It’s been too long. Five moths to be precise. Well, if we’re honest, it’s been a lot longer than that hasn’t it! My last post may have been five months ago but for the last twelve months I’ve neglected this blog on a level that would, no doubt, have resulted in the privilege being revoked if it was something sought after with a waiting list; I’m thinking an allotment in inner city London.
This time last year I got a bun in the oven and since then time and energy have been in short supply. Luckily for me there are no rules about how often I have to post and no long queue of people sniffing at my ankles waiting to take my place (not literally at least). So, let’s just call it a sabbatical. My twelve months are up and I am back.
You won’t be surprised to hear that despite my failure to keep you up to date I’ve got plenty to tell you about. I’ve decided, in the short term at least, that I’m going to set the bar low for myself in terms of editing and hopefully this will mean that I won’t be starting 2015 with a new year’s resolution to get back to blogging and instead, by then, I’ll be up to date in telling you all of the wonderful things I have eaten of late. It can’t be that hard – the baby has to sleep sometime right?!
So, let’s start with the most recent. I am currently sitting in a lovely Airbnb apartment in Copenhagen – home to no less than 15 Michelin star restaurants – and I’m dying to tell you about my lunch yesterday at Amass, surely next in line to receive the nod from the Michelin inspectors.
By Copenhagen standards the prices here are reasonable and as Rene Redzepi appears keen to tell anyone who will listen that it’s his new favourite place to eat, booking a table here is surely a no brainer, even without my glowing recommendation.
Based in an old shipbuilding factory outside the centre of Copenhagen, Amass is certainly a little bit different. For a start, the best way to get there is by water taxi. The restaurant is hard to spot at first, as it is surrounded by huge warehouses and industrial buildings and it doesn’t look all that different from the outside. The industrial feel continues when you walk into the restaurant. You are greeted by a concrete shell with graffiti on the walls and West Coast hip hop blaring out, only interrupted by intermittent choir of kitchen staff shouting “yes chef” in unison when the orders are called out in the open kitchen.
The food is far more typical of what one might expect from a fine dining restaurant. Beautifully presented, creative and brilliantly executed. Most importantly, everything delivered on flavour.
There were three menus on offer, varying in length and expense, all of the tasting menu variety. We went for the “extended menu” which consists of nine surprise course. As they were presented to us there were a number of dishes that I expected not to like. The smoked mussel dish for one, I do not like mussels. Never have, never will. And licorice mousse – no thank you. Aniseed and licorice are on the very short list of flavours that I really don’t enjoy. So why is it that I enjoyed every single mouthful? Somehow, the subtlety and the combination of flavours and textures meant that everything worked. It more than worked, it was amazing and I would happily go back for a second and third helping of the licorice mousse dessert.
I love to try new things and experiences but at heart, when it comes to food, I am a flavour girl. There have been times when I’ve eaten truly spectacular food in truly spectacular places but I haven’t actually enjoyed it that much. (Mugaritz I’m talking to you!) Amass has got this exactly right – flavour seems to be the number one priority and everything else follows.
The highlights of the meal were the caramel like slow cooked egg yolk in a rich corn broth, the wild duck with chanterelle mushrooms lifted by a sharp vinaigrette and the yeast ice cream which had the most amazing texture.
Oh and the bread. For those of you that worry about the small portions you often get in a tasting menu and the risk that “you’ll want a kebab on the way home”, this bread is the answer. A fermented potato bread baked on the bbq outside and served with a delicious kale and chilli tapenade. It was so delicious that we assumed it was one of our courses and embarrassingly wolfed it down before the next course arrived. However, it is in fact an all you can eat buffet. More of this piping hot bread, fresh from the grill, will be delivered to your table periodically throughout your meal, whether you ask for it or not.
Top marks for Amass – 10/10. The venue was fun, the service was friendly and the food delivered. Even the chairs made me happy – comfort and style. I would gladly go back time and time again and I have no doubt that I will be remembering my meal there for a very long time.
Fermented Flat Bread with Kale and Chilli topping
Crystal Malt, Smoked Mussel, Coriander Seeds, Sea Lettuce
Mustard Leaves, Raw Scallop, Crispy Pig Skin
Here there should be a photo of:
Pumpkin, Burnt Honey, Cultured Cream, Nasturtium
But I forgot to take one as I was too busy ordering wine … if you’d like to see what it looked like here is a link to the Amass twitter page
Beets, Plums, Red Seaweed, Almonds
Grilled Corn, Egg Yolk, Black Pepper Oil
Wild Duck, Raddish (and some other things I can’t remember)
Wild Duck, Black Garlic, Yarrow Flowers, Funnel Chanterelles
The view from under the leaves
Parsnip Crisps, Licorice Mousse, Brown Butter
Apples, Yeast Ice Cream, Whisky Caramel, Vinegar Salt
Freshly Baked Carrot Cake – warm from the oven