Drive one hour south of Copenhagen, on the island of Zealand, and you’ll find yourself in the tiny town of Prestø. Besides being a peaceful and charming small seaport city, Prestø is also host to one of the very best restaurants in Demark. Head chef Jonas Mikkelsen, sous chef Bettina Lorentzen and restaurant manager Rasmus Mørch gave us a truly unforgettable evening at Mindet this summer. There is no doubt that the location further lifts the experience: A restored historical hotel surrounded by a green park, beaches, and a spectacular sea view. However, the magic that happens in the kitchen is what really makes this restaurant stand out.
We arrived in Prestø in the afternoon after a pit stop at Rønnende Kro, where we had enjoyed an excellent Danish tavern lunch. We were welcomed and checked into Hotel Frederiksminde (ad: affiliate link) and accommodated into one of their rooms. In the garden outside I met Jonas, where he was checking on the herbs and plants. He invited me to join him for a walk down to the beach to check whether the first rose hips were already blooming. Indeed, they were!
– We pickle or cure them and use them to flavor all sorts of things. In ice creams and syrups. Or use them as decoration on top of a dish. I might do that tonight, Jonas told me.
Head chef Jonas Mikkelsen has been praised for some time, with top reviews in all major newspapers in Denmark, and yet few expected him to land his first Michelin star so soon. It’s been six years since he came to Hotel Frederiksminde. However, 2016 was the first real opportunity to get a Michelin star since the guide did not venture outside the big cities until this year.
An Unforgettable Evening at Mindet
The menu in the restaurant of Hotel Frederiksminde is called “an evening at Mindet” and gives you the choice between six or nine courses. We obviously went for the big menu, which started with a serving of seven snacks and a sparkling aperitif before bread and butter hit the table. Then followed seven more courses, of which four were vegetable-based, one was fish and two were meat. Even though the last three dishes are probably considered mains, they were all starter sizes. Each one got a pairing of wine. Lastly, we had two desserts and finally five different petits fours to go with the coffee. In other words, more like 22 servings. It may sound like a lot of food, but the amount is actually just perfect. We were full, but not stuffed, probably due to a highly vegetable-focused menu.
Restaurant manager and sommelier Rasmus Mørch was our host this evening. He was a very pleasant waiter with a friendly attitude and a true passion for wine. The wine menu was about as rememberable as the meal and definitely the best selection of natural wines that we had on this trip through Denmark. It was all wines from winemakers with an interesting story, or at least, Mørch was good at telling their stories. Rasmus gave us just enough input on each wine, and if we showed interest, he would tell us more.
One Michelin Star New Nordic Fine Dining
Both the general manager, Norwegian Silje Brenna, and the head chef Jonas Mikkelsen are partners in Hotel Frederiksminde and Rønnede Kro. That ensures that their hearts are in the job. I don’t get why more restaurants don’t partner up with their most important employees. Especially at high-end restaurants where the menus are a reflection of the head chef more than anything else. If you follow Jonas Mikkelsen on Instagram you will know how enthusiastic and heartfelt he is about his produce and food. In a true New Nordic sense, he uses a lot of local and seasonal ingredients, and preferably organic vegetables or animals from well-renowned farms. That’s if he doesn’t find it in his own garden or the Prestø surroundings.
Experiencing a meal like this is almost like a dream. There are so many wonderful creations for the eyes and marvelous flavors for the palate. I have a strong feeling that Jonas Mikkelsen and hotel Frederiksminde will keep their star, or maybe add one more. In fact, a Michelin inspector was present in the restaurant this very evening. He identified himself afterward. Could it be that he was caught on camera as well? Watch my video and you might spot him.
The Hotel Breakfast the Next Morning
The next morning we woke up and went for a stroll in the beautiful surroundings of Hotel Frederiksminde. We walked in the garden, down to the beach, across the churchyard, on the cobbled streets through town, and all the way to the harbor. As we returned to have our breakfast a duck was taking its morning bath in the pond outside. Prestø is truly a place of harmony.
The breakfast is worth a visit to the hotel alone. Everything is homemade by the same kitchen that serves you in the evening. Our table was completely covered with the most wonderful food. Homemade bread, cream cheese, soft cheese, hams, eggs, jams, chocolate spread, tiny cakes, strawberries, and müsli with nuts and berries. The juices were freshly pressed and the coffee was brewed on a French press. I could wake up like this every morning.
Have you been to hotel Frederiksminde, or did this inspire you to go? Please share in a comment.