Herman

HERMAN (Now closed)

Bernstorffsgade 5
1577 København V
Denmark

Overall rating: 7.5-8/10

Date of visit: October 2011

Jump to Danish review – Gå til dansk anmeldelse.

Herman was one of the top restaurants in Copenhagen and received a Michelin star in 2009. The restaurant was located in the hotel Nimb with a view to the amusement park Tivoli (which was actually the inspiration to Disney World, which many people don’t know).

Herman was also part of this “new Nordic cooking” wave that’s going on in Denmark at the moment. Herman specialised in modernised food from the southern part of Jutland, where chef Thomas Herman is from, turned into fine dining. When I was at Herman there didn’t seem to be much of this inspiration left, and everything seemed to be French haute cuisine. Around four months after I was there, chef Thomas Herman declared he was leaving. He said he had achieved his goals for the restaurants…

The restaurant has since changed its name to Nimb Louise. The new chef proclaimed that he was aiming for three Michelin stars. At least the price has increased I see.

We started out with several small appetizers:

Cucumber with herbs

P1090646 (Large)

Oysters with spruce granite

P1090647 (Large)

A cream put inside a bone

P1090648 (Large)

A refreshing sphere dusted with herbal powder

 P1090651 (Large)

The first course came in two servings (as did several more):

An enormous fried langoustine tail was simply served as it were on a glass plate with a citrus jelly on the side. A sprig of lemon thyme was simply decoration, as was the camomile underneath the glass plate.

 P1090653 (Large)

The second serving of that course was scallops with a bit of fish eggs and a few herbal sprigs. A creamy camomile sauce was poured on top, and inside the plate the waitress poured water, so a mist flowed out.

P1090654 (Large)

P1090655 (Large)

The second course was pan-fried zander with several types of onions (red onions, pearl onions, spring onions) as well as a sauce that looked like béarnaise, but was actually made with garlic or ramson (I forget which).

 P1090658 (Large)

Foie gras with cherries came in two servings as well. First as a “breakfast serving”, where they had frozen the two components with liquid nitrogen. Then as a slab of pan-fried foie gras with beautiful blobs of cherry cream and a paper thin mesh of cherries. The first serving was a bit odd. It left our tongues quite numb for a long time. None of us actually likes foie gras, but technically I have to say that the second part was done magnificently. I’ve had foie gras that has been very blubbery, because it has been undercooked. Other times I’ve had foie gras that has been cooked for so long that it had become very hard and chewy. Here it was perfectly cooked leaving a perfect texture. But again, none of us really likes foie gras. When I have liked foie gras, it has been because it has been put together with other ingredients that make a great combination. The cherry here was flavourful and beautifully done.

 P1090660 (Large)

P1090664 (Large)

Then we had a savoury. Æbleskiver, a Danish speciality that usually is sweet and eaten with strawberry jam and icing sugar at Christmas time, was not sweet but contained bacon and was inspired by the Danish dish “Brændende kærlighed” (Burning love – mashed potatoes with bacon and a meaty sauce).

 P1090665 (Large)

Breast and leg of pigeon was simply served with a few sprigs and truffles. In a bowl on the side were various mushrooms in a frothy mushroom sauce. I particularly remember the mushrooms being delicious, and seen in retrospect, this is the best pigeon I’ve had in the year and a half that has passed since I’ve been to Herman (and before). Pigeon sometimes tastes just like duck or chicken, but here I could really taste this was a different animal. The truffles didn’t have much flavour though, but I know that depends a lot on the season, so this was probably not the best time of year, or maybe simply not the best truffles.

 P1090666 (Large)

P1090669 (Large)

My parents went for cheese. The restaurant had asked for their preferences for strong or mild cheese beforehand. My parents didn’t like the cheeses so much, but then again none of them are really big on cheese. I can’t comment, as I only had a small bite, but given the standard of the restaurant I’m quite certain the cheeses were in fine condition. The cheeses were served with three types of bread and some really nice jam made from hip.

 P1090670 (Large)

P1090672 (Large)

P1090671 (Large)

The first dessert was diced cucumber with a perfectly egg shaped ice cream made from skyr (an Icelandic diary product). The dish was dusted with dill powder.

P1090676 (Large)

The last dessert was berries and liquorice in various textures. Blueberries and blackberries and liquorice jellies and paper thin tuiles were on the plate, and then the waitress poured frozen and granulated liquorice on top at the table.

P1090678 (Large)

P1090680 (Large)

I’ve given Herman and Geranium the same score. Unlike at Geranium, there were no real dishes that were significantly worse or less interesting than the rest at Herman (although I simply didn’t like the foie gras), but then there were also no dishes that were significantly better than the rest, which there were at  Geranium.

As you can see, I haven’t gone into much detail about each course here. When we left the restaurant, I thought “sublime meal!”, but it quickly started to fade in my memory. Next morning I was already starting to reassess how good the meal actually had been. Among the four of us I was the one who was the most impressed when we left. When I asked my family later, they didn’t find the food that special – they missed an identity as well.

The technique was simply magnificent, although the first foie gras serving was a bit silly. Except for the truffles, the quality of the ingredients was also exceptional (especially the pigeon). Both the quality of the ingredients and the skill of the cooking was definitely among the very best in Copenhagen. Everything about Herman radiated high-quality, luxury and extravagance. But the problem was that there was no soul in the food. Not a single dish was particularly original. The dishes in my cookbook from Herman look a lot more elaborate and creative. At this meal, the food at times seemed a little bit too simple. The quality of the ingredients were certainly good enough for a simple cooking style, but as the food was so light and simple, I couldn’t help but wonder “is this really all we get for this much money?”. In Herman’s cookbook they also have a foie gras dish with cherries, but that also includes nougatine, beetroots, herbs and cherry granité. Still, that was one of the simplest dishes in the book. Many of the dishes in the book takes more than a day to prepare. A few examples from the book:

 P1080844 (Large)

P1080843 (Large)

P1080842 (Large)

P1080841 (Large)

P1080840 (Large)

P1080839 (Large)

P1080837 (Large)

P1080848 (Large)

The restaurant was one of the most expensive ones in Copenhagen. A menu of seven courses (plus plenty of snacks) was 925 kroner (€123). A wine pairing was the same price. Instead, we bought a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red, two of the ones from the wine pairing, and I believe both were 925 kroner eacj as well. If we had chosen just a glass of each wine, it would have set us back 195 kroner (€26) per glas.

Dansk anmeldelse

Herman var en af Københavns toprestauranter og modtog en Michelin-stjerne i 2009 kort efter åbningen. Herman lå i hotel Nimb med udsigt til Tivoli (som faktisk var inspiration til Disney World, hvilket de færreste ved).

Herman var også en del af trenden “ny nordisk mad”, som går sin sejrsgang i Danmark for tiden. Herman specialiserede sig i moderniseret og forfinet mad fra Sønderjylland, hvor chefkokken Thomas Herman er fra. Da jeg var på Herman, lod der ikke til at være meget af den inspiration tilbage, og langt størstedelen af maden var fin fransk madlavning. Omkring fire måneder efter jeg var på restauranten, offentliggjorde Thomas Herman, at han stoppede på restauranten. Han havde åbenbart nået sine mål for restauranten…
Restauranten har sidenhen skiftet navn til Nimb Louise. Den nye chefkok har sagt, at han sigter efter tre Michelin-stjerner. Prisen er i hvert fald steget, har jeg bemærket.

Vi lagde ud med adskillige små snacks:

Agurk med krydderurter

P1090646 (Large)

Østers med grannålegranité

P1090647 (Large)

En creme i en knogle

P1090648 (Large)

En forfriskende skum med urtepulver

P1090651 (Large)

Den første ret kom som to serveringer, hvilket flere af dem gjorde:
En enorm stegt jomfruhummerhale blev ganske enkelt serveret, som den var, på en glasplade med en citrusgelé ved siden af. En kvist citrontimian var kun pynt, hvilket også gjaldt kamillen under glaspladen.

P1090653 (Large)

Den anden servering af samme ret var kammuslinger med lidt fiskerogn og lidt krydderurter. En cremet kamillesauce blev hældt over, og tjeneren hældte vand ind i tallerkenen, så en dis svævede ud.

P1090654 (Large)

P1090655 (Large)

Den næste ret var stegt sandart med flere slags løg (rødløg, perleløg og forårsløg) samt en sauce, der lignede bearnaise, men som i virkeligheden var med hvidløg eller ramsløg (jeg kan ikke huske hvilken).

P1090658 (Large)

Foie gras med kirsebær kom også ad to omgange. Først som “morgenmad”, hvor de to elementer var blevet frosset med flydende nitrogen. Derefter som et stykke stegt foie gras med flotte klatter kirsebærgelé og et papirtyndt net af kirsebær. Den første udgave var lidt underlig, og vores tunger var følelsesløse længe efter. Faktisk kunne ingen af os lide foie gras, men rent teknisk må jeg sige, at anden del var fremragende udført. Jeg har før fået foie gras, der var meget blævret, fordi det ikke var stegt længe nok. Andre gange har jeg fået foie gras, der var stegt så længe, at det var blevet hårdt og sejt. Det her stykke var perfekt stegt og havde en perfekt konsistens. Men som sagt kan ingen af os rigtig lide foie gras. Når jeg har kunnet lide det, har det været, fordi det har været sat sammen med andre ingredienser i en god kombination. Kirsebærgeléen var smagfuld og flot udført.

P1090660 (Large)

P1090664 (Large)

Så fik vi en mellemret. Æbleskiver var her inspireret af brændende kærlighed og indeholdt bacon i stedet for at være søde.

P1090665 (Large)

Bryst og lår af due blev ganske enkelt serveret med lidt urter og trøfler. Forskellige svampe blev serveret i en lille skål ved siden af i en skummende svampesauce. Jeg husker især svampene som dejlige, og det her har faktisk været den bedste due, jeg har fået i det halvandet år, der er gået, siden jeg var på Herman (og også før besøget på Herman). Due smager af og til bare som and eller kylling, men her kunne jeg virkelig smage, at det var et andet dyr. Trøflerne havde dog ikke meget smag, men jeg ved, at det afhænger af sæsonen, så det var måske ikke det bedste tidspunkt eller de bedste trøfler.

P1090666 (Large)

P1090669 (Large)

Mine forældre fik ost. Tjeneren havde spurgt, om de foretrak milde eller kraftige oste. De brød sig ikke så meget om de oste, de fik, men ingen af dem er ostefanatikere. Jeg kan ikke udtale mig om det, da jeg kun fik en lille bid, men når man ser på, hvad restauranten ellers serverede, er jeg sikker på, at ostene var tip-top. Retten blev serveret med tre slags brød og noget rigtig godt hybenmarmelade.

P1090670 (Large)

P1090672 (Large)

P1090671 (Large)

Den første dessert var agurk i tern med et perfekt formet æg lavet af skyr og drysset med tørret dild.

P1090676 (Large)

Den sidste dessert var bær og lakrids i forskellige udformninger. Blåbær og brombær, lakridsgelé og papirtynde tuilles var allerede på tallerkenen, og tjeneren hældte frossen og granuleret lakrids ovenpå.

P1090678 (Large)

P1090680 (Large)

Jeg har givet Herman og Geranium samme karakter. I modsætning til på Geranium var der på Herman ingen retter, der var væsentligt ringere eller mindre interessante end resten (selvom jeg ganske enkelt ikke brød mig om foie grasen), men til gengæld var der i modsætning til Geranium heller ingen retter på Herman, der var væsentligt bedre end resten.
Som det fremgår af anmeldelsen, er jeg ikke gået så meget i detaljer med hver ret her. Da vi forlod restauranten, tænkte jeg, at det havde været et suverænt måltid, men jeg begyndte hurtigt at glemme det igen. Den næste morgen var jeg allerede begyndt at genoverveje, hvor godt måltidet egentlig havde været. Blandt os fire var jeg den, der var mest imponeret, da vi var færdige. Da jeg spurgte min familie senere, sagde de, at maden ikke havde været så speciel som forventet – de savnede også en identitet.
Teknisk set var måltidet ganske enkelt fremragende, på nær den første foie gras-ret, som var lidt for underlig. På nær trøflerne var råvarerne også helt i top (især duen). Både råvarekvaliteten og den tekniske kunnen var blandt de bedste, jeg har oplevet i København.
Alt ved Herman udstrålede kvalitet, luksus og overdådighed. Men problemet var, at der ikke var nogen sjæl i maden. Ikke en eneste ret var synderlig original. Retterne i min kogebog fra Herman ser væsentlig mere udførlige og kreative ud. Maden i det her måltid virkede af og til lidt for enkel. Råvarekvaliteten var absolut høj nok til, at man kan slippe af sted med at lave enkel mad, men da maden var så let og enkel, kunne jeg ikke lade være med at tænke: “Får vi virkelig ikke mere for alle de penge?”. I Hermans kogebog er der også en foie gras-ret med kirsebær, men den indeholder også nougatine, rødbeder og kirsebærgranité. Det var endda en af de enkleste retter i bogen. Mange af retterne tog mere end en dag at lave. Her er nogle eksempler fra bogen:

P1080844 (Large)

P1080843 (Large)

P1080842 (Large)

P1080841 (Large)

P1080840 (Large)

P1080839 (Large)

P1080837 (Large)

P1080848 (Large)

Restauranten var en af de dyreste i København. En syvretters menu (plus en del appetitvækkere) kostede 925 kroner. En vinmenu kostede det samme. Vi valgte i stedet at købe en flaske hvidvin og en flaske rødvin, to af dem fra vinmenuen, og de kostede vist også 925 kroner hver. Hvis vi havde købt et enkelt glas vin i stedet, ville det have kostet os 125 kroner.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s