Monday, December 1, 2014

Danish Club's 125th birthday at Dansk (by invitation), by Bureaucrat

Tillykke med fødselsdagen!

Celebrating the Danish way!

What’s that you’re wondering?  Well, it’s Danish for ‘happy birthday’, and the Eat and Be Merry Crew was privileged to be invited to help the Danish Club celebrate its 125th birthday at Dansk.  I don’t know much about Denmark – except my brief visit to Copenhagen a few years ago, and when Mary Donaldson married Prince Frederik (and like most women in Australia, I was feeling pretty envious of her!).

Dansk is a Danish restaurant that’s affiliated with the Danish Club (see also Big Fil’s review back in August 2012).  We were in for a treat as the club members made us feel welcomed and introduced us to modern Danish cuisine and their culture.  From the food to the décor to the members, everything about the Danish club is about honouring their Danish traditions and to be inclusive of the different perspectives and influences that contemporary life in Melbourne brings.

Inside it’s decorated with the effortless elegance of minimalist Scandinavian furniture.  I loved the wall of Danish artwork, including a bronze profile of Hans Christian Andersen.

Skål! We toasted the club with shots of Akvavit, which is a seriously strong liqueur that’s tastes like gin and vodka combined but waaaay more powerful.

Armed with a cocktail each, Obelix and I savoured a range of Danish canapés.  Chef Bente Grysbaek explained that these were Danish recipes but with a modern twist. 

Having done some research, Chef Bente found that oysters were the only dish to consistently appear on the menu at the club in the past 125 years. Everyone happily obliged with the tradition and knocked back a few of these!

Front: smoked trout mousse w radish and cress. Back: potato tart w caramelised onions.

The potato tart was one of my favourite canapés of the night.  A beautifully smooth and buttery mash on top with a lovely unctuous mound of sweet caramelised onions on the bottom.  The pastry case was crisp and as thin as paper.  It was pity as we missed out on trying the smoked trout mousse.

A nod to the smørrebrød (open sandwiches) here with a nice thick slab of duck liver pate w pickles on rye bread.

My other favourite canapé was the scallops w cucumber and caviar on brioche.  A heaping mound of sweet and succulent scallop on a light-as-air brioche.

Bente Grysbaek, chef and manager at Denmark House. She's also the private chef to Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederick.

A trio of canapé versions of main courses come our way.  The Danish street hot dog received cheers from the crowd when they found out they were on the menu. The street hot dog was a yummy pork sausage.  Similar to a Cumberland sausage but much, much more tastier. It was topped with battered onion rings, pickled cucumber and loaded with sauces.

While all the canapés were delicious, my favourite main dish was the fish and chips.  Succulent fresh rock ling served with a creamy, golden remoulade.  The chips were spot-on.  Crispy skin and the moreish waxy inner.  I could easily eat a very big plate of this!

The pulled duck roll was similar to the hotdog but was filled with tender duck, which I think was slow cooked. It was served pickled red cabbage and cucumber.

A celebration isn’t a celebration with something sweet!  In this case, a decadent dark chocolate tart garnished with a raspberry.  Perfectly smooth chocolate ganache which perfectly achieved balance between the bitterness of the cocoa and the sweetness of the sugar.  I didn’t try the marzipan as it’s not something that I’m a fan of.

Verdict – we loved it.

Thank you Chef Bente and the Danish Club for inviting us along to their celebration! It was a wonderful, and proper, introduction for us into the cuisine and culture of the Danes - we left with a first hand experience and understanding of hygge (an indefinable word/concept referring to being cozy and happy and having a good time).  

With not many (any?) other Danish restaurants around town, Dansk certainly flies the flag for a true Danish experience.  Definitely this is something everyone should try, and with Christmas around the corner grab your family and friends and treat yourself to a classy and relaxed dining and cultural experience at Dansk.

Restaurant & Bar DANSK on Urbanspoon

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