This summer we decided to check out the Danish island of Funen. I’ve wanted to go here ever since the Danish Christmas lunch I attended last year, which gave me a taste of the area’s produce. Funen, or Fyn which is the local name, is Denmark’s third-largest island and home of the third biggest city – Odense. Check my foodie guide to Odense for the best eats in the hometown of famous writer H.C. Andersen. Fyn is often referred to as Denmark’s garden, and that’s easy to understand when you drive around in a car and see the wonderful nature here. We drove across the great belt bridge from Zealand, where we had visited Rønnede Kro and Hotel Frederiksminde. Our destination this afternoon was only a five-minute drive from where the bridge connects to the mainland: Restaurant Lieffroy in Nyborg.
A Restaurant With a Long History
To make a long story short: the dad, Jean-Louis Lieffroy, found his way from France to Denmark and in 1971 he started working at the now-famous tavern and restaurant Falsled Kro. Four years later he was promoted to head chef and remained so for another impressive 34 years until he suddenly retired in 2008. Rumors about a disagreement with the owners, the Grønlykke family, are widespread. I can imagine the Lieffroys are dead tired of hearing about these speculations, yet they were hardly able to restrain their dismay for Falsled Kro when we mentioned we were going there the next day.
The son, Patrick Lieffroy, was the sous chef at Falsled Kro for 12 years and quit less than a year after his dad left. In 2010 he bought the current Lieffroy restaurant building. The location in Nyborg was perfect, with its proximity to the forest as well as a spectacular view of the beach, the sea, and the bridge that connects Funen to Zealand. Luckily, Patrick was able to convince his dad to help out in the kitchen even after his retirement age. The house needed major renovations, though, to end up looking as beautiful as it does today.
Rustic & Modern – French & Danish
We parked the car outside and entered “Hesselhuset” as the old building is called. It was a windy day, but inside the temperature was pleasant and wonderful aromas filled the air. The kitchen at Lieffroy is semi-open, which means you can peek in from the main room. The restaurant is somewhat rustic with white painted brick walls and wooden beams in the ceiling, but other than that the interior feels rather elegant and modern. Like the beautiful ceramics: a mix of Royal Copenhagen, K H Würtz, and possibly some other brands, if I am not mistaken.
The Lieffroys wanted a restaurant with top-quality produce and affordable prices. In that, they have succeeded. A three-course menu is priced at DKK 395, which is within the price-qualifications of a Bib Gourmand rating. If the Michelin inspectors pay a visit they will obviously evaluate that up against the quality, though. While the style is undoubtedly more French than New Nordic, the father and son are not stuck in the past either. In terms of both presentation and flavor, I found a lot of the dishes to be very satisfying. Patrick and Jean-Louis are skilled in French techniques but have mastered the Danish sense of aesthetics as well.
Hits & Misses
My favorite dish from this meal was the catch of the day. A delicate piece of fish fried between two thin slices of bread served with fresh peas, gherkins, small tomatoes, herbs from the garden, and an espuma Hollandaise sauce. This dish seems to have become a classic on the new Lieffroy menu, which is understandable. It’s that irresistible combination of light and rich flavors and different textures. However, I struggled more to understand why they would serve such a huge piece of meat, next to a big white asparagus, as the main course. But the foie gras dish was my least favorite. “It’s been on Jean-Louis’ menu for more than 30 years,” the waiter told us. This would be a good time to kill your darlings, in my opinion. The raspberry sauce was way too sweet, and that mix of wild rice and corn is just not very tasty.
That being said, restaurant Lieffroy in Nyborg is a place I will recommend to anyone who’s headed to Fyn. Don’t drive through the island without stopping here! All in all, we had a wonderful meal, with the most spectacular view on the entire island. The kitchen and the wait staff truly put their hearts into pleasing their customers, and most of the dishes are very enjoyable – both to look at and eat.
Did you stop by Lieffroy on your Fyn journey? Please leave a comment below.