By reinventing a Danish classic, Adam Aamann has become one of Scandinavia's most lauded chefs and his casual-cool Smørrebrød restaurant is one of Copenhagen’s best.
When it comes to food, Copenhagen is one of our favorite cities to visit. It somehow manages to attract the most talented chefs we have ever come across and trying their restaurants is always a different (and amazing) experience. Alongside the fusion dishes and exotic recipes, many of the city’s chefs are redefining Denmark’s traditional cuisine, and updating century old classics, with modern fine-dining fare. A great example is Adam Aamann and his smørrebrød.
At its most basic level Smørrebrød is rye bread spread with butter, yet at Aamanns 1921 this traditional classic comes alive. Think toppings like pork crackling, smoked Icelandic salmon, fresh heirloom tomatoes, crisp apples, pickled herring...I could go on and on, but you get the point. The combinations are interesting, fresh, local, and so delicious.
Aamanns 1921 is a newer restaurant, but the Aamanns brand has been around for just over a decade and has established itself as one of Copenhagen’s most interesting food concepts. From its beginnings as a take away deli, it has expanded to encompass three separate properties and even had an outpost in New York for a while
Located off of a beautiful courtyard right in the center of town, this certainly feels like one of the city’s most talked about restaurants. As soon as you walk in you are hit by the laid-back elegance of the place. The walls are white, the ceilings are high and the decoration is minimal and refined. On one side is the beautiful bar, behind which sit shelves filled with their homemade snaps...Oh yes they make their own snaps. Infused with everything from herbs to fruits and vegetables, line upon line of beautiful glass jars filled with liquid, cry out to be sampled. We didn’t know it at the time we were admiring them, but this is just one of the many things besides the food which chef and owner Adam Aamann makes himself. As well as the snaps he makes his own soaps, and a trip to the bathroom will give you an idea of how well he does them. It is safe to say that his skill set is varied.
We decided to let the chef take charge and choose what he wanted to put on our menu. We were given course after course, each with its own varied set of ingredients, but each united by the smørrebrød which formed a solid base to all the dishes (physically as well as conceptually, as each course sat on a rectangular slab of bread). The open-sandwich style of presentation highlights both the bread itself and the fillings perfectly.
The menu changes frequently, but you can count on interesting combinations of flavors with the perfect amount of crunch, savoriness and sweet. You can also rely on the sourcing of the ingredients. The all important rye and wheat flour used to make the smørrebrød come from the restaurant’s very own mill, ensuring that it is always fresh and made exactly to Adam’s specifications...this is a man who makes his own soap, so of course he takes control of the making of Aamanns’ main attraction. Most produce is locally sourced, with salmon imported from Iceland, and the herring from the North Atlantic and marinated for 6 - 12 months.
Every course was absolutely delicious, and every one of the different dishes matched the versatile and tasty smørrebrød. In a city of ‘must-try’ restaurants, Aamanns 1921 raises itself up from the crowd and announces itself as a true must do, especially if you are a foodie traveling to Copenhagen. The prices are good, the ambiance is comfortable and laid back, and the food is of course delicious! Now if only I could figure out how to bring home some of Adams soaps!
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