Manfreds & Vin

Jægersborggade 40, 2200 Copenhague, Danemark Jægersborggade 40, 2200 Copenhague, Danemark
Manfreds & Vin. Copenhague, Danemark

Price Dinner DKK 150-250 plus drinks. Brunch DKK 100-150.
Hours Mon-Fri 12-22. Sat-Sun 10-22

Located across the street from restaurant Relæ and also run by the same team, Manfreds & Vin has been upgraded from take-away joint to proper restaurant – one that could well be your most affordable option for sampling Copenhagen’s much hyped new Nordic cuisine.

And here, with the exception of the daily special, everything comes tapas-sized to encourage sharing and, well, sampling. The hearty menu carries the vegetable-centric signature of rising gastro star Christian F. Puglisi, whose impressive resume also includes stints at El Bulli and Noma. Take note of his name; critics already have.

Whether you opt for a tasting menu of four dishes or go à la carte (don’t leave out the ox tartar), don’t ignore the wine card. You’ll find almost 200 natural wine varieties sourced from across the globe; helpful sommeliers are on hand for pairing advice.

Food heaven? It’s wallet-friendly gourmet – cosy, friendly enough and an experience, but only made possible by keeping down costs through fast table turn-arounds, elbow-to-elbow seating, and the occasional service shortcut, so keep expectations in check.

Weekend brunch is distinctly more low-key, when fine gastronomy gives way for arguably the city’s best eggs benedict with a side of apple slaw, and Manfreds sviner (Manfred’s mess) of boiled eggs, sausages and bacon is up for grabs with a slug of biodynamic blood orange juice.
a crowded wine bar in Copenhagen’s fashionably scuffed Norreborro district, doesn’t help much when it comes to making out the labels. But it does set the mood: you’re not here just to navigate a serious collection of hard-to-find natural wines from cult vintners with limited productions, you’re here to have fun.
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Actually, you’re probably here to eat. Manfreds & Vin was opened last fall by Christian F. Puglisi, a Noma alum who also runs the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Relae across the street. The three restaurants share some culinary DNA even though they offer drastically different experiences. If Noma transforms Nordic food into high art, and if Relae renders it accessible to a wider audience, then Manfreds & Vin turns it into a party.

At least that’s how it feels when you’re directed past the open kitchen to one of the handful of tables crammed into the low-ceilinged rooms that are more flea market than Danish modern. An attractively disheveled waiter will hand you a photocopied menu that lists a handful of dishes and wines.

It’s of limited use. If you want to drink, ask for one of the wine experts (they’re in the leather aprons) and start a conversation; if you want to eat, order the set menu, which at 245 Danish krone per person, or $43 at 5.65 Danish krone to the dollar, for four small courses is one of the great bargains in what has become one of the most exciting food cities in the world.

The set menu works best for groups of two, which allows the tiny kitchen to turn out a total of eight dishes. On a recent night, the lineup started with charred onions with shaved Danish cheese and red sorrel, summer cabbages with kale, and poached cod with apple juice and shaved fennel. The meal took off from there: a farm egg resting in brown butter and blanketed by cauliflower and chervil, smashed potatoes with fresh buttermilk, seared hangar steak and nasturtiums, charred broccoli and a tart parsley purée. The menu ended on a savory note — a fried romaine salad with toasted walnuts and anchovy sauce — but you can order cheese or dessert if you have the room.

Don’t let the pretty presentations fool you — this is soulful food, each dish a deeply satisfying collision of tastes and textures. And each dish contains an unexpected touch. Something as seemingly simple as the charred onions is not only balanced by the nutty cheese and lemony sorrel, it’s elevated by a quick drizzle of elderflower vinaigrette.

It’s gimmick-free cooking — Mr. Puglisi is a chef’s chef, and he runs a kitchen where creativity and talent are more important than gadgets and novelty. Not that the stylish crowd at Manfreds & Vin seem to worry too much about the ideology or pedigree of the food. They’re here because it’s a good time.

Manfreds & Vin, Jaegersborggade 40; (45) 3696-6593; manfreds.dk/en.

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