Grønbech & Churchill

Grønbech & Churchill

Esplanaden 48 / Amaliegade 49

1256 København K

Telephone: +45 3221 3230

Overall rating: 6/10

Date of visit: January 2013

Jump to Danish review – Gå til dansk anmeldelse.

Grønbech & Churchill was established in 2011 and already received a star in the Michelin guide in 2012, which was quite a feat. When I was looking at the list of Michelin restaurants in Copenhagen I was struck by how creative this restaurant’s menu seemed, and I was also struck by the fact that a menu was 500 Kroner (€67), which is one of the cheapest Michelin star menus in Copenhagen. After finishing our meal here, I understood how this was possible.

The restaurant offers two menus for 500 kroner each as well as a vegetable menu for 425 kroner (€57). There was also the option of white sturgeon caviar to start with for 150 kroner (€20).

Water was 40 kroner (€5.33) per person. I’m not sure if this was a fixed amount for water ad libitum per person or if we just happened to drink water for this particular amount (the bill just said: “Water: 160 kroner”). Personally, I’m just as happy having free tap water than expensive bottled water, but all posh restaurants in Copenhagen seem to insist on serving and charging you for bottled water. It was actually free in Geranium (maybe they served us tap water), but otherwise Grønbech & Churchill has been the cheapest water in the posh restaurants I’ve been to in Copenhagen (the price is usually between €8 and €13 for ad libitum water).

The way I understood the bil, a glass of white wine was 100 kroner (€13), and a glass of red wine was 125 kroner (€16.70). This is also in line with, or perhaps a bit lower, than the price in the rest of Copenhagen’s top restaurants.

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Unlike all the other Michelin restaurants I’ve been to in Copenhagen, except for Relæ, there were no appetisers at Grønbech & Churchill except for a jar of coated almonds that were on the table when we arrived, so we went straight to the first course of the menu which then only consisted of four courses.

I chose their tribute to cod menu, whereas the three others chose the other menu with meat. My wife and I shared our menus so we had half of each.

The first cod dish was leeks marinated in ginger, lime and spruce needle oil with a crème fraîche dressing with lemon, and dehydrated crisps of cod. It originally came with French oysters, but I had opted to have those removed as I don’t like oysters. I had asked if they could replace it with something else, but they said no. The marinade seemed almost absent, so it was in essence just like eating cold leeks with cod flavoured crisps, although it should be said that the dressing was very lovely and refreshing. Overall, the dish was fairly nice, but simply not as flavourful as it could have been (a small 7/10, mostly due to the dressing).

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The other menu’s first course was breast and leg of quail with cabbage marinated in vinaigrette, and green grapes, white beans, sultana raisins, dill, coriander seeds, a marinated wine leaf and a citric dressing. The quail was lovely. The breast was very tender, and the leg had very crispy skin. The leaf was also quite lovely, but the rest of dish didn’t do much for me. Too many elements, like the grapes, beans and sauce, barely had any flavour. The cabbage was a bit too sour for me, and the flavour of the pungent coriander seeds stayed in my mouth for quite a while (overall 7/10 due to the quail).

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The next dish was a soup in both menus. The cod menu was a cod soup with perfectly poached and very juicy pieces of cod. At the bottom were cocoa beans and almonds. To me, this was the best dish in the entire meal. It was both a good, albeit unusual, combination and it was well-made (especially the poached cod), but it was simply too salty (7.5/10).

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The other menu’s soup was chestnut and pears with Jerusalem artichokes cooked as royale (which was a bit like the texture of a crème caramel) and lobster. This dish was very sweet, which was fine for me, but the lobster had no flavour (6.5/10).

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The cod main course was cod roe with a slightly acidic, but nevertheless nice, apple sauce, strange semi-dried apples, somewhat watery celeriac, which lacked seasoning, smoked pork fat, and bitter lettuce leaves. The roe was better than what I usually think of when I think of cod roe (which is the canned product), but the watery celeriac, the strange apples and the lettuce didn’t appeal to me (6.5/10).

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The other menu’s main course was advertised on their website as veal shank with reduced vinegar, thyme and dried figs, but was on this day actually a well-cooked but somewhat dry piece of red deer as well as an even dryer deer sausage with black trumpet mushrooms, quite bland fresh button mushrooms, a braising sauce, and a lovely potato mash with parmesan and egg yolks with nice pearl onions and fresh thyme on top (overall 6/10, although more for the mash, which was easily one of the meal’s best elements).

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The dessert for the cod menu was advertised as grape fruit, orange, kumquats, clementine and lemon as well as carrots cooked with lime leaves, lemongrass and aromatic pepper. This sounded very intriguing but actually wasn’t as it was a bunch of carrots with no flavour, except for one that tasted like rose water, and a couple of mostly bland and/or slightly bitter citrus fruits in either natural or candied form. Next to it was a too sour ice cream flavoured with lemon and some hardly detectable ginger on top of actually quite nice and crispy white chocolate (5/10).

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The other menu’s dessert was a bit better: Beetroot ice cream dusted with a bit of coffee powder, chocolate rolls stuffed with prunes and chocolate mousse and also dusted with coffee, sorrel leaves, thin pickled slices of beetroot with chocolate discs and walnuts on top of prunes. In general, I’m not a fan of using beetroot in desserts (nor carrot for that matter), but the combination with coffee worked quite well, but I would have preferred that they had only dusted the ice cream. Overall, a decent and very lovely presented dessert, but simply not as sweet as I would have liked a dessert to be (6/10).

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Also, with each of the first three courses we were served a new type of bread with the same butter with olive oil on the side: Bread rolled in liquorice, bread rolled in polenta and cumin seeds, and plain bread.

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So, overall an okay meal but not really that special. The menu simply looked better on paper than it was on the plate. The food reminded me of Cofoco (also in Copenhagen) but Grønbech & Churchill was a bit more “posh”, creative and more prettily presented. Nevertheless, I like Cofoco better and have already been there twice, simply because the food at Cofoco tastes better. Buying four dishes at Cofoco is also a cheaper affair. A win-win situation.

So, how can they serve a Michelin star meal as one of the cheapest restaurants in Copenhagen? I have already mentioned one of them: There were no appetisers or petit fours. The other one was the service. The minute we stepped through the door we were greeted by two waitresses. The first dish came fairly quickly, but then the pace quickly halted. My pictures show that the soups and the main courses were served 40 minutes apart, the main courses and the desserts exactly one hour apart. Three waiters served the entire restaurant (on a Saturday night). Although it wasn’t a big restaurant this simply wasn’t enough, and looking at the pace, I would think they were understaffed in the kitchen too.

The service in itself was not bad at all, but simply not what I would expect from a Michelin starred place. They explained what was on the plate and filled up our jugs of water, but our water glasses weren’t topped up a single time. There wasn’t the pampering I’m used to from Michelin starred restaurants, nor were there any attempts at making conversation. One of the waitresses was very sweet but we found the other one a bit icy.

Grønbech & Churchill has one Michelin star. So does Geranium in Copenhagen, but there was a long way from Grønbech & Churchill to Geranium. Granted, our lunch menu at Geranium was twice as expensive as our dinner menu at Grønbech & Churchill, and the portion sizes were bigger at Grønbech & Churchill, but if you look at the price per dish, Geranium was actually a bit cheaper than Grønbech & Churchill (100 kroner (€13) per dish at Geranium (not counting appetisers and petit fours), and 125 kroner (€17) per dish at Grønbech & Churchill) + there were also plenty of appetisers and some petit fours at Geranium. The pace of the meal at Geranium was also far better. At my time of visit to Kokkeriet it was the cheapest Michelin restaurant in Copenhagen (which it no longer is), but that meal was also definitely better than the meal at Grønbech & Churchill.

Dansk anmeldelse

Grønbech & Churchil åbnede i 2011 og modtog allerede en Michelin-stjerne i 2012, hvilket må siges at være lidt af en bedrift. Da jeg kiggede på listen over Københavns Michelin-restauranter, bed jeg mærke i, hvor kreativ denne restaurants menu virkede, og jeg bed også mærke i, at en menu kostede 500 kroner, hvilket er en af de billigste Michelin-menuer i København. Efter vores middag forstod jeg, hvordan det kunne lade sig gøre.

Restauranten tilbyder to menuer til 500 kroner hver og også en grøntsagsmenu til 425 kroner. Man kan også tilvælge en ekstra forret i for form af ægte kaviar til 150 kroner.

Vand kostede 40 kroner per person. Jeg ved ikke, om det var en fast pris per person for vand ad libitum, eller vi bare tilfældigvis drak vand for det beløb (på regningen stod der bare: “Vand: 160 kroner”). For mig er det akkurat lige så godt at få gratis postevand som at få dyr flaskevand, men alle Københavns fine restauranter insisterer på at servere og tage betaling for flaskevand. Det var faktisk gratis på Geranium (jeg husker ikke, om vi bare bad om postevand), men ellers har jeg fået det billigste vand på Grønbech og Churchill blandt Københavns toprestauranter (vand koster oftest mellem 60 og 100 kroner).

Så vidt jeg kunne forstå på regningen, kostede et glas hvidvin 100 kroner og et glas rødvin 125. Det er på samme niveau som eller lidt lavere end resten af Københavns toprestauranter.

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I modsætning til alle de andre Michelin-restauranter jeg har været på i København, på nær Relæ, var der ingen snacks på Grønbech & Churchill på nær et glas med overtrukne mandler, der stod på bordet, da vi kom, så vi gik direkte videre til den første ret i menuen, som så kun bestod af fire retter.

Jeg valgte deres hyldest til vesterhavstorsken, mens de tre andre tog “saft og kraft”-menuen. Min hustru og jeg delte vores menuer, så vi fik halvdelen hver.

Den første torskeret var porrer marineret i ingefær, lime og grannåleolie med en cremefraichedressing med citron samt tørrede chips af torsk. Retten kom oprindeligt med franske østers, men jeg havde bedt om at få dem fjernet, da jeg ikke bryder mig om østers. Jeg spurgte, om jeg kunne få noget andet i stedet, men de sagde nej. Man kunne næsten ikke smage marinaden, så det var i realiteten bare som at spise kolde porrer med chips med torskesmag, selvom jeg må sige, at dressingen var virkelig dejlig og forfriskende. Alt i alt var det en hæderlig ret, men simpelthen ikke så smagfuld, som den kunne have været (en lille 7/10, mest på grund af dressingen).

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Den anden menus første ret var bryst og lår af vagtel med hvidkål marineret i vinaigrette, grønne druer, hvide bønner, sultanarosiner, dild, korianderfrø, et marineret vindblad og en citrusdressing. Vagtlen var pragtfuld. Brystet var virkelig mørt, og låret havde dejligt sprødt skind. Vinbladet var også ret dejligt, men resten af retten gjorde ikke underværker. For mange ting på tallerkenen, f.eks. druerne, bønnerne og saucen, smagte knap af noget. Kålen var en tand for sur til min smag, og jeg havde korianderfrøenes kradse smag i munden i ret lang tid (alt i alt 7/10 på grund af vagtlen).

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Den næste ret var suppe for begge menuers vedkommende. Torskemenuens suppe var torskesuppe med helt perfekte pocherede og meget saftige stykker torsk. I bunden var der kakaobønner og mandler. Det var helt klart min yndlingsret i hele måltidet. Det var en god, om end usædvanlig, kombination og veltilberedt (især den pocherede torsk), men hele retten var desværre en smule for salt (7.5/10).

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Den anden menus suppe var kastanjer og pærer med jordskokker som “royale” (hvilket var nærmest buddingkonsistens) og hummer. Retten var meget sød, hvilket ikke generede mig, men hummeren smagte ikke af en pind (6.5/10).

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Torskemenuens hovedret var torskerogn med en lettere syrlig, men trods alt god, æblesauce, underlige halvtørrede æbler, lidt vandet knoldselleri, som savnede salt og peber, røget spæk og bitre salater. Rognen var bedre end den evindelige dåserogn, jeg oftest forbinder torskerogn med, men den vandede selleri, de underlige æbler og de bitre salater faldt ikke i min smag (6.5/10).

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Den anden menus hovedret var beskrevet på hjemmesiden som kalveskank med indkogt eddike, timian og tørrede pærer, men var den dag faktisk et stykke veltilberedt, men alligevel noget tørt, kronhjort med en endnu tørrere hjortepølse med sorte trompetsvampe, smagsløse friske champignon, braiseringssauce og en pragtfuld kartoffelmos med parmesan og æggeblommer med dejlige perleløg og frisk timian på toppen (i alt 6/10, men mere for mosen, som klart var en af måltidets bedste elementer).

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Torskemenuens dessert var beskrevet som grape, appelsin, kumquat, klementin og citron samt gulerod tilberedt med limeblade, citrongræs og aromatisk peber. Det lød rigtig spændende, men var det desværre ikke, da det i realiteten var en række ret smagløse gulerødder på nær den, der smagte lidt af rosenvand, og en række ret kedelige og letbitre citrusfrugter enten naturlige eller kandiserede. Ved siden af lå et flot æg af en for sur is smagsat med citron og ingefær, der næsten ikke kunne smages, oven på noget ret godt og knasende hvid chokolade (5/10).

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Den anden menus dessert var lidt bedre: Rødbedeis strøet med lidt kaffepulver, chokoladeruller fyldt med svesker og chokolademousse og også strøet med kaffepulver, skovsyre, tynde syltede rødbedeskiver med chokoladeskiver og valnødder oven på svesker. Generelt bryder jeg mig ikke så meget om at bruge rødbeder (eller gulerødder for den sags skyld) i desserter, men kombination med kaffe fungerede ret godt, selvom jeg dog ville have foretrukket, at de kun havde drysset isen. Alt i alt en hæderlig og meget flot anrettet dessert, som dog ikke var så sød, som jeg godt kunne have tænkt mig (6/10).

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Med de tre første retter fik vi også serveret en ny slags brød til hver ret med den samme slags smør med olivenolie: Brød rullet i lakrids, brød rullet i polenta og spidskommen samt almindeligt groft brød.

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Så alt i alt et okay måltid, men ikke sindsoprivende godt. Menuen lød simpelthen bedre på skrift, end den var på tallerkenen. Maden mindede mig lidt om Cofoco (også i København), men Grønbech & Churchil var lidt mere fint, kreativt og flottere anrettet. Ikke desto mindre kan jeg bedre lide Cofoco og har allerede været der to gange, simpelthen fordi maden på Cofoco smager bedre. Fire retter på Cofoco er også billigere. Ren win-win.

Så hvordan kan Grønbech & Churchil servere et Michelin-stjernemåltid som en af Københavns billigste restauranter? Jeg har allerede nævnt en af dem: Der var hverken snacks eller petit fours. Den anden grund var betjeningen. Vi blev mødt af to servitricer i det øjeblik vi trådte ind gennem døren. Den første ret blev serveret ret hurtigt, men så faldt tempoet også. Mine billeder viste, at supperne og hovedretterne blev serveret med 40 minutters mellemrum, og hovedretterne og desserterne blev serveret med præcis en times mellemrum. I hele restauranten var der kun tre tjenere (på en lørdag aften). Selvom det ikke er nogen stor restaurant, var det simpelthen ikke nok, og når man ser på måltidets tempo, vil jeg også tro, at de har været underbemandet i køkkenet.

Betjeningen i sig selv var på ingen måde dårlig, men simpelthen ikke, hvad jeg ville forvente af en restaurant med en Michelin-stjerne. De forklarede, hvad der var på tallerkenen og genfyldte vores vandkarafler, men vores glas blev ikke fyldt op en eneste gang. Vi blev ikke forkælet, som man ellers bliver på Michelin-restauranter, og tjenerne prøvede heller ikke på at hyggesnakke. En af servitricerne virkede rigtig sød, men den anden virkede lidt stram i betrækket.

Grønbech & Churchill har én Michelin-stjerne. Det samme har Geranium i København, men der var lang vej fra Grønbech & Churchills mad til Geraniums. Vores frokostmenu på Geranium var ganske vist dobbelt så dyr som vores aftenmenu på Grønbech & Churchill, og portionerne var større på Grønbech & Churchill, men hvis man sammenligner prisen per ret, var Geranium faktisk en smule billigere end Grønbech & Churchill (100 kr. per ret på Geranium (snacks ikke talt med), og 125 kroner på Grønbech og Churchill). Der var også rigeligt med snacks og petit fours på Geranium. Måltidets tempo på Geranium var også langt bedre. Da jeg var på Kokkeriet, var det Københavns billigste Michelin-restaurant (hvilket det ikke længere er), men maden på Kokkeriet var også væsentligt bedre end maden på Grønbech & Churchill.


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