Chef Patron Christian F. Puglisi and Kim Rossen started Relæ in 2010. Christian is a well-trained chef with experience from places like El Bulli, Taillevent and Noma. Kim, the Restaurant Manager, has worked in restaurants around the world and also in Denmark at places like Restaurant Ensemble and Noma.
With their staff they have created something fresh, fun and forward thinking. It is a restaurant that focuses on the things they value; sustainable great food, with instinct, technique and focus in a relaxed atmosphere with agreeable prices. It is situated in a discrete basement in the vibrant and bit rougher area of Copenhagen called Nørrebro.
Relæ is not the place you go to show off or be lavished in traditional fine dining service. You go there if you are interested in creative tasty food with a green base. Vegetables play a major part in the dishes. For example, in a sweetbread dish the cauliflower is just as important as the sweetbread especially as the cauliflower comes in several different textures. More than half of the dishes on the menu are actually vegetarian! The prices are very moderate for a fine dining experience, but that does not mean it is a cheap alternative. The prices are modest and are kept down by cutting away unnecessary things and focusing on the food and dining experience. That means simple service with cutlery, menu and napkin in a do-it-yourself table drawer and having high quality non-exclusive ingredients and just two different four-course menus to choose from.
Relæ is not part of the Nordic Kitchen, it is something else. Being of Italian heritage, Christian uses ingredients like olive oil, lemons and tomatoes, which disqualify the whole Nordic Kitchen idea. Christian also uses technical skills acquired at El Bulli but they do not take over and transform the dish, it is more about bettering texture and taste. The cooking is creative and focused. There is usually one main ingredient in the dish and a couple of ingredients to accompany it. The food is very fresh and healthy and feels sustainable both for body and the environment. Head Sommelier Anders Frederik Steen runs an interesting wine list that only consists of organic and biodynamical wines.
If you are in Copenhagen dining at Relæ is a must, it is a restaurant that breaks away from the classical thinking of what defines fine dining. It is not only refreshing on the palate but also on your views of fine and creative dining.
Written by Joakim