Once upon a time, there was a contemporary Venezuelan restaurant in Copenhagen called Taller. It was located at Tordenskjoldsgade 11, very close to Kongens Nytorv, yet somewhat off the beaten path still. That place is no more (although, it’s rumored to reopen at some point). Instead, co-founders Karlos Ponte and Luis Moreno have teamed up with well-known Mexican chef Emilio Macías and equally famous Peruvian chef Diego Muñoz to create restaurant PMY. The name means Papa (potato), Maíz (corn), and Yuca (yucca) – three defining ingredients from each of the chefs’ native countries, and some of the fundamental ingredients in the Latin American cuisine. Where Taller was a mixture of New Nordic and Venezuelan food elevated to fine dining, PMY is all about authentic flavors and casual eating in a relaxed atmosphere.
Location, Location, Location
Restaurant PMY’s perhaps biggest challenge, similar to that of Taller, is the location. Especially now, with Kongens Nytorv basically being a construction zone, it’s not an easy task to navigate to Tordenskiolds gate. If you’re standing with hotel D’Angleterre and restaurant Marchal in your back, you are headed to the opposite side of the square and then to the right. The street you’re aiming for runs past the newly-opened cocktail bar Brønnom (horrible service – avoid at all cost), in between the Royal Theater and the School of the Royal Danish Academy. Continue to walk through the breathtaking August Bournonvilles Passage (take a moment to appreciate its beauty) and you’ll arrive at Tordenskiolds gate on the other side. Suddenly, you’re in a quiet residential area, where the noisy and colorful Latin American eatery is the only thing that grabs your attention.
PMY is More Casual and Democratic
Stepping into the refurbished restaurant PMY, I still recognize the space from the days of Taller, but it’s definitely altered to a more casual atmosphere. For starters, there are more tables, and they are crammed closer together – making room for more people inside. Round, private tables, are replaced by square, democratic ones. Now, you can actually see all the other guests! The first decision your group needs to make at PMY is whether you’re all ordering à la carte, or having the small or big menu. You can go for a little walk (un paseito) with three starters and mains priced at DKK 395, or have it all (con todo) for DKK 495 which adds three more desserts. Sounds like a lot? It was! You could easily choose more freely from starters (DKK 95), mains (DKK 185), and desserts (DKK 85) instead. As for drinks, just trust the head sommelier. We did, and he made some excellent choices on our behalf.
Mexico, Peru, or Venezuela – Who’s Gonna Take the Victory Home?
I know it’s not a competiton, but the menu is practically begging for it. In each round, you get one Mexican, one Peruvian, and one Venezuelan dish. So, let’s see who comes out victorious!
Round one – snacks. A plate that literally holds papa, maíz, and yuca. 0 points goes to the Peruvian potato salad in salad leaves, sadly, as it was rather tasteless, and in need of both salt and more spice. 2 points to the Mexican baby corn with mayo, cayenne pepper, and parmesan cheese. A classic elote, which I love. Finally, 1 point to the deep-fried Venezuelan yuca-fries with a herb cream. They were easy to dip, crunchy, soft, and warm, but could also use more salt.
Round two – starters. Venezuela is off to a great start with 2 points for the smashing arepas! Deep-fried corn breads filled with pulled beef and cheddar – what could go wrong? 0 points is not a fair judgement of the Ceviche de Ají Amarillo, because it was excellent, but the Mexican tostadas with crab was just slightly more awesome (1 point).
Round three – mains. This, on the contrary, is not a good round for Venezuela with its fish in coconut sauce (0 points). Not a bad dish, but rather boring compared to the two others. Mexico takes the grand slam here with 2 points for Carnitas de Cochinillo (pork tacos), while PMY’s version of Ají de gallina (with tortellinis) gets 1 charm point. I’m weak for those flavors.
Thus, Mexico is in the lead with 5 points, followed by Venezuela with 3 points, and Peru last with 2 points as we get into the final round – desserts. Venezuela snags this one with a great combination of pineapple, blackberry, and cashew nuts (2 points), followed by the Mexican tequila ice cream with a tamarind granita (1 point), and Peru is once again last with its lucuma ice cream (0 points).
Mexico: 6 points
Venezuela: 5 points
Peru: 2 points
It’s no secret that running a fine dining restaurant can be extremely difficult, or even bad business. Given the location, I think it was a smart decision to turn Taller into the more affordable and available PMY. However, where Taller was more playful and creative, with exciting new flavors and great aesthetics, PMY is safer, more classic and authentic, and just ever so slightly on the dull side. Mind you, this was back in August, about a week or two after opening. The place has probably evolved quite a bit already, and I will definitely check back on another occasion – if only for a snack in the bar. That’s where PMY get its strength. You can go whenever.
Have you been to both Taller and PMY? How do you compare them? Please share your opinion in a comment below.