The trendsetting modern style of Scandinavian cooking known as New Nordic has guided the Danish capital’s emergence as one of the world’s great food cities. The manifesto for this cooking was signed by 12 of the region’s most influential chefs in 2004. Among other things, it affirmed the importance of traditional Nordic recipes and cooking techniques, seasonal local foods and sustainable agriculture.
Now, one of its quieter themes is providing new momentum to the Copenhagen dining scene’s ascendance: “To combine the best in Nordic cookery and culinary traditions with impulses from abroad.”
A perfect example is Restaurant Brace, which the chef Nicola Fanetti, 27, opened in February with the idea of creating a kitchen where the produce and techniques of New Nordic cooking would be applied to traditional Italian dishes and vice versa. Mr. Fanetti, a native of Brescia in northern Italy, who graduated from Alma, one of the top culinary schools in Italy, formerly cooked at Era Ora in Copenhagen, generally considered the best Italian restaurant in Scandinavia.
“There are unexpected similarities between Italian cooking and the New Nordic style,” Mr. Fanetti said. “Both kitchens make a cult of freshness, the seasons and simplicity.”
Occupying a brick house in an arty, young corner of the city center, Restaurant Brace has a warm, casual vibe with an industrial loftlike décor — low lighting, bare wood tables. Open only for dinner, the choice here is between an eight- or 12-course prix fixe menu.
My partner and I chose the longer menu, and after a whimsical selection of hors d’oeuvres, including a superb carbonara tart — the egg cheese and pancetta sauce in a pastry shell — the meal started with an angelic dish of buffalo mozzarella with green asparagus and caviar.
The gastronomic encounter between Italy and Scandinavia was more vividly conveyed by small plates like a Norwegian langoustine served with artichoke, Sicilian almonds and ramson “capers” (pickled wild garlic seeds), an intriguing array of textures and distinctly different levels of sweetness, and an earthy dish of morel mushrooms with broad beans and lardo from Cinta Senese, a breed of Tuscan pig.
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