A tour (de force) of the North Sea
Claim to fame: René Redzepi and Torsten Schmidt have joined forces on hallowed ground, where Noma once reigned, on Strandgade 93.
Reason to go: The fun, frivolous yet carefully curated drinks list; more malt, hops and fortifying aquavits than grapes. Skål!
To look out for: Add truffle or caviar to any dish for 150 DKK a pop. Do these actually enhance everything? Now you can afford to find out.
Are we at Noma? A year ago, the answer would have been yes. The new tenant, however, has rearranged the tables, lightened up both décor and mood, and already created a feeling of hygge and home. Barr is a take on the “European Beer Belt”, zig-zagging across the North Sea to pluck the best ingredients and create new combinations, such as salmon glazed with marmite – sorry, “barrmite”.
Both foundation and details are still mostly Danish, such as the incredibly rich krydderfedt offered alongside whipped bread and butter. This pork fat mixed with spices and roasted onion could easily sate the appetite before the meal has even begun; do have some but save yourself for the lighter fare on offer. Sourdough pancakes with seasonal flowers, lemony sauce and caviar (included in this dish) are a frothy, tangy delight. At our waiter’s rightful insistence it’s paired with a sour ale, making for a pronounced acidic experience – yet not too much so, it’s just an hommage to old preservation methods, heritage yeast strains and awesome flavor.
Updated, tongue-in-cheek-twisted classics dominate the menu; for instance, pigs that have gamboled in the great outdoors are turned into frikadeller med brun sovs, meatballs with a gravy that hits the perfect light/creamy balance, with the hint of caramel that is every cook’s envy. And the drink list is a joy to read, beer-focused, with several Barr-unique collaborations such as the reinterpretation of classic akvavit as made by Copenhagen Distillery.
Many battles may have been fought on the North Sea, but here this ocean acts a uniting culinary force. Peace for our troubled times, and harmony on the plate with intriguing and inventive food that’s also delicious.