Admiralgade 26 in Copenhagen is the hospitality equivalent of the difficult second album. Christian Nedergaard and Sebastian Rind Nellemann relied on gut instinct when they opened their wonderfully personal wine bar, Ved Stranden 10, on a canal opposite Christiansborg Palace seven years ago. But for this, their first restaurant, they went soul-searching.
"We sat down and thought on a more existential level about who we are and what we want to do," says Nedergaard, adding the "brutal" 18-month-long exercise had nothing to do with other restaurants. "It's one long conversation with the room and the period and ourselves."
The result is a magical double-height space celebrating aesthetics and craftsmanship. Taking the room's 1910 remodelling date (the building itself dates back to 1796) as a reference point, they mixed pieces from Kaare Klint, Jean Prouvé and Giò Ponti with futuristic light fittings and ikebana-style floral arrangements.
"All these details are like totems and reminders about craft, and hopefully they create a certain ambience," says Nedergaard.
They do. The restaurant, which opened in June in an old theatre down the street from the wine bar, is beyond convivial, orhyggelig, as they say in Denmark. Breakfast segues to lunch, lunch to dinner, and after the kitchen closes around 10pm, obliging cooks will rustle up a snack. The well-crafted menu is "eclectic in a good way", and includes a Japanese-inspired breakfast, a lighter yet no less flavoursome bouillabaisse, and what Nedergaard calls advanced staff meals such as hash with fried egg and pickled beetroot.
Unlike the wine bar where printed wine lists are banned in favour of dialogue, Admiralgade 26 has two. One has wines mostly produced in collaboration with winemakers such as Matassa from France's Roussillon region. The other is a cellar list of rare finds.
Admiralgade 26, Admiralgade 26, 1066, Copenhagen K, +45 3333 7973, admiralgade26.dk
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