Restaurant Paustian v. Bo Bech, Copenhagen

Almost all are aware of the Sydney Opera House, but nearly none know the name of the man whose vision it was. He was Jørn Oberg Utzon. Even though a masterpiece – although arguably the most famous monument in the southern hemisphere – its construction and the near scandal that surrounded it, resulted in Utzon’s resignation and early return home shortly before the project’s finish. Having left Australia, his reputation somewhat besmirched, he continued working with success yet never again landed another major civic commission.

What was perhaps the world’s loss was the Danes’ gain – one Dane’s especially. Furniture magnet, Ole Paustian, hired Utzon to design his new waterfront showroom in Nordhavn where supply ships from Norway unload and reload whilst luxury yachts rest lazily. It turned out to be the architect’s last undertaking on native soil and, inspired by Denmark’s beech forests, was completed in 1987. An adjacent restaurant and office were added two years later; the former run as a reputable, local café under Erik Geppel until 2004 – until Bo Bech took over.

Bo Bech was a late beginner – but a quick bloomer. He had earned a university degree, been a salesman for General Motors and served as a soldier overseas all before he had even chosen to cook. ‘Italians and French,’ he asserts, ‘like to say that they learned to love food from their grandmother or something. Actually I have no idea when it begins. But all of a sudden, it’s there. And it feels right.’ Having not grown up with such ambitions, he considers himself ‘almost an accidental chef’.

After his studies, Bech craved a career wherein he would see instant results. He tried working at GM, but did not find what he sought there. Compulsory military service – a stretch in former Yugoslavia with the Danish Royal Guard – followed. It was then that he decided to try his hand at cooking; it was not clear how or why an interest in food started, but as soon as he realised it, ‘it was a revelation!’

Thus, at twenty-four, he joined Frank Lantz’s Krogs fiskerestaurant in Copenhagen, his hometown. ‘The norm was then to begin fourteen to sixteen year olds, so even from the outset I was a little behind in points,’ he remembers. Still, his eyes were immediately opened: ‘it just said, ‘boom! You’re home. And then it just takes off.’ Eager to make up for lost time, Bech set off on a two-year tour abroad. Moving first to London, he worked at le Gavroche then Marco Pierre White’s The Restaurant. He describes the last as ‘very crazy. But often when you learn the most you don’t know it. Often it’s because it looks very hard. When you leave, when you look back, you see the change in you for the better.’ Paris came next with eminent spells at Lucas Carton with Senderens and l’Arpège under Passard. Returning to Denmark, short stints at Kong Hans Kælder with Thomas Rode Andersen (Copenhagen), Michel Michaud’s Marie Louise (Odense) and Petri Pumpa for Thomas Drejing (Lund, Sweden) ensued. It was not till 2000 that Bech eventually (briefly) settled down as head chef at Jan Hurtigkarl & Co. in Ålsgårde.

Hurtigkarl was a ‘good teacher’ and he thought his experience there rewarding, but by the end of three years, the chef felt himself confronted with a choice – ‘should I continue in the direction I have right now or should I be independent?’ He wanted to go solo so left in October 2003. At that stage, however, all he had was an idea and desire; he needed a restaurant and he needed money. After some shiftless months – ‘one cannot build credibility lying on the couch and fifty kilos heavier’ – it was Paustian that finally ‘found him’. To purchase its lease, he approached the bank, but they refused to lend him the necessary cash. His response was to set up a stall in front of it and cook for the employees. It worked.

Restaurant Paustian v. Bo Bech opened in 2004. Three years later, it was recognised by Michelin with an espoir. Right away, the chef wanted more. And he got it. One year on, Bech won his first star. ‘It happens very rarely that I cannot control my body, but I must admit I cried for one hour when they called.’ It meant much: ‘it’s like getting three rockets in the ass – extra. This is a tribute to my whole team.’ Throughout this period though, the free-speaking and forthright chef had not stood still having also gained fame as the presenter of Denmark’s equivalents of Kitchen Nightmares (Med kniven for Struben) and Masterchef (Kokkekampen) as well as creating a stir in April 2009 when he opened his own bakery on Grand Kongensgade. The store had no name, no phone, no credit-card machine – and sold a single style of loaf. ‘To bake is quite simple – water, flour and salt, but it’s still crazy hard… [And] we want to make the best bread.’ Its launch was really a dream come true for him and to celebrate he had a Tagliavini-kiln furnace – ‘[it’s] an Italian Ferrari of an oven’ – specially imported for it.

Whilst the bakery is set in Copenhagen’s centre, the restaurant resides further north within Nordhavn – the recently reclaimed nineteenth century dock that is now the intended subject of Scandinavia’s most ambitious city development scheme, the Nordholmene Urban Delta. Specifically sitting in the part of the port known as Kalkbrænderihavnen – where limestone was once the chief custom – Bo Bech is directly opposite the imposing, industrial Svanemølleværket thermal power plant, each on either edge of Denmark’s largest yacht harbour, the thousand-berth-strong Svanemøllehavnen.

Bold, black vertical letters spell out Paustian down one entire face of the furniture-shop and are visible from nearly any angle around the marina. Standing just before the store, but accessed through the same building, is the actual restaurant. Two sets of double-doors lead on from the entrance, the second of which bears the work of celebrated Danish artist John Kørner. Once through, guests are greeted by a larger-than-life statue of a dog in the small, red-light reception that borders a blossoming herb garden. Straight ahead, there is the open kitchen where Bech does his business. On the right, divided off by a row of dense columns, is the dining room. A series of sizeable windows rim its three bright white sides, although the inner walls themselves are significantly inset, in effect making each casement a bay. Above these, and separated by graffiti-like skyline illustrations of Copenhagen, London, NYC and Berlin courtesy of the OEPS Crew, is another array of smaller apertures.

The twenty-foot high, subtly slanted, purple ceiling creates an ample and dramatic space that revolves around a central serving station composed of open and closed rectangles and adorned with seasonal flora. Clusters of light bulbs dangle on long leashes from the roof, individually encased in irregular and oversized orbs that seem as if spun from sugar. The newly renovated room has been furnished by Paustian and boasts less than a dozen tables – one of which carries wheels of cheese and another, a great lemon-coloured champagne bath. Those that are used are bare bar varying small organic ornaments such as a fresh herb pot, whole squash or cauliflower. Staff are in casual uniforms specially made by Vilsbol de Arce.

Bo Bech offers a lunch carte of two to five courses as well as two extended, spontaneous tasting menus – the poetically entitled, Alkymisten (Alchemist) and vegetarian Klorofyl (Chlorophyll)…

Amuse Bouche 1: Dag gammelt brød med efterårs trøffel. The fragrance of freshly grated autumn truffle was this meal’s earliest sensation. It arose from a round, mesh cracker composed of day-old breadcrumbs over strewn with the shaved tuber. Stale bread – something commonly binned or, at best, fed to the birds – had been reconstructed as a medium for one of man’s most valuable foodstuffs.

Amuse Bouche 2: Råkost af rødbeder med grov sennepsmousse. A trinity of small mitre-like, burgundy beet bundles, bejewelled with plump flavescent beads of mustard seed, formed a crescent around a sculpted scoop of speckled coarse mustard; punctuated by drops of balsamic vinegar, a little mustard oil sprinkled the plate. There was a keen and careful balance here. The three varieties of mustard custom-mixed into one had sweet-heat that was cooled by the raw ravioli comprising crisp beetroot skins wrapped about the vegetable’s earthier mousse. The balsamic was syrupy-sharp whilst the seeds added pungent notes as did the oil, those of nut.

Amuse Bouche 3: Svampebouillon. Poured at the table, a mushroom bouillon was next. From auburn to ochre to bronze, the wide, white bowl meant that the still, reflective surface of the soup seemed to change colour with the crockery’s depth. No cutlery came. Instead, one was obliged to lift the bowl to their lips and sip; the effect of this – besides obviously being able to taste the broth – was the extra emphasis on its aroma as it neared the nose. Made from morels, girolles and button mushrooms, this was toothsome and heartening.

Brødet: Porøst maltbrød, surdejsbrød og kærnemælksbrød med lakrids. Swart malt bread wrought as a long rectangle, its sides convex, was brittle and verged on bitter; Bech’s signature sourdough, baked at his own bakery, was crusty, firm and flavoursome; but the small buttermilk bun, thinly painted with subtly sticky Pakistani liquorice powder, was deliciously addictive and the favourite. Set in austere ebony holders, two types of butter were provided: a lightly Læsø-salted organic standard from Denmark’s oldest dairy, Åbybro Mejeri; and a beurre noisette one made from the former, which had at first been caramelised then allowed to cool before being whipped into something moreish.

Entrée 1: Lameller af avocado med let saltet caviar og mandler. A perfect square – nine by nine centimetres – constructed from super-thin strips of avocado, their inner ends intertwined alternately and overlapping each other, came lightly laminated with almond oil, a little lemon and crowned with a black cluster of caviar. The presentation was superb: each lustrous lamella of the Has avocado had a unique hue that in concert acted as a single brilliant and bright sheet upon the perfect alabaster bed underneath; the cushion of glistening, ebon eggs lay in its centre. Buttery and mildly nutty, the fruit’s taste was accentuated by the almond oil; the Rossini ‘Baeri’ caviar was the condiment, offering a salty counterpoint.  

Entrée 2: Æstetiske jomfruhummere i vilde grannåle parfumeret med røg. A considerable piece of cracked and peeling spruce was presented at the table; a small chalice holding smoked salt was placed alongside. Almost at once, the floral, woody scent of smouldering lumber was sensed. The lid-like top layer of bark was lifted to reveal a charred mass of the same tree’s leaves; further inspection unearthed a single, warm langoustine secreted within the charred sprigs. Spiced well by robust traditional Viking salt, the pan-seared then smoked shellfish was succulent and tinged with the flame’s flavours.

Entrée 3: Braiseret porre med saft af grønne jordbær og limfjordsøsters. A braised leek, sliced into equal, little lengths, was peppered with diced oyster leaf from Gotland and laid over an oyster mousse that rested in the juice of unripe strawberries. The mellow and tender vegetable had an instant affinity with the elemental leaf and excellent paste – the last of which was made from Limfjord molluscs, which some consider the finest anywhere. The surrounding strawberry jus had an interesting, subtle acidity that complemented the bivalve and leek very well.

Entrée 4: Råstegt sort hummer med knuste kartofler og vilde krydderurter . Danish ‘asparagus’ potatoes, boiled with skins intact then crushed, came arranged in an interchanging ring with pan-fried local black lobster; over everything, an almost unseen crust of hay-smoked cheese was stretched across, itself garnished with various young greens. Within this circlet, what had at initially appeared another potato was actually a poached hen’s egg. The herbs – fennel, sage, spearmint, nasturtium, coriander – left fresh and minty bitter-sweetness that offset the richness of the smoky-sweet hø-ost and sticky egg. The soft, surprisingly delicate yet rustic kartofler were well-seasoned as was the juicy shellfish.

Entrée 5: Røget ål med cremet peberrod og havesyre. A smear athwart one half of the plate started intense myrtle and finished chiffon coloured. Upon the converse side, a spruce sorrel stalk sat dusted with dried eel; beneath the blade was a filet of the smoked fish itself. This last element, whence emanated an enticing scent, was delicious and full-flavoured. The lemony leaf was a first-rate foil whilst the spicy, creamy horseradish and refreshing parsley were classic combinations. The chalky crumbs atop the sorrel – cured eel commixed with maltodextrin – added a touch of sweetness and imparted a pleasing mouth-feel.

Plat Principal 1: Vesterhavspighvar med bløde tomatnuancer. The restaurantchef presented a plump tomato tableside, which he proceeded to press with a yellow plastic lemon squeezer. His task done, a deep dish, empty except for a roasted tranche of turbot, was delivered; into this, different types of tomato cooked in a sauce made from the tête de turbot and their own jus were ladled before the just-extracted juice was poured in.

The west coast fish was terrific – nicely-caramelised, thick and firm, it was very tasty. The fresh tomato sauce, instilled with the liquor from the fish’s head, had serious savour whilst the peeled fruit, some pickled and others not, in assorted shades, were lovely and warm, delivering agreeably sweet acidity.

Plat Principal 2: Trækuls grillede oksemørbrad fra Farsø med syltet purløgsblomster. Upon flat, white porcelain lay nothing but what looked like a lump of coal and specks of coarse sea salt. Cutting into the jagged, jet-black brick exposed a cerise-coloured core of char-grilled Farsø beef tenderloin atop a pickled chive flower-bed. Although the meaty filet was decent and moist, it was really the stinging ash coating the beef that made this worthwhile and the vinegary-sweet mini blossoms that kept one’s attention.

Plat Principal 3: Grydestegt med efterårs trøffel og smørvalle. Service in five phases entailed the arrival of a sizeable autumn truffle and grater, followed by the advent and unveiling of a large cocotte containing an entire cauliflower head covered in the finely shredded fungus. Step three, a plate appeared, furnished in advance with some truffle cream coated in frothy butter whey; four, the vegetable was apportioned; before a final shaving of more tuber over everything.

The pot-roasted cauliflower shared an innate bond with the butter and truffle and also proved a suitable counter for the appetisingly subtly sour whey.

Plat Principal 4: Brissel, hale og bryst af kalv med stuvede morkler. Surrounded by shallow jus de veau, three morsels – thirds of a single sweetbread – amidst a threesome of morels, each set arrect and stuffed with veal tail muscle, stood in alternating sequence, a wreath of fried veal breast fibres overlaying all. These threads melted on the tongue, releasing meaty relish. Plump, stewed mushrooms resembled sponges while the braised meat within them was tender and distinct. Creamy-smooth sweetbreads had succulence and the sauce, satisfying strength.

Plat Principal 5: Lammekollagen med kastanie. A trio of chestnut-encrusted lamb cheeks were planted aslant the lip of a plate, loosely tracing the edge of a small maroon mizzling of jus d’agneau. The braised nuggets were rich and well-grained, if a little dense; the ground nut glaze was a great complement to the meat as well as the potent lamb jus.

Pre-dessert: Oxideret rugbrød med bitter ale og frossen mælkeskind. A pale goldenrod dome was the pivot point around which the crockery’s rim swirled skywards. Rupturing this burnished frozen milk-skin revealed milk mousse and oxidised rye bread crème underneath it. This rye was velvety and slightly astringent; the Funs dark beer it has been blended with, quite malty with tones of toffee; whilst the milky, cool middle, the sweeter contrast. This was a modern twist on a Danish classic – øllebrød or bread porridge.

Dessert 1: Kandiserede bagte vilde brombær med blåbær. A large, deep cylinder of candyfloss was served crowned with a cardinal quenelle of blackberry. A wild forest fruit coulis was subsequently issued over this fluffy drum. Immediately it melted. But, as it vanished, it exposed a bundle of baked berries – raspberry, blueberry, blackberry – that had been bunched beneath it and now sat semi-submerged in vibrant scarlet sauce.

The candy had become a nearly invisible sheet of sugar with enjoyably gritty texture that married well with the viscid, tartly-sweet fruits that it swathed. The superb sorbet also contributed to the differing degrees of consistency here.

Dessert 2: Karamelliserede Fransk toast med vanille og skrøbelige bobler af brunt smør. A thick, bulky cube of caramelised French toast was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cloud of brown butter ‘bubbles’. Adeptly fried, the pain perdu was sweet and soft whilst the foamy beurre noisette emulsion augmented its deep savour, which the ice cream – that kept its shape even though the bread below was quite warm – helped temper.

Dessert 3: Imaginære landskaber af chokolade med aromatisk hasselnød. A field of raw hazelnuts, cocoa butter and baked white chocolate formed a slack square; a liberal spot of sugar beet syrup lay in one corner and a boule of hazelnut ice cream, opposite. The clustered array of crumbs was crunchy and creamy: baked white chocolate was brittle and sweet; cocoa butter – the natural fat of the cocoa bean and what becomes white choc with milk and sugar – had melting texture; and hazel, nuttiness. The sorbet was mild; the beet syrup, like honey.

Petit Fours: Petit fours og kaffe. An overflowing tray held a tower of orange zest-freckled candyfloss that was fragrant with hints of citrus. A small chocolate slab was actually an airy yet compacted macaroon whilst a button of synthetic soya tasted intense and smooth. Lastly, a bowl bore confit English liquorice black olives. This fascinating flavour pairing was startling and, although these were somewhat strong, they were rather addictive too.

Service, whilst professional remained relaxed throughout with all the staff possessing an easy, affable mien. They were also diligent, attentive and had a precise knowledge of the food and its preparation. Despite being a relatively new and youthful team, led by Patrick, there was yet a fluent cooperation and certain enthusiasm amongst them. In addition, a special mention was earned by Julie’s remarkable memory.

The open kitchen allowed both the welcome hubbub of frying pans and bubbling pots to be heard as well as the opportunity to observe Bech in action. As a television personality he perhaps better understands/feels the desire of/importance for many customers to see him there themselves, actually working – and he does indeed cut a poignant figure as he cooks on his own, composed and in total control. That being said, it was also clear the chef was not, in such a way, seeking the attention of an audience – diners are regularly seated with backs towards him. Thus, instead of acting as the star upon some stage, his role rather resembles instead that of a conductor, studying his guests’ reactions and re-acting.

This meal was of a superior standard.

Time and again, amuses are illuminating moments. Today it was no different. Even though each of the dag gammelt brød, råkost af rødbeder and svampebouillon individually demonstrated specific aspects of the chef’s cuisine, together they also showed one more – this would be a lunch unpredictable…

These snacks started with a consummate contradiction: leftovers and luxury. It was a statement: ‘we will spoil you, but we are going to have fun doing it.’ Nor was that the end of the antonyms evoked by this teaming together of stale bread and truffle – here was super-crisp and soft; fragile and dainty against rough and carefree; old versus fresh. Next, the raw beet ravioli revealed that, when it comes to realising recipes, Bech possesses a strong intuition for arresting aesthetic as well as a feminine touch that allows him to assemble dishes calling for delicacy and deftness too. Lastly, the wild mushroom bouillon exhibited the chef’s consciousness of how all one’s senses contribute to an experience as well as proof that he is comfortable and confident enough in his cooking to serve even the simplest looking offerings

The menu serious commenced with the chef’s signature: lameller af avocado. This was what Bech admits redefined his cooking. This was the recipe that revealed to him the delights of creating conflict within a dish, the amusing satisfaction achieved through curious contrast between rich and poor products. His representation of this concept was pristine and refined yet restrained and discreet; it resembled a work of art. Succeeding this was the æstetiske jomfruhummere, whose arrival was made even more emphatic for its juxtaposition with the previous course. Rustic, dramatic and engaging, this was nearly a challenge to the avocado and caviar before.

Lunch moved into another gear with the braiseret porre; once again attractive, this also demonstrated easy, effective balance betwixt excellent ingredients. It was followed by råstegt sort hummer. Bo Bech enjoys working with the primitive potato, ‘…it may be everything. [They] are something we can use every day without giving them a second thought. Potatoes are neutral and can weave themselves into every meal.’ Here, the luxurious lobster and simple spud had been made to seem the same – still in their skins, to touch, both were yielding yet supple. The medial egg, masquerading as another tater or even perhaps some shellfish, was further manifestation of the chef’s typifying subtle – sometimes sneaky – wit.

Smoked eel with creamy horseradish and sorrel was a classic combination of products in a new way – whilst also mingling the modern with the natural. After a dish northerly in origin came one more southerly in style. North Sea Turbot with soft nuances of tomato was a definite, delicious highlight; its fresh colours and vivid savours making this a very memorable course. The tableside rendering of its sauce was also novel and nice. Next to really make an impact was the sweetbread, tail and breast of veal with stewed morels – the 2009 Årets Gericke winner. Intense and satisfying this created a climax to the carte.

Sweets met the savouries’ high measure. A very traditional Danish treat – Øllebrød – was deconstructed by Bech with his recreation, although unrecognisable on sight, at once familiar in flavour. The kandiserede bagte vilde brombær, so whimsical in its delivery, verged on spellbinding with a taste and mouthfeel just as successful; karamelliserede Fransk toast was a tasty and technical achievement; whilst imaginære landskaber af chokolade, a fulfilling chocolate finish.

This extended menu informed – this writer at least – of four clear-cut fundamentals upon which Bo Bech’s cooking is built.

The most marked tenet of this quartet is what the chef himself describes as ‘friendly conflict’ and which has already been implied above a propos the lameller af avocado. From the first amuse – earlier-termed leftovers and luxury – a pattern was established. Avocado and caviar; leek and oyster; potato and lobster; tomato and turbot; cauliflower and truffle; and offal with morels continued the trend. Bech confesses to being fascinated by such contrast and revels in being able to elevate the most modest of produce to the level of those more appreciated. It is something he does so well: instead of a forced or harsh mishmash, it is a jestful struggle shaped by humour and intelligence and consummated with superb and nimble balance.

One aspect of the chef’s creations that interests and stirs utmost is his cultivated sense of aesthetic. Each course was pleasingly picturesque. From those most straightforward and simplistic appearing – the svampebouillon, for instance – to the more complicated – say the brissel, hale og bryst af kalv med stuvede morkler – there remained an alluring harmony of hues and dramatic candour. Another notable detail was the seamless association between plate and presentation with the chef’s use of the crockery and his ability to sculpt the recipe to suit it some of the best I have seen. Furthermore, Bech is able to fashion dishes that have diners almost simultaneously assuming how effortless they are whilst trying to understand just how their composition were even possible. In partnership with this expert arrangement was well-thought out delivery: nature’s introduction into the dining room with the æstetiske jomfruhummere; the visible juicing (upon a luminous, plastic squeezer no less) for the vesterhavspighvar; the showing off of the large cocotte carrying grydestegt blomkål (instead of something likelier like a classic stew); and, foremost among these, the amusing, evanescing kandiserede bagte being the most special such instances. In nearly all these, as well as others (trækuls grillede oksemørbrad, råstegt sort hummer…) there was also the afore-alluded to clever and sharp comedy.

A small, but acutely apperceived point was the easy discernment of a definite and deliberate segue between courses and certain culmination to the meal itself. It felt as if the order of what came was given real consideration with the intention to lead the diner leisurely through their experience. ‘We are doing everything we can to get people to relax and enjoy themselves,’ Bech explains. There was a genuine sensation of savours progressing in intensity throughout lunch too.

Finally – and hopefully not a total negation of what has already been written – there are no rules: you simply could not guess what would be served next. In this single meal, French, Italian, Spanish, and naturally, Nordic influences were evident. Yet each of these differing inspirations were materialised with instinctive skill in impeccable manner. The surprise was also not limited to geographical location, but extended to technique; traditional means were met by modern. Just as John Utzen took as his muse the homemade houses of Morocco, ancient Mexican plateaus and temples, Arabic tents and so on, Bech draws on his travels too. Encouraged by his favourites – l’Arpège and Mugaritz included – as well as where he was worked, the chef has articulated his own specific expression, unbounded and uninhibited: ‘I have no prejudices about what one can and cannot do with food. On the contrary, I desire that everything should be tested.’

There is nothing wrong with the ordinary, but I love to explore new avenues.’ Indeed in years past, Bech did indulge his appetite for experimentation and molecular was the marker with which his cuisine was decisively stamped. If true then, it is false today. To label his cooking as MG now would be simply incorrect and not do the chef justice. Reading accounts of older meals, it is apparent that this is a cuisine in a state of evolution. A critical shift can be seen from a scientific base onto one organic with the former a term he no longer wishes to be ring fenced by; ‘I do not think we focus on [it]. It’s just a tag with many uses because they find it hard to put me in a box creatively. In reality, it probably scares more than it really attracts.’ This does not mean Bech has abandoned all his avant-garde habits, however when developing new dishes, it is legumes he ponders first. Perhaps recalling his days at Petri Pumpa, a vegetable kitchen, in Lund, he declares, ‘every meat can be loosely identified. It can, for example, be hard to taste the difference between calf and beef. On the other hand, green matter in its own natural form is easy to recognise. Nothing can be compared with celery, carrots or leeks.’

Moreover – and to conclude this issue – the very phrase, molecular gastronomy, feels cold, detached and inaccessible – in other words, everything Bech is not. Technically exacting he is, innovative too and fond of pushing borders, but scientific is a title that simply does not sit well. After all, this is a chef – un cuisinier – preparing food with emotion, reflection and respect. Rather than systematic, clinical and unemotional, it is abounding with affection, tenderness and sensitivity. ‘Most food is not hard to do, it is the love that it’s made with that makes all the difference,’ he insists.

Bo Bech is able to weave together the diverse influences and varied themes that dominate his style into a distinctive and exceptional cuisine, into a unique and exciting interpretation of splendid ingredients. It is a thoughtful and suggestive approach that is direct, clear and clean, bright and prepared with patience, sincerity and grace. Employing relatively few elements and with a healthy focus on vegetables, the chef creates plates plush with colour combined with immaculate and meticulous minimalism that are never as simple as they seem. The result is surprising and entertaining, provocative yet richly personal.

Enfants terribles is how the Danish press have dubbed Bech along with fellow chef and friend Paul Cunningham. This is because he cooks how he wants – without confines: ‘I just think that I do what I like. My strength lies in the fact that I am not trying to please everybody.’

Dining here, this is clear. At Bo Bech’s, you never know what you will get…

…but in the very, very best of ways.


Kalkbrænderiløbskaj 2, 2100 København Ø
tel: +45 39 18 55 01
nearest metro: Nordhavn


9 Responses to “Restaurant Paustian v. Bo Bech, Copenhagen”

  1. 1 Josh May 8, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I like this.

  2. 2 Chef Chris Miller May 8, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I feel that the writing is as rich as the cuisine!

  3. 3 ChuckEats May 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    the truffle dish looks beautiful – that last picture is pretty cool

  4. 4 svatzini May 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I am flabbergasted. What a tremendous -sounding & -looking meal. I can’t wait to get to Copenhagen to actually taste it! Thanks for the superb write-up (as usual) and (particularly) fetching photography.

    Best regards,


  5. 5 BPark May 11, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Incredibly good writeup.

    Once again, you did a fantastic job of exploring the history behind the chef, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

    Pretty much all other Food Blogs i’ve seen pale in comparison to yours when it comes to knowledge and history of the food.

  6. 6 Food Snob May 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you all for the kind words.

    @Josh I like too
    @Chuck it seems you are not alone:
    @BPark lool. blush.

  7. 7 Nancy June 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Bravo, another great review. I have lined up my dinners in Copenhagen but have an open space for either Bo Beck or Sollerod Kro. (We’re reserved at noma, aoc and I am hoping that Geranium will be open as well.) I would be grateful for your advice. All the best.

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