Danish Restaurants

Tasty Tuesday – Half a Meal at Era Ora

Well that’s a big understatement. In terms of sweets and good company it was right up there with the Sunday roast. Here’s what transformed a dull weekday into a drunken pleasure.

The name of the secret drug was Giro del Sapore. It’s Italian for “a tour of flavours” and was an introduction to three Italian sister restaurants in one evening. Starters and snacks at Acquamarina (fish & seafood), a taxi to have the first course(s) at L’Altro (rustic “homecooking”) and finally a hazy walk down to Era Ora (Michelin star-studded), where the main course, cheese, desserts (yes there were two!) and coffee with sweets were served. Quite a challenging evening but in a very lazy way.

When we first made our booking, we had no idea how the concept would unfold and as the date grew closer, we started guessing and plotting: “Will it feel like one long sales pitch?”, “Will we have to talk to other people?”, “Would they mind it if we brought Tupperware for the leftovers?” So by the time we arrived, we were kind of expecting it to be like the first dinner at the inlaws’, complete with sooo-what-do-you-do-for-a-living’s, silence broken only by awkward clanging of glasses against plates and screeching cutlery.

But boy were our indulgent prejudices put to shame! Never again will I question the eternal niceness of other food lovers. Or the wisdom of Nicky (Delicious Days), who said that she somehow always really clicked with other foodies. It was a bit like being in Babette’s Feast, where a heavenly meal had the power to unite a crusty old congregation, only all of us played the part of the general who was able to identify the meal as the masterpiece of a well-known chef. Anyway, enough of Karen Blixen and her crusty bits. Let’s jump straight to dessert.

Nikolaos Strangas, dessert chef at Era Ora, where have you been all my life? I want to have your baby! If not for any other reason, then for you to relieve me of my fancy pastry cravings while I’m preggers. Hell, with the rate I’ll be slugging down the cakes, I won’t be needing a baby to get a bump growing. Or maybe I should just kidnap you and lock you in my basement with state of the art kitchen gear (but only rubber knives – I’m no fool) and let you slave away all day. No, I would neeeever do that. Promise. I’ll content myself with a pitstop at your newly opened Cake-Away on Åboulevarden 7 in Copenhagen. Have already made advances to the lovely ladies Kerry and Louise, so maybe I will be able to behave after all. But wait – haven’t even mentioned the desserts yet. Bad girl!

After my encounters with the Nordic approach to desserts at nomaAOC and Dragsholm Slot, I have started missing a bit of oomph at the end of my meal. Maybe it’s because I’ve mostly had lunch at those places, but the desserts have always had a certain lightness and delicacy to them that keep me wanting more, even needing to order petits fours just to make sure I had my chocolate orgasm at the end. My point is, that even if we were pampered with coffee sweets at Era Ora (the first picture) they weren’t necessary to finish me off.

The first dessert was a scoop of blood orange sorbet on a bed of cookie crumble and a smooth blob of panna cotta flavoured only with a cone shaped sugar type called “panella”. A very well balanced dish with the tart sorbet refreshing the palate after the cheeses, the crumble adding sound and texture and the panna cotta indicating the more indulgent style of the following dessert.  Next up was a kind of thick chocolate wave on top of which were placed a scoop of sweet liquorice sorbet, a square of mocha cream on a thin cake and some more crunch.  Very easy on the eyes, not too heavy on the tummy and very satisfying on the taste buds. Finally, we had a tray of little treats to go with the coffee: Soft and dense chocolate truffles, tiny carrot cakes (not my choice for that setting) and differently flavoured marshmallows with the perfect bite to them: (as far as I could tell) Blackcurrant, salty liquorice and passion fruit all of which were my favourite. In fact I can’t wait to try using blackcurrant in my marshmallows the next time.

So, my dear readers. The moral of this story is: If you have yet to make a New Year’s resolution, make it to try Nikolaos’ little pieces of art before 2012. And now: Time for some sleepy eye.