Copenhagen has so many restaurants to explore, I don’t think I’ll ever get through my to-eat-list. Some of the places I’ve been keenest to check out, however, are the sister restaurants of the top Michelin-starred restaurants in town. They tend to offer really high value for money, because you still have the passion and skills of the restaurateurs, plus access to the same great ingredients, but at a much lower entry price. Last year, I paid my first visit to the two-starred restaurant AOC (Aarø & Co.), which is a bit of a hidden gem despite its high rating. In recent years, the owners, Christian Aarø and Søren Selin, have also established two more casual concepts in the Danish capital. First out was No. 2 back in 2014. Three years later, in September of 2017, their third restaurant opened. Suitably named Trio.
The Best View in Copenhagen
Trio is located at the 8th (private dining room), 9th (cocktail bar) and 10th (restaurant) floor in the tallest tower of Axel Towers, which is a series of five connected high-rise buildings. The lowest standing at 28 meters (technically a low-rise) and the tallest at 61 meters. Situated right across Tivoli, you’ll have one of the most awesome views of Copenhagen city from the top level. There aren’t any skyscrapers in this town, so this really is as good as it gets. To find the entrance to Trio, you have to go to the left side of the complex (when facing it), slightly on the backside of the towers. There’s an elevator that will only bring you to the top.
I was here for an early dinner meeting with a representative from Copenhagen Cooking & Food Festival. We are working on a project together, so stay tuned for an exciting event in August! In the evening at restaurant Trio, you can either enjoy a 7-course set menu (DKK 675) or choose from the à la carte-list (prices between DKK 100 and DKK 300 per dish). For lunch, the menu is somewhat simpler, with a 3-course set menu (DKK 400), but where you can choose between six different dishes. Add cheese for DKK 75. Unlike AOC and No. 2, Trio is not as strictly Nordic. Head chef Simon Thrane seems to draw some inspiration from both the French and Japanese cuisine as well.
Lovely Lumpenhagen in the Spring
Our tasting menu started with the Trio appetizers, which, of course, consisted of three dishes. An oyster with a foam of verbena, a crispy fish skin with a chili- and yuzu jam, and a traditional Danish Gode Råd (a sort of crispy waffle) with a fresh goat cheese cream. The tastiest of the three was the oyster. I rarely find dishes with crispy fish skin very appetizing, maybe it’s just my preference, but this was no exception. The waffles were interesting, but lacked some flavor to truly stand out.
The next dish, still snack size, was much better, despite being my 4th or 5th dish with lumpfish roe since I arrived in Copenhagen. This meal was actually back in the springtime, and practically every restaurant in town had lumpfish roe on the menu. I think, in the end, I counted nine lumpfish dishes at ten different restaurants. Thus, I dubbed the city Lumpenhagen! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s a lovely produce.
Tourte Aux Cailles – The Highlight of the Meal
We were seated along the windows next to the staircases leading down to the cocktail bar on the 9th floor. It’s probably quite romantic if you’re a couple dining, but next time I think I’ll ask for a table in the main dining room. I found that we were a bit lonely in the corner, and it was difficult to get the waiters attention when needed since we were hidden from their view.
A dish of cod with Jerusalem artichoke chips and a parsley sauce with Baerii caviar was excellent. The fish was cooked to perfection, flaky and juicy, with the crisps adding a crunchy contrast. A delicious sauce contributed with saltiness, sweetness, and a gentle, green, herby bitterness to please the taste palate. I also loved the sweetbreads and kale in a creamy sauce, but the langoustine sort of drowned a bit among the dominating flavors of the other ingredients.
The highlight of the meal, without a doubt, was the tourte aux cailles. A classic French dish of quail baked in butter dough, which was presented at the table first and then brought back to the kitchen to be cut in half, before it was served again and topped off tableside with a sauce of blackcurrant, red beets & truffle. I think every restaurant should have a main dish like this, which adds that extra oumph to the meal. Both in terms of presentation, but also flavor. My goodness, that crispy, delicious, and buttery dough against the tender, soft quail meat. And a sauce so rich in acidity and umami flavor that you start to salivate simply from the aroma. Head chef Simon Thrane really outdid himself with this one. A dish worth the visit alone.
I wish the tourte aux cailles would have been the final dish of the savory part of the meal – for two reasons. Firstly, because I was getting quite full, and secondly, because it was the peak of the menu. Due to this, I fear that we didn’t enjoy the last lamb dish as much as we would otherwise have done. Regardless of that, by the time desserts arrived, we had magically found more room in our stomachs again. We did ask to share one of each, though, as I really hate food waste. By sheer luck, we preferred different ones, so my table companion finished the passion fruit with pumpkin seeds and coconut, which reminded me too much of a breakfast granola. Meanwhile, I enjoyed the delectable and impressive-looking yuzu- and white chocolate orange with a chocolate sorbet (or was it cream?) and crumble. I’m normally not that into chocolate, but here it was balanced by a sharp citrus acidity, which made it very much enjoyable.
Trio delivered a great casual gourmet meal with many memorable dishes. It’s a restaurant I have already recommended to many people who have asked me for a not-so-fine-dining restaurant in Copenhagen. Next time I return, I want to have a cocktail in the bar and enjoy Copenhagen by night as seen from above!
Wanna read more about Trio? Check out this recent review by my friend Rasmus Palsgård (article in Danish):
What’s your favorite casual gourmet restaurant in Copenhagen? Please share in a comment below.