Trio in Copenhagen Casual Gourmet at AOC's Sister Restaurant

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.

Restaurant Trio is situated in Axel Towers
Restaurant Trio is situated in Axel Towers
The best view in town for sure
The best view in town for sure

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.

The main dining room of Trio
The main dining room of Trio
Trio appetizers
Trio appetizers
Teeter Totter, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, USA
Teeter Totter, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, USA

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.

Smoked lumpfish roe, rhubarb, and potato pancake
Smoked lumpfish roe, rhubarb, and potato pancake
Cod, Jerusalem artichoke chips, and parsley sauce with Baerii caviar
Cod, Jerusalem artichoke chips, and parsley sauce with Baerii caviar
Veal sweetbreads, langoustine, grilled kale & creamy sauce
Veal sweetbreads, langoustine, grilled kale & creamy sauce
Tables along the windows
Tables along the windows

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.

Tourte aux cailles
Tourte aux cailles
Cut in half in the kitchen, and presented again!
Cut in half in the kitchen, and presented again!
Quail baked in butter dough, with a sauce of blackcurrant, red beets & truffle
Quail baked in butter dough, with a sauce of blackcurrant, red beets & truffle
The final meat course getting a sauce served tableside.
The final meat course getting a sauce served tableside.
Leg of lamb with fried cabbage, purée of leeks, coriander, and a sauce with ramson & warm spices
Leg of lamb with fried cabbage, purée of leeks, coriander, and a sauce with ramson & warm spices

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):

Trio by feinschmeckeren.dk

Peeking down into the bar area one floor down
Peeking down into the bar area one floor down
Passion fruit, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds & salty coconut
Passion fruit, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds & salty coconut
I'll take my chances on the least shiny one
I’ll take my chances on the least shiny one
Mandarin orange made with yuzu and white chocolate. Dark chocolate sorbet on the side.
Mandarin orange made with yuzu and white chocolate. Dark chocolate sorbet on the side.
On the rooftop of restaurant Trio
On the rooftop of restaurant Trio

What’s your favorite casual gourmet restaurant in Copenhagen? Please share in a comment below.

Anders Husa

I am Anders Husa – a foodie living in Oslo. I eat at the best restaurants in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and the major food destinations in the world. I share my foodie stories here.

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