Last year, I was sad to hear that one of my favorite restaurants in Copenhagen, Oliver and the Black Circus, had closed its doors. But I was equally excited to see what new restaurant would move into the beautiful house on Teglgårdsstræde between City Hall square and Nørreport.
A couple of weeks ago, I got the answer: the former head chef of Michelin-starred Era Ora, Nicola Fanetti, has ventured out on his own with a new concept of Italian-Nordic fusion, opening new Restaurant Brace in the former Circus locales.
The interior is more clean and less playful than it was before – the artwork on the ceiling has been painted over, and the place looks more grown-up and elegant. I love the little courtyard in front of the house, which looked especially quaint with the layer of snow that had fallen just the day before.
We were welcomed by the friendly staff and manager, and decided to start out with a cocktail from their selection. The drinks are classics with a twist, such as my “New Fashioned” with blackberries and rosemary.
The menu is simple – you can choose either 8 or 12 servings. We went for the full-on experience.
First up were some snacks:
Looking at the dishes, you can clearly see the concept of uniting the Italian and Nordic cuisines – combining ingredients like moss or parmesan cheese, for example.
The first course leaned more heavily on the Nordic side: Danish squid, cooked in its own ink, with pumpkin mash, crispy quinoa, and sorrel. I have to admit that I’m not the biggest squid fan, but this was actually really tasty and a lovely combination of flavors and textures – and certainly visually spectacular! I don’t think I’m a full-on squid convert yet, though.
For drinks, there are different wine pairings to choose from, but since we had work the next day, we decided to just share a bottle. We opted for an Italian blend of Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, which we really enjoyed. The wine menu is diverse, but heavy on the Italians, of course.
Next up was one of my favorites of the night. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this risotto with cauliflower and pine oil – it was absolutely exquisite and complex in flavors! On a side note, it is quite difficult to make a risotto look good on a plate.
There were lovely nutty notes from the cauliflower, as well as the trademark freshness of the pine, and I really wanted to take home a huge portion of this in a Tupperware box!
Our next course was a really interesting mix: Brussels sprouts (love them!) with hazelnuts, pork skin, and topped with hay ash. I loved the combination of the bitterness, nutty flavors, and charred aromas, together with the saltiness of the pork skin.
You can’t go to an Italian restaurant and not expect some pasta dish! Next on the menu was this pink beauty with lamb, mushrooms, and a raspberry powder. This may sound weird, but I enjoyed it – definitely one of the most interesting flavor combinations. Also, did I mention that it was pink?!
For a veggie intermezzo, we were served black salsify with white roots, garlic bulbs and a celery root gaze. Like the others, this dish was beautifully plated as well.
The main meat course was a bavette steak with black garlic, dragon kale, and blood orange. The meat was incredibly tender and had loads of flavor. It was matched nicely with the crispy kale and the blood orange sauce.
This was the one dish – except for the lamb maybe – where I would have preferred a red wine, but the white we had chosen actually paired up pretty well with most of the food over the course of the night.
The next-to-last course was a sort of pre-dessert to cleanse the palate: beetroot topped with green apple slices alongside the most delicious kiwi granita. I loved that there wasn’t too much sweetness; instead, the flavors were tangy and refreshing, just perfect to cut in between the heavy meat dish and classically sweet dessert that followed.
The grand finale was my other favorite of the day – big surprise, since I’ve admitted multiple times to having the biggest sweet tooth. A Nordic-inspired take on one of the most famous Italian desserts: tiramisu. This one was prepared with akvavit instead of Marsala, and malt cookies instead of the classic ladyfingers. Absolutely amazing!
I finished with an espresso, which was served with the petit four of the day, a small orange flavored cake. Super delicious – although by this time, I was quite full already!
Restaurant Brace is a really exciting new entry to the Copenhagen food scene, and the concept of Italian-Nordic fusion is definitely unique. Prices are absolutely fair: DKK 775 for the 12-course menu, DKK 515 for 8 courses. There are different wine pairings available, bottle prices start around DKK 350.
So if you’re looking for a dining experience that’s something different, I suggest you give Restaurant Brace a try!
Restaurant Brace Teglgårdsstræde 8A, 1452 Copenhagen restaurantbrace.dk
I was kindly invited by Restaurant Brace to try their new menu. All opinions are my own.