Around Copenhagen: Restaurant Gorilla

Around Copenhagen: Restaurant Gorilla

One of my favorite areas in Copenhagen, hands down, is the Meatpacking District – Kødbyen (btw, how awesome is it that this literally translates to “meat town”?!). During the last couple of years, it has gone from shady to super-hip, and I would say it is now the most interesting food scene cluster in the city of Copenhagen. New restaurants, bistros, cafés, and bars are popping up daily, with new and exciting concepts that aim to push the envelope and give you new food experiences. There’s Tommi’s Burger Joint, there’s Mother, there’s 1656 – just to name a few. And, since October last year, there’s a new heavyweight in “meat town”: Restaurant Gorilla.

The two men behind Gorilla, Rasmus Oubæk and Jesper Marcussen, already started Retour Steak together (and Rasmus is also the brains behind barbecue heaven Barbie), which is running successfully, and they’ve now set out to conquer Kødbyen with their new venture.

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The restaurant itself is huge, with room for 220 diners, and is located in Karrierebar’s old space. The interior is light and minimalistic, as is so typical for Kødbyen. I went with a group of 8 people, and we got a round table in the back, which was great – not least because it was located right in front of their giant, glass walk-in wine cabinet (note to self: I want one of those!).

The concept for Gorilla can be described briefly as “gourmet food in small portions to share”. You can get a 10-course menu for DKK 350, or a whopping 15 courses for DKK 450. Some of the dishes are served individually, others come on bigger plates to share around the table. Our party went for the 10 courses, and there was plenty of everything!

We started out with some delicious, home-baked bread – always a treat! The starters were some air-dried ham, and some chips with capers mayo (delicious! must try soon!), followed by white fish with baked tomatoes and ham jelly (that’s a thing!). Then, we got this absolute beauty of a dish:

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Tartare on an oyster cream with radicchio and potash. Soooooo good! Next, we got some amazing white fish with a crispy crust, cream of artichoke, roasted almonds, and pickled lemon.

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This was so amazingly delicious – the flavors really burst in your mouth. For wine, they have a large selection of wine by the glass, and they will also get you a glass of something that’s not on the menu. I chose a rosé, as that usually goes with pretty much everything, and it was very nice. Many of their wines are organic, so unless you’re an expert in the field, I’d probably recommend to ask the staff about the wines, as they can be a bit tricky. I should say though that I had a glass of champagne, a glass of rosé, and a glass of red, and they were all very good.

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Following the fish were two pasta dishes – quite probably my favorites for the night! One was fresh, homemade pasta with spicy Italian sausage, and the star of the night, gnocchi filled with three cheeses, ricotta, pecorino, and parmesan, served in a creamy, cheesy sauce. Those little cheese balls! I could’ve eaten them all, but I had to – begrudgingly – share them with my friends.

After the life-changing cheese balls, we were served the meat dishes: hanger steak with a salsa and jerusalem artichokes served on the side, and these delicious little beef brisket sliders with pickles. Messy to eat, but very delicious!

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Finally, it was time for dessert – or desserts! We got two: a chocolate and banana soft ice (I was skeptical, as I usually don’t like banana-flavored ice creams, yogurts, etc. – I think it easily tastes very artificial) and this deconstructed combination of a rum-raising ice cream with fresh pineapple and a caramel sauce, topped with cookie crumbles. Color me delighted!

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All in all, a great experience. We spent about 3 hours there, because the place was absolutely buzzing – I was just glad we didn’t choose the 15 dishes, otherwise we’d have been there even longer. I think the time is okay if that’s the only plan you have that night, but if you want to make it to the movies, theater, or else afterwards, you’d probably be uneasy and checking your watch every couple of seconds.

Service was very nice and usually quite quick. They also had a good understanding of the wine menu and were happy to give recommendations. The only thing that I found disturbing was that it was VERY loud. I guess that’s a result of both the informal feel of the place – this is not a starchy-white-tablecloths fancy gourmet temple. And then of course it’s a big place, and people were seated relatively close to each other. The atmosphere is nice, but I find it a bit exhausting to carry a conversation when you pretty much have to scream at each other.

The food, however, was really good. There wasn’t a single dish that I didn’t like. There were two or three that I probably wouldn’t order again, but they were okay anyways. The fish, the tartare, and the pasta dishes were my absolute favorites, and I would go there just to eat those cheese balls again!

Have you been to Gorilla? What’s your verdict? What other favorites do you have in Kødbyen?

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