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Taller Contemporary Venezuelan Restaurant in Copenhagen

Restaurant Taller was the first restaurant I booked in Copenhagen this summer. There were no other restaurants I got recommended by more people. Practically everyone I talked to said Taller was a must-visit. The Spanish pronunciation of the word is Tayer and it means workshop. Just like painters need a workshop, so do chefs when they create art on your plate. In this case, it is the workshop of chefs Karlos Ponte Maldonado and Luis Moreno. They are both Venezuelan born and together with the manager Jakob Brink they opened their own restaurant in March this year.

Restaurant Taller is located in a quiet corner close to Kongens Nytorv
Restaurant Taller is located in a quiet corner close to Kongens Nytorv

I had a quick snack at restaurant Geist before I met up with a foodie friend I had scheduled to meet through a Facebook society called Eatinerary. She was excited just like me, but also a bit skeptical. The fact that two of the owners had experience from restaurant Noma could be a curse as much as a blessing.

– Being a Noma alumni is not a guarantee for success, she argued.

A good point. We arrived, slightly late, and was welcomed in the door by the restaurant manager Jakob who asked:

– How hungry are you?

Having just eaten three small courses it felt wrong to say very hungry, but that’s what we answered anyway! Apparently, that’s what Jakob wanted to hear, in order to execute a serving of the big menu.

Tomatillos, green Mexican tomatoes, to sharpen the appetite
Tomatillos, green Mexican tomatoes, to sharpen the appetite.
Domaine Hubert et Heidi Hausherr - Sunngass 2011, Alsace. Our wine for the evening. A fruity and well balanced wine. Flower aroma. Check that golden color!
Domaine Hubert et Heidi Hausherr – Sunngass 2011, Alsace. Our wine for the evening. A fruity and well-balanced wine. Flower aroma. Check that golden color!

Restaurant Taller offer the choice between two menus – a small serving with four courses or a big serving with seven courses. As more and more snack kept coming out from the kitchen we continued to be a bit confused as to what we had actually ordered. There was never a menu placed at the table. Thus, we had to consult our sommelier and waiter this evening, Carsten Cesar, who confirmed that we had indeed got the big menu ahead of us. Great! That is of course what we wanted anyway.

Oysters with mango and angostura
Oysters with mango and angostura.
Olluco, onoto and guava. What the hell, you may be asking? Olluco is a potato-like root vegetable. Onoto is an orange-red condiment derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. Guava is a tropical fruit.
Olluco, onoto and guava. What the hell, you may be asking? Olluco is a potato-like root vegetable. Onoto is an orange-red condiment derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. Guava is a tropical fruit.
Arepa peluda. A Venezuelan flatbread made of maize, filled with yellow cheese and pulled beef
Arepa peluda. A Venezuelan flatbread made of maize, filled with yellow cheese and pulled beef.

I believe my table friend’s skepticism died a little with every new dish we were presented. I got confirmation that my food sources in Copenhagen are up to date, and can be trusted for future references. The food was amazing and something completely different from anywhere else I have eaten in Scandinavian restaurants. It sort of reminded me of restaurant Aymara in Oslo, but it is even closer in style and presentation to new Nordic cooking. At the same time, it is very far from the New Nordic since all ingredients and flavors are South-American. Most of them very exotic to me. I admit I had to google most of them later to understand what we actually ate.

The bread serving, in a wool basket!
The bread serving, in a wool basket!
Langoustine, "yare", fava beans, yellow bell pepper and a frozen powder of fresh parsley, tarragon and lime peel. "Yare" is the juice of the poisonous cassava root, but they cook it for a very long time to make it into an edible flavoring agent.
Langoustine, “yare”, fava beans, yellow bell pepper and a frozen powder of fresh parsley, tarragon and lime peel. “Yare” is the juice of the poisonous cassava root, but they cook it for a very long time to make it into an edible flavoring agent.
Our host of the night, Carsten Cesar, plating the next dish
Our host of the night, Carsten Cesar, plating the next dish.
Fosforera of mussels & chayotta. Fosforera is a Venezuelan seafood and tomato soup. Chayotta is a vegetable in the same family as pumpkins, squash and cucumbers.
Fosforera of mussels & chayotta. Fosforera is a Venezuelan seafood and tomato soup. Chayotta is a vegetable in the same family as pumpkins, squash and cucumbers.

We had a really nice evening at restaurant Taller with food that tasted just as wonderful as it looked on the plate. On the topic of plates, I had to ask who made them of course. I expected to get the name of one of the many famous Danish ceramists, but they were actually from Venezuela as well! The artist’s name is Miku, and I must say he makes truly stunning plates with marvelous color glazing. Our waiter Carsten was a remarkable host who mastered that sweet balance between being an attentive waiter and social almost to the level of taking part in the table conversation. I also loved that the chefs came out from their hiding in the workshop, including Karlos, to put the final touches to their masterpiece by the table.

Head chef Karlos Ponte Maldonado
Head chef Karlos Ponte Maldonado.
The final touches to the dish are done at the table by head chef Karlos.
The final touches to the dish are done at the table by head chef Karlos.
Chupe de pollo of corn, chanterelles and soured cream. A dish based on one of the traditional chicken and corn soups of South America
Chupe de pollo of corn, chanterelles and soured cream. A dish based on one of the traditional chicken and corn soups of South America.
Chips of purple potatoes and a peanut cream
Chips of purple potatoes and a peanut cream

I recommended the restaurant to my foodie friend Lars, and he loved it as well. You can read his story (in Norwegian) on the food blog Lars Spiser.

"Sopa de Trigo". Fermented pearl barley mixed with purple potato, sweet potatoes, herbs, grilled green unripe strawberries, burnt onions & chili oil.
“Sopa de Trigo”. Fermented pearl barley mixed with purple potato, sweet potatoes, herbs, grilled green unripe strawberries, burnt onions & chili oil.
Asado negro! The black BBQ, here made with pork cheeks, sweet potato and tindly
Asado negro! The black BBQ, here made with pork cheeks, sweet potato and tindly.
Predessert. A sorbet of fermented strawberries and ancho chili with black tea powder.
Predessert. A sorbet of fermented strawberries and ancho chili with black tea powder.
Rosehip and sweet potato sorbet. One of the best desserts I have ever eaten, and so simple! Took me straight back to the amazing dessert classic by Rosio Sanchez at Noma, of potato, plum and plum kernel.
Rosehip and sweet potato sorbet. One of the best desserts I have ever eaten, and so simple! Took me straight back to the amazing dessert classic by Rosio Sanchez at Noma, of potato, plum and plum kernel.
Guanabana, avocado & mate. Guanbana is a Venezuelan fruit.
Guanabana, avocado & mate. Guanbana is a Venezuelan fruit.
Petit four made to look like chilis
Petit four made to look like chilis.
Petit four made to look like cinnamon sticks
Petit four made to look like cinnamon sticks.
The team! Jakob, Carsten & Karlos.
The team! Jakob, Carsten & Karlos.

What is the best South-American restaurant where you have eaten in Europe? Please leave a comment below.

Lagre

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