Where the wild things are: Vildt & Vin
The Copenhagen culinary scene is ever-evolving; new restaurants, cafés, and bars pop up every week, and attempting to try them all can sometimes feel like herding cats. As soon as you’ve made a reservation one place, three others have opened and are looking mighty interesting as well. I love trying out new things, and I will admit that I like being sort of a “pioneer” – going to a new restaurant as one of the first ones to see what it’s like. However, I won’t go to a place that doesn’t look appealing to me only because the crowds are flocking there. Over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed a trend here in Copenhagen of some new cafés and bars being all over Instagram, and if you haven’t been there, you’re totally out of touch (Mirabelle and Atelier September come to mind, and more recently, Mad og Kaffe). Once a place is hyped to that degree, weirdly enough, I turn into a little hipster and become very reluctant to go there. And when I do, more often than not it turns out to be disappointing anyways.
After this lengthy introduction, the place I’m telling you about today is brand new, too (just about two weeks old), but it hasn’t been hyped all over the place, and is – in my opinion – well worth a visit. Located on Enghavevej, just off of Vesterbrogade, used to be the oldschool Danish restaurant “Tove Ditlevsens Mindehave”, where you could get classics like stegt flæsk (urgh!) and smørrebrød. On July 18th, a new concept restaurant opened here: Vildt & Vin (translates to Game & Wine).
As the name suggests, Vildt & Vin specializes in game as well as more exotic meats. The vast majority of ingredients is organic, all meat – no matter how exotic – is from non-endangered species, and all fish is MSC certified. Since it was my last day at work before starting a new job, we decided to celebrate the new beginning with a dinner. You can order a three-course menu in advance – I’m not sure if that will be the case going forward or just in the opening phase. We opted for the pre-set menu of gazpacho, slow roasted leg of zebra, and panna cotta. I was quite excited about the zebra, as that certainly qualifies as the most exotic meat I’ve eaten so far.
The interior is rustic, but charming. Dark wood, deer heads, and exotic hunting trophies create a log cabin atmosphere. When we walked in, it smelled deliciously of roast meat. There’s a chalkboard that shows where the meat on the day’s menu comes from. Most of it, the wild boar, deer, and mussels, were sourced locally in Denmark.
Seating is unconventional, with smaller dining parties placed together at long tables. We were seated at one of the high tables that line the walls and soon, we were ready to order. As we had pre-bought the menu, we only needed to decide on wines, so we started out with a glass of bubbles. We were served bread, too, a delicious baguette with thyme, paprika, and garlic.
The first course, a gazpacho with wild tomatoes, was very nicely seasoned, and there were some chunks of fresh veggies, bread croutons, and pieces of salami, which added a nice bite and flavor. Topped off with grated mozzarella and herbs, it really hit the spot for me.
Our main course was clearly the most anticipated of the night – although the boyfriend was very excited about the panna cotta, too; who knew he was such a fan of it? Thin slices of zebra leg, which had been slow roasted for 24 hours, served as what I would call (correct me if I’m wrong!) au jus – with its own juices – a thin, intense, broth-like sauce. There were roasted root vegetables, portobello mushroom, and mashed green peas, too, which gave the whole dish the feeling of a Sunday roast.
The zebra meat was very tender, and the taste comes very close to beef, with just a little bit of the intense flavor of game. The boyfriend said it most reminded him of veal. As a side, we got some roasted new potatoes, which lacked a bit of salt for my taste, but were perfectly cooked. As none of us had tried zebra before, we relied on the waiter’s recommendation for wine and went with a light red from Northern Italy, which complemented the flavors nicely without being too overbearing.
Finally, it was time for dessert. I’m a dessert girl, so I’m pretty much happy with whatever you put in front of me, and this delicious panna cotta was no exception. It could have had a touch more vanilla for me, but the texture was spot on. I didn’t really need the chocolate sauce – I would have preferred more fresh berries instead – but the creamy strawberry coulis was great.
One word on service: it was a bit up-and-down throughout the night (the couple next to us had already ordered when we were seated, received their starters before us, their mains after us. and their dessert before us again), and there were some longer waiting times before dessert and after we’d finished. But all staff was super friendly and helpful; we had ordered our wines in the beginning and asked for the red to come with the mains, which it didn’t at first, but the waiter was super quick to bring it after we’d asked, and apologized about fourteen times! Seeing as it is their first month, I think it’s absolutely okay that processes need some ironing out and staff are still getting the hang of things. As long as the staff is friendly and attentive, I’m happy.
I recommend this restaurant if you are a fan of game or if you want to try something new and exotic. We’ll definitely be going back in the fall, to try some wild boar or venison. Prices are absolutely fair, too.
Vildt & Vin – Enghavevej 12-14 – vildtogvin.dk