I must tell you about my AOC visit. Last week a friend of mine and I were talking about AOC and the fact that none of us had visited the restaurant since it opened September last year. AOC is housed in the Moltkes Palæ which until September 2009 hosted restaurant Premisse owned by Christian Aarø and Rasmus Grønbech, and since 2008 owned solely by Christian. In September 2009 they split up. Rasmus left, Christian stayed and Ronny Emborg followed as the new head chef with Michael Munck as his associate head chef. The gossip and prospects of the possible Michelin star on Tuesday 16 March, made my friend and me quickly decide on booking a table for Wednesday evening, the day after the Michelin announcement.
On 16th of March 9:10 am: Politiken announced that AOC got the first Michelin star.
We arrived a little earlier than my friend, and it allowed me to calm down for a while and take in the setting and the atmosphere in the 17th century vaulted cellar.
It was a joy to watch the staff do their work with the view to the open kitchen in the back. The sommelier uncorked the wine with firm hands, and carefully but with a pace put the corkscrew back on the shelf. Servers carried salvers with plates and patiently waited while Christian placed the food in front of the guests. The efficiency, the precision, the dedication – it was like a beautiful ballet of gastronomy.
I sipped my glass of Larmandier-Bernier 04 champagne and guzzled the unripe peaches. They had a great, bitter taste and a lot of sourness to it. A bit like olives, but richer and firmer. My friend arrived and announced he had brought a bottle of wine for a blind tasting. I love blind tastings. Great.
More innovative and very tasty nibbles were sent to us:
At our table the first thing to arrive was a cleanser of a highly acidic and refreshing Mojito. It popped and sparkled fireworkedly in my mouth – it sharpened my palate.
Very good bread in not too big pieces
I like to have my own butter
Christian has won several championships for sommelier so we felt safe to put the wine selection into his hands and asked him to find us a bottle of red and a bottle of white that would appropriately fit our dinner. Firstly however, he poured a glass of fine sherry wine to match the raw shrimp.
Lustau, Solera reserva
Raw shrimp, a mayonnaise-ish cream of some kind & potato crumble
The sherry was spot on for this first dish of raw shrimp that we nipped with a pair of pincers and dipped in the cream and the potato crumble. The shrimp were very good with a fine and not too soft texture.
2007 Moric St. Georgener, Burgenland, Austria
Christian had chosen a Grüner Veltliner for our light courses and it was a great wine which I really enjoyed. Rather mineral, nutty, lively and complex. The oak was subtle, and there was a delicious creaminess to the after-taste, which reminded me of a great Chablis.
Limfjord’s oyster, parsley, cucumber & horseradish
Then followed a very sharp and distinct dish,where the cucumber was delicious and with the lovely oyster formed an excellent marriage.
Frozen veal, horseradish, tarragon
The bite was first cool with a softness and tenderness to it. As I chewed the meat it melted in my mouth and flavour of veal and tarragon evolved. The taste actually reminded me of noma’s ox tartar. I hate to compare two dishes, but I appreciated this as much as the tartar.
Scallop, Jerusalem artichoke, almonds & brown butter
Then followed scallop, a good and nutty one. This dish was a bit more laid back and more about enjoyment rather than surprise. It bridged perfectly to the following course.
Foie gras, apples & whipped cream (pic taken before the whipped cream came on top)
I almost swallowed this dish as it was such a delight. The foie gras melted on my tongue and the richness was balanced by apple in different textures and a red berry I forgot the name of.
Now it was time for the blind taster and Christian poured a medium-dark red wine into our big glasses. I moved the glass to exercise the wine and air it. I sniffed it again and again, what a powerful and yet youthful wine. There was a coolness to it and strength. I was quite seduced by it’s bouquet, and for every sniff it evolved. Very fascinating.
I noted cherries and pepper on the very rich and fruity palate. There was an incredible debt in the taste and complexity. There was no doubt that this was Pinot Noir. Although I for half a second thought New Zealand, there wasn’t the sun burnt flavour to the fruit taste. I felt certain that it was a Burgundy wine. So, I took a chance and shot for Nuit St. George and 2007, so region and vintage was correct, as you can see.
Of course, I loved the wine.
The soup was excellent and full of pure mushroom flavour. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked – still firm. They almost popped in my mouth. The after-taste stayed in my mouth for minutes after eating it.
The main course offered a tender and tasty piece of deer accompanied by a rich sauce kicked by the burnt flavour from the salsify and the sweetness from the dried berries.
Smoked Danish Gnalling cheese, stout syrup, hay, ashes & pumpernikkel
Strong smoke infused the room when the lit came of the cheese. Very nice Danish cheese with character and good taste.
2006 Torcolato, az. agr. Maculan, Breganze, Veneto, Italy
Orange and sea buckthorn
I love the orange/sea buckthorn combination with a dessert. This version was particularly good as the sea buckthorn berries had the right amount of sourness and at the same time were fruity. The sorbet formed a pleasing background and as I bit into the berries their taste kicked through the creaminess like rays of sunshine. Beautiful.
Basil sorbet, cucumber & sifon… something… 😉
The match of sweet basil and fresh cucumber was very good, I really liked this dessert.
The last dessert appeared to be the richest of the three desserts. The licorice wasn’t too dominating but very gentle and the beet root still comprised some acidity. So sharp.
Vanilla marsh mellows accompanied the coffee.
The marsh mellows tasted exactly like vanilla ice cream, but without the cold. Very delicious and beautifully arranged on a marble plate.
Bowls of the aroma of each course decorated the hall way to the loos
I was impressed. I was moved. All the plates were picturesquely beautiful, the food was flawless and the menu as a whole was composed with wit and distinction. Actually, the strong focus was what impressed me the most. These dishes had clearly been worked on and sharpened until they had reached an incredible high level of perfection.
I know this review is extremely positive, but it’s really hard for me to find anything that didn’t work well. Although we got about 11 dishes I wasn’t too full when we left the restaurant as the last guests.
The dinner at AOC was a very emotional and uplifting experience. In fact, even the next morning I was still affected and felt almost in love. Walking from the metro station towards work I just couldn’t help myself smile. AOC had made me happy.
Thank you guys for such a wonderful evening!