Of course I had expectations to AOC’s smaller brother, No.2. Christian Aarø is a phenomenal sommelier and restaurateur, and I have always been a fan of AOC – but still, No. 2 is a bistro with about half the price point of the Michelin starred AOC, so in the cab across Copenhagen I tried to control my expectations.
The only three weeks old restaurant is situated in modernistic architecture by Henning Larsen right below the Danish Treasury, on the edge of the harbour at Christianshavn. A stunning location with a view to the Danish Royal Library and the harbor skyline. Soon a bridge will connect the place to the centre of Copenhagen.
The overall responsible chef is AOC partner and head chef Søren Selin (former head chef of Alberto K) and the focus on finding Denmark’s best produce remains the same as for AOC. The kitchen however is flawlessly run by Nikolaj Køster, and I must say: Everything was prepared to absolute perfection.
In fact, entering No. 2. you don’t think bistro. It’s more exclusive than that. Well – there’s no table cloth and the cutlery is placed in a basket in the middle of the table for you to pick yourself – but this doesn’t feel bistro-ish at all. The materials, the view and the service is above what I expected from a place like this – even considering that AOC is behind.
Skagen ham and smoked infused almonds
We started on the porch with a glass of bubbly (Deutz) and some delicious cured Skagen ham and smoked infused almonds. Small motor boats putputted through the channel right in front of us, and the sun slowly set over the city, casting it’s golden light on Langebro. What an incredible place to be a midsummer’s evening in Copenhagen.
Pata negra bellota and radish with smoked fresh cheese
We went for the set menu – six courses with the wine pairing (this being Christian Aarø’s place, I trust the pairings to be great value). The first course was more ham (this time we upgraded to the pata negra bellota) and radish with smoked fresh cheese, for this we had a glass of fruity and refreshing ’12 Keller Riesling. A very nice, balanced glass.
Salted scallop with peas, cucumber pearls and dill oil
At our table inside the restaurant we got salted scallop with peas, cucumber pearls and dill oil – a beautiful, fresh dish accompanied by a Pichler Grüner Veltliner from Wachau, Austria.
Cod, hazelnut oil and celeriac
2012 Stony Hill, Mill Creek Reach, Nappa, Chardonnay
Then followed a perfectly prepared piece of cod – still glasslike in the middle and with a lightly burned exterior – on a hazel nut oil and celeriac creme and accompanied by a slice of celeriac. Very subtle, very fresh, and very, very delicious. Wine-wise we went over seas to a ’12 Stony Hill, Mill Creek Reach from Nappa, Chardonnay. Light on the oak, elegant and fruity.
Beef with smoked bone marrow, braised ox cheek and a deep fried onion ring
Vajra, Langhe Nebbiolo
The main dish was a piece of firm but tender beef with smoked bone marrow and a onion peel filled with braised ox cheek and a deep fried, perfectly crispy onion ring. It’s many many years ago I had a Vejra Langhe, and it’s as good as I remembered it. Very juicy, with lots of soft tannins and again: Not over-oaked – that’s important to me.
Lustau, Almacenista Manzanilla
We were offered cheese, but frankly – we were almost full. Instead, quite unorthodoxly, we went for a batch of Brittany oysters with fresh lemon and oh so finely chopeed charlottes vinaigrette and a glass of Manzanilla sherry from Lustau. Crisp, nutty, dry and a wonderful match to the oysters.
Roasted hazelnut with caramel, malt and 78 % chocolate
Graham’s 20 Years Tawny Port
For dessert we had two different dishes for sharing: Roasted hazelnut with caramel, malt and 78 % chocolate + strawberries from Rokkedyssegård with licorice. Both excellent dishes, but I think the strawberry one was exceptionally good. I like acidity in my desserts and the strawberries provided that. In the glass we had 20 ys tawny port from a pretty amazingly huge bottle – and as it turns out, port goes very well with liquorice. Who would have known…
A very nice, rounded cup of espresso later and I was ready to get in a cap and go home.
Now, how to sum up these four hours? Well, I expected a lot from Christian and AOC. But I frankly didn’t expect this. No. 2 goes above and beyond its duty as a a secondary to a Michelin starred luxury restaurant. The value is amazing and when you count in the extraordinary location, you get so much more than you bargained for. And this is just three weeks after the opening.
Thank you – I’m thoroughly impressed, and I’ll see you soon. 🙂