Restaurant Babette, Denmark – 20 August 2010

Coming back to Babette is like coming home. Its the closest gastronomic restaurant to our summerhouse, and since the culinary possibilities is very limited on Lolland we are always craving good food towards the end of the holiday. Off course the extraordinary visit to Jan at Sölleröd Kro was still in our minds. We did not expect the same level here, but we knew from prior visits that they can surprice and that this little gem on a good night is among the best in Denmark.

To our big disappointment Henrik Pedersen, the owner and “Maitre” was not in the house, but Vivi his wife was running the kitchen and a well-know face Brian greeted us warmly. From a selection of white Burgundies which he gladly presented we chose the Macon-Uchizy 2006 from “Les Heritiers du Compte Lafon”. I think this wine was also one of the four Jan has suggested us the week before, and it was a good one. Easy to drink, not really challenging your senses, but as my Australian friend would say…a pearler.

The white and some very tasty olives smoked almonds etc.

Pickled Langoustine

A beauty on the plate, marvellous colours, but I prefer cooked langoustines to pickled ones.

Smoked cod (lys-sej actually) - with fennel and mussels/butter sauce

Again, very light, no surprices here – but perfectly cooked fish.

We started to talk about a bottle of red a little earlier in the meal, and asked Brian to present some not too old Burgundy wines. He said…oh, normally people ask for not too young and even though his cellar was well stocked he would have to arrange something from one of the external store rooms. At this point, since he had still not presented us any, he had to admit that he had called Henrik and that he was on his way…..it should have been a surprice. Anyway Henrik – Mr. One Big Smile – entered the room, greeted us warmly, chatted a bit and then settled for one of his suggestions which he brought – a 2007 Nuits-Saint-Georges, 1.cru from J.F. Mugnier. A throughly great wine.

A good drop....

Potato creme, olive oil, water cresse, bio egg yolk at first....

Potato "liquid" was added - and voila -

The perfect potato soup

First serving of guineafowl...

which was paired with this beauty

And that was the most stunning dish of the day, and one of the best I have had this year. The sensation and detail of all the engredients on these two plates made it a dish I will not forget so easily if ever.

After this there were no room for cheeses or dessert, but a small plate of sweets were handed (and eaten)…..

Conclusion:

Babette continue to deliver honest and good food, on the light side with not too much of a fuss. In Henrik´s absence, Brian is a very competent waiter and very passionate about his job. He has got his own more quiet style (in compare to Henrik) – and he is confident with his job, and right so, because he does not flatter a second. He knows the dishes in every little detail, even when I questioned what he said, he sticked by his point, asked in the kitchen, and came back, smilingly “admitting” that he was right. I wish there more of his caliber around. I am sure Henrik is proud of him.

As for the menu, I dont think it was quite as interesting as the one we had there last year, but the explosions in the main dish made up for it, and I do think the craftmanship was as good as always. I think the potato lacked salt, but that was the only flaw of the evening. The bread and service on top.

Brian....you are one hell of a waiter/sommelier...rock on.

Roses...

On the way out we passed Vivi and happily thanked for the beautiful dinner.  Looking forward to come back next year and hopefully Henrik will be back in form. We thank you again Henrik, for coming in – more or less just to say hi – and for the great bottle you brought.

My rating for this visit: Ambience 4p (5) Service 4,5p (5) Food/Wine 8.5p (10) : Score 17p out of 20.

Sölleröd Kro, Denmark – 8 August 2010

Celebrating a special day with old best friends is always great, but this day was in fact out of this world. I am actually glad the rain was pouring down, because this way there is still room for improvement. Other than that, what we experienced as to hospitality, creativity, good food and stunning wines – was simply amazing. I had high expectations for this lunch. Seeing old “friend” Jan Restorff again, and knowing that Jakob de Neergaard in the kitchen is as sharp as ever – it would be easy for my high expectations not to be met.

But from the moment we entered the room, Jan meeting us outside – at 12.00 till we left 5 hours later we were spoiled and taken care of, in a manner that it will be hard for anybody to follow-up on, or even try to get close to.

I have said it before, and I would like to stress it again. For this restaurant to hold “only” 1 michelin star is so close to criminal as it gets. Wake up Michelin, Take away a star in Hong-Kong and one in Luxembourg, and put them here – right there in the heart of Sölleröd.

I do not need the craziness or innovation of Noma or El Bulli to recognize when something hits the spot. I need good food, a slash of creativity, a lot of attention to detail and to the table, add a romantic ambience, Jakob and Jan – and you have the perfect meal. At least I had on that Sunday.

Some of my shots came out a little blurry – I apologize for that, but have chosen to include them.

We chose the standard 5 course Sölleröd Menu with a few extras thrown in as suggested by Jan, and to start it all of we went for a Champagne – Pol Roger Millesime 2000 rosé. I absolutely adored this bottle, the long nutty aftertaste. Stunning. Note – Have to buy some of that for my cellar when there is some money left in my pocket. Just for the fun of it, Jan let us try another vintage white champagne from Pol Roger – was it 1999 ?. Powerful, but the rosé blew me away.

A quiet romantic corner

Fantastic bread, replaced throughout the entire meal.

Green Gazpacho with olive ice.

This little amuse was so great, so creamy. Wonderful 10p

Caviar - Avocado - Langoustine

Albino Caviar - Avocado - Langoustine

This was the first of the little throw-in dishes. Jakob came out and explained about the caviar, especially about the Albino caviar, how much was harvested in the world etc.  The men were served the black, and the women were served the albino version. This was caviar as good as it gets in my book, the delicate combination with the avocado creme and langoustines…wauw. This is normally on the a-la-carte menu I think. When you go there..TRY IT ! 10p

To continue with the meal we then chose a bottle of Meursault Charmes 2006 from Francois Mikulski. What a great wine for the following dishes. Jan suggested us 4 whites, explained about their differencies, making the choosing really interesting.

Römö shrimps with cucumber, horseradish and dill

A simple light dish. The mild horseraddish and the nutty oil in the bottom made this dish melt in your mouth. The small shrimps added the texture and great taste. 9.5p

Smoked cod with different types of cabbage

Again, light, beauty on a plate, pleasure in your mouth. 9.5p

Again is was time to change direction, wine wise, and we chose a bottle of Chambolle Musigny 2006 from Francois Bertheau. Again Jan helped us in choosing from the vast numbers of bottles on the wine list by presenting 4 bottles, explaining etc. Since the wine was such an instant hit, he tickled our senses by offering a second bottle from Cambolle Musigny, the 2007 (?) Philippe Pacalet. What a whine, at first much more closed and fruity than the well balanced and smooth Bertheau, later totally winning us over with its charm and elegance.

Variety of potatos with summer truffles

Simple food, what do you get when you pair potato the best vegetable in the world, with truffles one of the most expensive vegetables in the world ? Happiness. May I add the summer truffle was really tasty and the dish a hit in my book. 9p

Roasted turbot with chanterelles and parsley

A “standard” Sölleröd dish, perfectly cooked turbot with tasty chanterelles. What more do you want ? 9p

Breast of veal with foie gras, new onions and currant

Ring ring ring…..a true beauty. Veal vacuum-cooked at 48 degrees then braised….the perfect meat. A dish you never wanted to finish. In a good way. 10p

Buttermilk, lemon and mint

First of the desserts, was a mojito oriented pleaser. I loved it. 10p

Red berries

A “Noma” inspired presentation. Again, the ligthness (needed at this point) the taste of the berries. 9,5p

Raspberry - "guf" - Raspberry

I love raspberry – 9.5p

Chocolate - chocolate - chocolate.

For me the weakest dish on a perfect menu, but maybe, just maybe the stomach was starting to say enough. Chocolate is still a must in any menu lol. 9p

To accompany the desserts, we first had two different tastings of Riesling Auslese from Mosel – Saar – Ruwer, and later two red low alcoholic wines – Jan have to help me here if he sees this, because I simply forgot their names, but they were both great, fresh and perfectly matched the berries and chocolate.

Conclusion:

I would wish for any gastronaut in the world to try food at this level, I would like everyone to feel the warmth and hospitality of Jan. I would want all the waiters in the world to deliver at least 10% of the passion Jan delivers. He lives food and wine. I love him. For me he is the among the best in the world. As good as it gets.

Simply the best

How do you rate a visit 20 km. north of Copenhagen yet so close to heaven – with good friends – with a meal close to perfectness. One could argue that more innovative dishes have seen the world, but when all is said and done – can good food get any better than good food ? Not in my world. Thank you again Jan and Jakob for making our day even more special. We shall be back….and even though it will be a little while, I can hardly wait. Sölleröd Kro rock on …….and thank you. I will add an exta 0,5 point to reach the top mark which I felt we experienced that rainy Sunday. As good as it gets.

My rating for this visit: Food 9,5 (10), Ambience 5(5) and service 5 (5)  Happiness point 0,5 – Total score 20 (20)