A "Hygge" Dinner at Kadeau, Copenhagen
The New Nordic cuisine took the world by storm a decade ago and since then garnered Michelin stars for numerous restaurants around Scandinavia. And in Denmark, particularly in Copenhagen, there's a good number of them decorated with Michelin stars for such a small city. That's to be expected though as New Nordic cuisine was practically the brainchild of Rene Redzepi and Claus Meyer of Copenhagen restaurant, noma, which has won World's Best Restaurant four times. Good luck trying to get a reservation there though as they reportedly get about 20,000 a day; probably even more now that they are about to close at the end of the year to reopen as an urban farm.
One of the other Michelin starred restaurants in Copenhagen that's a lot easier to get a table at is Kadeau. More than just a dinner, it was an experience. A unique one, actually. The Danish hygge (pronounced ‘hyoo-guh’) is that cozy feeling of home, warmth, love, and comfort. Beyond what's around you, it's more about that feeling within.
So my unique experience at Kadeau is that hygge experience - in the sense that "I'm about to devour some very fine food, but it feels like it's winter at my own dream cottage up in the mountains and I'm about to snuggle up next to the fireplace, hot tea in hand, audible book ready to play" sort of feeling. Fine and refined but casual and cozy.
Kadeau was born in Bornholm, an island off the coast of Denmark, close to Sweden. The one in Copenhagen pays homage to the one in Bornholm because they said it's quite in the middle of nowhere. The entrance is pretty obscure with just a blue door with the signage just above the doorbell. There is a dark hallway that opens up to the living spaces, which mimics the forest one drives through in Bornholm that opens up to the restaurant on the beach.
The name of the game here is pickling and fermenting. And keeping true to the New Nordic cuisine manifesto basing cooking on the characteristics of their region, most ingredients are native to Bornholm, or otherwise, other parts of Denmark. As I asked to make sure there is no grapefruit on my husband's dishes due to dietary restrictions, our sommelier, Victoria, explained that citrus doesn't grow in Denmark, so, to get that flavor, they use ants. Yes, I ate ants posing as caviar (photo on the right). She also shared that the main farmer and forager is Chef Nicolai Nørregaard's father. So there you go, again bringing it close to home.
I'm so glad we spent our 7th anniversary and my 33rd birthday here. When yes we always would go celebrate with a special dinner, it was most special yet intimate and homely. I loved that the food, which we came here for, was obviously top notch, but the environment was casual and so not uppity that we were able to make acquaintances out of the chefs and sommeliers as they were very much open for us to walk around the kitchen, chat about where they came from and what got them here, and have conversations about how Kadeau develops their award winning food.
It was definitely one of the most memorable dinners I've had and I hope the photos of the food entices you to visit as well! I do hope that one day, I will get to visit the one in Bornholm too.
Oh, by the way, I did ask what "Kadeau" means. Apparently it doesn't stand for anything in Danish. I asked if it were based on the French word for gift, but Chef Eric said, "I can make something up, but it really doesn't mean anything."
Bianca is one of the founders of get there | get lost. She is an avid writer and photographer based in Northern California. Her love for history, literature, architecture and food culminate to her passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. She advocates for accessible travel, and continues to explore with her husband and travel partner, Jesús, despite physical limitations. Follow their adventures on Instagram as @gettheregetlost and @coffeeandtherapy.