruit and dryness, a clear aroma and a good body.
The waiter splashed a thick cream onto the plates, lightly for the ladies and lavishly for the gentlemen. I found it a good idea to add the roughly mashed potatoes with the tiny sparkling and pink eggs bringing some substance to this delectable course. The food was emphasizing the fresh-ness of the wine and brought new flavours as well.
I’d like to jump to the main course which consisted of lamb in carvings and stuffed in spring rolls, which was very delicious and I hardly tasted the characteristic woollen flavour that lamb can have. The piment and the slow cooked celeriac elements were a delight. The problem here was the lamb slice that most unfortunately was cut in a way that appeared tough in my mouth. I had to cut the meat into small pieces and it didn’t even help much, very lamentable for such a nice dish.
Australia, can they produce a nice Pinot Noir? Yes, I must say, absolutely. This Yarra Yering 2003 was served semi-cold my guess is 12-14 degrees celcius, massive fruit, berries, but still lots of dryness, structure, a full-bodied wine in the full sense of the word. A bombe.
The ‘clean-up guy’, the gin and tonic, was a fun addition and comprised all that it should including alcohol and juniper berry.
The dessert was nice. A buttermilk ice cream with dark chocolate, but it was like the combination of the two wasn’t really harmonious. The dessert missed some sweetness, in my opinion. Sweet as well as excellent however, was the New Zealand Long Golly Riesling 2005, which had a perfect fruit and sour balance, and an intense and delightful taste.
As for the snack, the sparkling Yering Station, Victoria was great, dry and bubbling in a good way. Yet, the small toasts, puff paste sticks, olive paste, salt almonds and cheese fondue were completely indifferent and levels below the rest of the courses.
The young waiters this evening, by the way, were brought in from the Norsminde Kro and providing us with a perfect and humourous service.
My favourite course of the evening was the risotto and langoustines with the fresh green ramson and ramson oil. A heavenly dish, I’d like to say. Combining the tender and mild risotto, the sweet and delicate flavour of the lovely langoustines and the bitterness in them with the ramson was astoundingly good and really innovative. At first, I found it a bit strange with a red wine to accompany the dish. However, I must agree with Kim that this was a good choice of matching the intense and darkly-flavoured ramson with this Chianti Classico Riserva 1998. The Sangiovese grapes stood the course of the sweet and bitterness in the food. I love bitterness, always have, and this was really wonderful.
I was moved and happy, and leaving the restaurant thinking about the Danish film Babette’s feast. A splendid evening.
Glimpses of brilliance. Well done boys. Bravo, Kim!