Just a bit of background, Torsten Vildegaard is head-chef and co-owner of Studio. He previously worked at what they call the world's best restuarant Noma for eight years, including four in the test kitchen, innovating and creating new dishes. Studio is his baby and the years of trying to make something new and fresh really reflects in the menu. Every meal was truly like a breath of fresh air, with subtle aromatic flavours that went straight to my heart.
I was so excited to visit and it doesn't take long for us to settle on the full menu. There is no menu card, just a choice of five, seven or full-on. We obviously went for the full-on. This was after all a once in a lifetime opportunity. We had a gorgeous table, with a view, through the window, of the harbour. The style was contemporary clean, with a few ornaments; a lamp, a side table, that made the place feel thoughtfully constructed and ultimately beautiful. Our main waitress was casual yet incredibly professional. She made us laugh right off the bat when she explained how we had messed up our first 'pre-starter', a tea poured from the flower pot in the centre of the table, onto slush ice placed in small bowls. For some reason we thought we had to eat it with a sort of knife like spoon. In reality we had to warm it up with our hands, swirl it and then drink it. Oh well. No snobbery here, instead we got a good laugh and appropriate instructions with each subsequent dish.
There was nothing I distinctly dislike about Studio, but there were some things I enjoyed more than others. One of the things I found really outstanding was the crackers and bread. I know it sounds so simple, but Studio really perfects the 'cracker' and honestly should start a high end 'cracker' company - I would spend a fortune on these things! To explain, one of our first crackers was made from the bark of Jerusalem artichoke. It was perfectly crunchy and had a sweet barky taste of artichoke. This was followed later on by an 'ash' cracker, entirely black, like a serving platter, that honestly was perfect for any type of spread I could possibly think of. We also had sour-dough with whipped cream butter that was so fluffy and moist I really didnt even realise just sour-dough could be so paletable. My favorite 'bread' though was a sort of small choux pastry (gougeres) that had the most discerning taste of nutty cheese; parmesan? chedar? Who cares, I dipped it in it's roe and creme-fraiche and it was dreamy.
Artichoke and gougeres:
Another outstanding factor was the vegetables. One of my favorites was a plate with two leeks and a thin layer of parsilly and hay infused spread. We ran the leek over the shield of dressing and then bit off just the root. It was the best leek I ever had. I don't even know what that means. I don't know that I ever really thought about eating leek before. I don't know that it is something I will ever really eat again. I guess it doesn't matter. This leek was outstanding. Worthy of it's own plate.
Best leek I ever had:
On almost all the plates we had edible flowers, forage, and truly unbelievably crunchy and tasteful vegetables. For a veggie lover like me, it felt like a real find.
The third AMAZING thing about Studio was the seafood. As part of our pre-starters we had the most playful and enjoyably garnished oyster I have ever tried. It came served enclosed in the shell, but as we lifted the shell we found not just the oyster but also a bit of roe, edible flowers and a subtle sauce. I swollowed it whole and wow: salivating!
Best garnished oyster I ever had:
As part of the chef's menu we also had a seafood starter that I am serving a cheap version of for my next dinner party; caviar (yay caviar) in a shallow almond reduction - basically almond milk.I would not have thought of it, but the two together was outstanding. The bitterness of the caviar was entirely offset by the creamy almond milk. And the subdued nuttiness actually enhanced the delicate roe. I really loved the simplicity, but also the innovation of this dish.
Caviar with Almond Milk:
We had several mains, including an incredible sauteed squid dish. It came served with lots of forage and was so delicate, tender yet in a broth that was so warm and hearty. It made me feel all fussy on the inside and transported me simultaneously to a landscape of beautiful warm green meadows and the far depth of a deep blue sea.
This was followed by cod served hidden underneath a cabbage leaf. Not only was the cod so tender, in perfect burnt butter sauce, that really gave a hint of sour notes to the ensemble. Also might I remind you: These vegetables! The cabbage was crunchy and made me wonder how cabbage got such a bad name in the first place. We should be eating cabbage all the time. And in fact I would be, if it tasted this good.
Why did cabbage get such a bad name?
As our last 'main' we had a a sous-vide lamb chop served with fresh asparagus and morrel. This was a perfect 'end' to our proper dishes. Mainly because it was a small and light main, and after all these dishes anything heavier would have killed my tummy.This was, like all the other dishes, understated, somehow, in it's presentation and even the nature of the fine flavours, and simultaneously bold not only in it's execution but in it's idea.
Sous-vide lamb chop:
This brings me to the last stand-out achievement of Studio; forcing us to not only try but also fall in-love with unlikely body parts. These included lamb's heart served as a starter with dip, to be eaten with tweezers (Yes Tweezers!), a pig's ear crisp (again; please start a 'cracker' company) hidden beneath the cabage with the cod, and as part of the desert, and the reason I only mention this now; blood-pudding!
The very last desert (of two) consisted of sweet peas, cocoa-nibs and black-pudding on a sourcream sorbet with some type of parsillie on top. It sounds like a starter, I know, but it was so sweet, the subtle hints of dark chocolate powering through and creating the perfect ending to the perfect foodie evening.
Blood-pudding and cacao-nib desert:
Going to bed that night I was over the moon. Studio is the most relaxed, fun and innovative dining experience I have ever had. Truly unlike anything else. Really something. What a welcomed competition to Noma (that you are actually looking down upon) across the Copenhagen waters.
Let's go back soon. And do it all again.