The MICHELIN Guide Nordic Countries 2021 – covering Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – was unveiled in September. While two new restaurants (Maaemo and noma) were awarded the ultimate accolade of Three Michelin Stars, one restaurant – Kong Hans Kælder, in Copenhagen, Denmark – was newly awarded Two Michelin Stars. But what does Two Michelin Stars actually mean? And what makes Kong Hans Kælder a worthy winner of such a distinction?
Two Michelin Stars
Two Michelin Stars represent excellent cooking at a restaurant which is ‘worth a detour’ and where ‘the personality of the team and their chef is evident in the expertly crafted dishes, which are refined, inspired and sometimes original’.
There are just sixteen restaurants worth Two Michelin Stars across the whole of the Nordic region and four with the highest distinction of Three Michelin Stars.
The Cooking is rooted in French gastronomy, with its luxury ingredients and rich flavours, but chef Mark Lundgaard also stamps his own mark on the accomplished, imaginative dishes, with some subtle modernisation and lighter touches.
Delicious, delicate hors d’oeuvres begin the meal: perhaps quail eggs and Rossini Black Label caviar or a refreshing mouthful of oyster with horseradish and crème fraiche. Dishes on the modern set menu which follows could include ‘Fjord shrimps with fricassée of asparagus and browned butter sabayon’, ‘Ballotine of rabbit with peas à la française and smoked tarragon’, ‘Monkfish Wellington with blanquette sauce’, and ‘Valrhona chocolate, raspberries and roasted hazelnuts’.
The wine list is an impressive tome, with considerable breadth and depth. There’s a magnificent cheese cart, and the meal’s finale comes in the form of the Kong Hans dessert trolley: guaranteed to be the last word in over-indulgence with its cornucopia of desserts and petit fours.
A truly charming and timeless place, this elegant restaurant is located in a beautiful vaulted Gothic cellar and its intimate, whitewashed interior has beautiful parquet floors, large, linen-laid tables and a wonderfully historic feel.
Clever lighting makes the restaurant a warm and cosy place to dine and the charming team are personable and professional as they attend to their guests’ every need in a well-paced and perfectly organised fashion.
The menu is presented as a ‘letter from the king’; sealed with wax and to be opened with a letter knife – and the chefs are involved in the delivery of some of the dishes, which they do with consummate skill.