Herman: Copenhagen’s other great restaurant

  • Monday 19 July 2010

In any city except Copenhagen you’d have heard of Herman, but it suffers the misfortune of being eclipsed by the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant - Noma.

Nimb Hotel, Copenhagen

But with its foraged ingredients and largely pescatarian menu Noma isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.

Herman, although it has its fancy New Nordic touches, offers much more mainstream Michelin-style dining - apart from the fact that Nimb, the hotel in which it’s located, looks like a lit-up Ottoman palace from the outside and overlooks the splendidly kitsch Tivoli Gardens.

The chef, Thomas Herman, who like Redzepi has worked in Spain (at Arzak), certainly deserves more than his current single Michelin star but the highlight is the wine service which is in the hands of an exceptional sommelier Jacob Kocemba.

We opted for the pairing menu which ranged from the relatively conventional – a combination of pickled lemon sole salad and béarnaise paired with an attractive Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint Aubin Premier Cru, to the outré – a homemade beetroot punch with the classic Danish red berry compote Rødgrød med Fløde. It’s a great deal nicer than it sounds. You can opt for an accompanying beer menu too.

Other highlights were delicious oysters with a pine-infused granité, featherlight bacon and onion dumplings (Herman’s trademark is recreating the tastes of childhood), the perfectly-tuned pairing of grilled duck from the Vendée with green strawberries and peas with the 2005 Cigliuti Barbaresco Serraboella, and an excellent artisanal Danish cheeseboard. There is life beyond Danish Blue.

The only duff note in the entire meal was an ‘amuse’ of baked Samsoe potatoes, which were served slightly hard, an odd foible we encountered in other restaurants. Maybe it’s a Danish thing.

Herman’s prices are pretty steep but unlike Noma at least you can get a booking at less than three months’ notice.

And although I didn’t stay there I’d strongly recommend basing yourself at the hotel which has truly wonderful rooms, a stunning bar, a brasserie, ‘Vinotek’ wine cellar, and a dairy which supplies the hotel’s milk, cream and butter. Quite a place.

Herman: +45 88 70 00 20 or herman@nimb.dk

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