SPOILER ALERT: This blog tests positive to butter. Lots of butter.

Copenhagen has a big rep to live up to in terms of food. While Greedy Girl continues to plaintively respond to tweets by Noma supremo Rene Redzepi in the hope that he’ll recognise that she’s very special and deserves a table this week in his tiny establishment, the city boasts a lot of highly-rated restaurants by Michelin and other guides.

Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband had a table at Formel B – a one-Michelin star bistro that recently changed its approach to give diners more control over their experience. Previously, it was a traditional degustation style.

Now, diners can choose as many plates as they like. The restaurant recommends around four savoury dishes per person and there is also an option of choosing a cheese plate and dessert. All the savoury dishes are listed at 130 Danish kroner each (on current exchange rates around $22 Australian). Mere mortals could eat well and relatively inexpensively. Did I mention this was Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband?

The dining room is light, bright and furnished with Danish aplomb. We were seated at a round slatted timber table with high backed, moulded leather chairs which were called – wait for it – Formel B. The base model for this particular design, as viewed on a British website is 924 pounds sterling. Yep. Just as well they were very comfy.

Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband chose seven courses – not each – in total. We explained our unusual request to the waiter that we would like one dish at a time and would share each dish. Where we don’t have a tasting menu, it’s our usual practice to order different dishes and swap half way through so we can sample as much of a menu as possible. The very friendly waiter told us it wouldn’t be a problem. We ordered a bottle of 2000 vintage Pol Roger, wolfed down the amuse bouche of pickled mackerel with potato cream and Danish herbs, and settled in.

Not too long later, two different bowls arrived at the table. ‘Slightly’ smoked salmon with white asparagus and mayonnaise was placed in front of Greedy Girl while foie gras toast with quince, salted foie gras and wood sorrel was presented to gluttonous husband.

We asked our friendly waiter why we had two dishes, to which her brow furrowed. We explained again, we would like one dish at a time, so we could share. Otherwise, with just seven dishes on order, we would need to put a cork in the champagne bottle, drop it in a brown paper bag and head for a local park.

Greedy Girl tucked into the salmon. It was coated on its top edge in very finely chopped herbs – the presentation was reminiscent of Tetsuya’s signature confit of ocean trout. The dish was quite subtle in fish flavour but very, very salty. Two bites and Greedy Girl’s half was done. We swapped plates.

Formel B Copenhagen

Smoked salmon with white asparagus

The foie gras (pictured at the top of this blog) with lashings of quince, was pure delight – and a wonderful foil after the salmon. Greedy Girl, in an uncharacteristic act of generosity, offered a final bite of foie gras to gluttonous husband after he had finished his salmon – as evidence of the smoothness and softness. Just delightful.

The next dish to arrive (on its own, thankfully, but the notion of offering side plates so we could apportion ourselves separate shares was obviously just as foreign because we were given two lots of cutlery but just the one bowl) was one of the restaurant’s signature dishes – langoustine a la nage with carrot puree and local Danish vegetables.

‘A la nage’ referred to the butter sauce that pooled over the bottom of the plate in all its sunny, orangey yellow smoothness. The sauce was made from a carrot reduction but was just pure butter. The langoustine was perfection. It’s hard to give a sense of the taste. It’s a disservice to liken it to a prawn but is perhaps somewhere halfway between a prawn and a lobster. Not a skerrick was left on the plate, mopped up with a lovely crusty, damper-style bread.

Formel B Copenhagen

Langoustine a la nage

Next up was the ability to contrast the flavour of langoustine with lobster. The dish was lobster with Danish spring potatoes, lobster cream sauce and wild herbs. The lobster meat came from the claws, a somewhat inferior flavour in Greedy Girl’s opinion to tail meat. The sauce was a bisque style with loads and loads of butter and the herbs and greens were strong. Greedy Girl was particularly overwhelmed by a leaf that reminded her of nettle. It was a nice dish but you wouldn’t write home about it.

Formel B Copenhagen

Lobster with Danish spring potatoes

One of the great joys of being in Europe is the diversity of mushrooms – fresh specimens of which Australians can only dream, or buy dried. The next dish was morels with Danish asparagus and morel cream sauce. OMG. The waiter brought a small saucepan of the cream sauce and spooned it over the dish. Greedy Girl wanted to rugby tackle her as she disappeared back to the kitchen, having left some in the bottom of the pan.

Seeing these mushrooms in their fresh state (well, cooked fresh state) reminded Greedy Girl of the maxim that mushrooms are ‘meat for vegetarians’. These amazingly plump, soft, meaty mushrooms have a unique flavour, absolutely enhanced by the packet and a half of butter in the sauce. Had the little saucepan been left behind, Greedy Girl would have been very happy to lick it clean.

Formel B Copenhagen

Mmmm, morels, drool …

The richness of the food had started to weigh a bit heavily. Next up was the restaurant’s other signature dish, west coast turbot with a parsley and garlic sauce and braised veal tails. In the bowl, there was a pool of the most intense dark green sauce, with a golden wedge of turbot sitting on top and some criss-crossed vegetables. The veal was flaked underneath.

Formel B Copenhagen

The greenest sauce I’ve ever seen

The sauce wasn’t as pungent for the taste of parsley as it looked but it wasn’t outrageously wonderful either. For a signature dish it was somewhat underwhelming. The fish was cooked very well but didn’t really go with the veal.

The final dish for the night was glazed roebuck with peas, browned butter, spring onions and herbs. Slices of the roebuck, cooked pink, were camouflaged under a medley of vegies and leaves. The meat was hard to cut and flavour-wise didn’t get close to the sublime taste of the roebuck eaten in London at the Ledbury.

Formel B Copenhagen

Glazed Roebuck with peas

Having consumed so much butter, there was no chance our groaning bellies would countenance consuming cheese. None of the desserts appealed but one, a lemon foam with meringue, was presented at the table next to us and looked quite interesting. Greedy Girl’s teeth ached from the sugar contact high.

All the plates we ordered, as you’d expect of Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband, were scraped clean. Gluttonous husband made the point that if you were to order three ‘traditional’ courses and chose the foie gras, the langoustine and the morel dish, you’d leave Formel B saying it was one of the best restaurants you’d ever experienced. The other dishes, even though nothing was intrinsically wrong with them, just didn’t reach any great heights.

The chefs, Kristian Moller and Rune Jochumsen, espouse the fusion of Danish and French styles. Choosing the right dishes Greedy Girl supposes can make any restaurant seem great but when four out of seven courses leave this diner somewhat flat it’s time to look for a formel (formula) A rather than B.

A final note – why do restaurants insist on charging extra for the use of credit cards? Eating anywhere in Copenhagen is expensive so it’s impractical to carry around wads of cash to foot the bill. Greedy Girl would suggest that most diners are likely to settle their bill via flashing the plastic so why not build the fee into the menu pricing?

Formel B

Vesterbrogade 182, Copenhagen

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