For Michelin-standard food without the price tag, it doesn’t come much better than Copenhagen’s Uformel restaurant, edgy younger sibling to the much-loved Formel B. I was lucky enough to be invited along on a chilly February visit to the city, and boy, was I in for a treat…
They say that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. For me, that’s definitely the case.
It’s no secret that I love food. It’s one of my favourite things about travelling and it’s always such a fun learning curve dipping into the culinary treasure trove of a new country.
As the Venues Editor for a large cultural magazine, people often assume that I’m plied with free meals and sneaky drinks on the sly; sadly, that’s not the case! On the contrary, I have to be pretty careful about accepting gifts, lest I leave a nasty hint of ‘conflict of interests’ in the air.
I love visiting restaurants and coffee shops though, and always do my best to tuck into the local cuisine whenever I’m visiting somewhere new. It was a real treat then to be invited along to Restaurant Uformel, a popular gem in the heart of Copenhagen.
Uformel came highly recommended, its name circulated amongst fellow travel bloggers and also suggested by the staff at our hotel, who were unaware that we already had a reservation. Always a good start.
The restaurant is the second offspring from the crafty team that brought Formel B to Copenhagen’s culinary scene. For those of you that don’t know, Formel B is a Michelin-star rated restaurant with a real focus on producing locally-sourced, organic cuisine. It’s often referred to as one of the top restaurants in Denmark. Safe to say we were in good hands then.
Although the caliber is still incredibly high at Uformel, the emphasis here is on combining high-quality, innovative Nordic food with a casual atmosphere. Uformel = informal. Neat, huh? The costs are also much lower, so although dining out here will undoubtedly feel like a treat, a visit to Uformel isn’t likely to have your purse screaming bloody murder.
Diners can choose from an opt-in selection of smaller dishes and entrees, or can take take the plunge with a four-course tasting menu (complimented by specially paired wines) designed by the chefs. With locally-sought, seasonal ingredients at the forefront, this menu will shift and change with every visit.
Fully prepared to leave our evening in the hands of the talented chefs, we opted for the tasting menu, with Fraser going down the vegetarian route and myself on the carnivorous path. There was something undeniably exciting about going into the experience blind; we had no idea what each course would bring, but our lovely waiter was more than happy to talk through each dish as he brought it to the table, explaining every ingredient and giving us the backstory behind each wine. Hats off to him for delivering this info with such enthusiasm; that’s one heck of a memory!
From our starters to dessert, every course was a taste sensation.
My evening started with a delicate seafood dish of mussels and an inky oyster sauce, while Fraser was treated to some of the most heavenly asparagus we’ve ever tried…yes, naturally I had to steal a bite!
It was then on to Uformel’s take on a steak tartare for me, which seemed like a daring choice as I wouldn’t usually brave a raw meat dish, but I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome! The thinly sliced steak was beautifully seasoned, and parcelled around a poached egg and crunchy veggies.
Fraser, meanwhile had an artichoke, parmesan and watercress dish which may have looked petite on the plate but was big, big, big on flavour.
Next, came the big guns. For me, it was hearty slices of lamb, served with a deep plum-like sauce and an artichoke salad. Again, lamb isn’t always my top choice – not because I don’t enjoy it, but because sometimes I can find it a little fatty and tasteless if not cooked right. This serving, however, has made me an absolute convert. The meat, served medium-rare, was soooo rich and full of flavour, and together with the sauce was a marriage made in heaven.
I was so enamoured that I almost forgot to try Fraser’s main, which was a mushroom and gruyere medley served with a playful parmesan-infused foam. Seriously fun and seriously tasty.
Not to be outshadowed by its predecessing courses, along came the dessert, a vanilla and marscapone icecream bomb, resting on a bed of freshly roasted hazlenuts. By this point, I was pretty much lost for words. Top this off with a strong black coffee and we were well and truly in our happy place.
If the food alone wasn’t enough to win us over, what made our evening at Uformel so special was undoubtedly the atmosphere. Walking through the door, we were greeted by a friendly team of staff who were happy to take our jackets and make us feel right at home, giving us the choice of a quiet nook to ourselves or a table right in front of the open-fronted chef’s kitchen.
Designed by Søren Vester, the restaurant has a bold look, with dark colours complimented by brass and gold to set the tone. The edgy monochrome shades gave the place a slick and modern vibe, and even the way the cutlery was laid out seemed to erring on all the right sides of innovative. This is an undeniably cool restaurant, but without the air of pretention which could so easily come from the high standard of culinary skill on offer behind the kitchen. To intermix such style with warmth and creativity represents all that I loved about Copenhagen and its Scandi ways.