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Amass A Unique Urban Oasis in Copenhagen

I love Amass as much for the surroundings and interior design as for the food. Located all the way out at Refshaleøen, it’s an escape from Copenhagen city. Matt Orlando has built an urban oasis in the backyard of an old shipyard building, where he grows his own flowers, herbs, berries and vegetables. Go here for lunch to enjoy the garden in daylight like we did. Or book a dinner table if you want to experience the cosy atmosphere of post-dinner coffee by a bonfire.

Preparing the table for service
Preparing the table for service

Inderhavnsbroen Connects Amass to the City

Afterall, Amass is not that far away anymore. The new Inderhavnsbroen that connects Nyhavn with Christianshavn shortens the journey from about 20 down to 7 minutes on a bike from Kongens Nytorv. In addition, this route is a lot less trafficy than Knippelsbro and almost free of cars. If you’re lucky you might be able to drop by Amass for the excellent AFC – Amass Fried Chicken – which can be enjoyed for lunch either in the bar inside or garden outside. Be sure to check if it’s available on the current day, though.

Panda with guns. Is it a Banksy or not?
Panda with guns. Is it a Banksy or not?

Matt Orlando’s Philosophy

Ever since Orlando left his position as head chef at Noma he has worked on his “green project.” The philosophy is a holistic approach to food with a strong focus on the environment. His main tools are the on-site garden, the strict priority of local and organic ingredients, as well as minimizing ingredient waste. Leftover bread is soaked in vinegar and made into crisps. Instead of throwing away the coffee ground they incorporate it into flatbreads and cakes. For more on this topic you should check out the TV program that my good friend Maj-Britt from Spiselandslaget has made for Matkanalen. The first episode of “Den Grønne Gren” is set at Amass.

First snack: Dehydrated beets "toffee" rehydrated in its own juice and white tea, black pepper & bergamot
First snack: Dehydrated beets “toffee” rehydrated in its own juice and white tea, black pepper & bergamot

The Famous Fermented Potato Bread

It’s been a while since I ate this meal at Amass, but it doesn’t really matter since they change the menu so often anyway, depending on available produce. Luckily, the famous fermented potato bread always appears on the table at every visit. It’s also an example of how Amass thinks different than many other high-end restaurants in Copenhagen who do more classic sourdough bread. This potato bread is reason alone to visit the restaurant!

The famous fermented potato bread
The famous fermented potato bread
Wine thirsty at Amass
Wine thirsty at Amass

The Style of Food at Amass

The style of food at Amass is very delicate and sometimes I find the flavors to be too subtle. I wish they would dare to add more punch to some of their dishes because the ingredients are always top notch. For me personally, both the squid and pollock dishes we had were unbalanced. I missed acidity and that extra oumph that makes you want to scrape the plate.

Other creations were pure flavor explosions, like the dehydrated and rehydrated beets “toffee” or the carrots that had gone through the same process. Not to forget the sauce of reduced carrot juice and browned butter that came with it. It’s still a nominee for best dish of the year in my book.

Dehydrated carrots rehydrated in their own juice, pickled orpin flowers, sour curd & concentrated carrot juice with browned butter
Dehydrated carrots rehydrated in their own juice, pickled orpin flowers, sour curd & concentrated carrot juice with browned butter
They like to serve from Magnum bottles at Amass
They like to serve from Magnum bottles at Amass

Icelandic Lamb and Ancient Nordic Herbs

The Icelandic lamb was another highlight. It actually tasted strongly of angelica – the ancient Nordic herb. Matt Orlando came out to present the dish at our table himself, and told the story of the eccentric old lady that they get the produce from:

– She lives in a house without electricity, because she is afraid of the radiation.

More importantly, we learned that she has access to a tiny island where the angelica herb grows wild, and that’s where she ships her sheeps the last month before slaughtering.

Icelandic lamb neck, Savoy cabbage, parsley & smoked mussels
Icelandic lamb neck, Savoy cabbage, parsley & smoked mussels

New Neighbors at Refshaleøen

Amass has got its first neighbor worth to visit: an Italian wine bar by the sea called La Banchina. The perfect place to enjoy an aperitif, at least in the summer season. Matt Orlanda is about to get a second nearby resident: his old boss. In the autumn of 2017 René Redzepi moves restaurant Noma from Christianshavn to Refshaleøen to build his own urban farm.

In the gardens of Amass they grow a lot of the herbs, flowers and vegetables they need
In the gardens of Amass they grow a lot of the herbs, flowers and vegetables they need
Until next time, Amass!
Until next time, Amass!

Did you venture out to Amass at Refshaleøen yet? Please share your experience in a comment below.

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