Review: Formel B

19 September 2014

I had departed very early in the morning from the Faroe Islands after a spectacular birthday meal at Koks. The morning was extremely rough, not helped by early alarm and hour-long drive in the heavy fog to Vágar Airport… If it wasn’t for that fine meal I would have not survived this trek back to Copenhagen…

Slept most of the flight as you would have expected, just to endure CPH afterwards… Again, I’ve come to hate this airport. Major issues with bags, took ages and passenger complaints before we got our bags. Bad start… Then problems with the ticket machines that refuses to take coins…it’s like being back in London already…

Checked into my hotel near Tivoli and promptly fell asleep for a few more hours despite the ridiculous heat inside the room. I woke up and got myself psyched for dinner tonight at Formel B. Hard to believe, considering how well I’ve been eating the past few days on this trip, that this is the first Michelin-starred place I was visiting.

It was a long walk across the centre of Copenhagen on Vesterbrogade to almost near Fredericksberg, a solid 25 minutes of fast walking. I was soaking in sweat as I arrived… I was more than happy to sit at the counter, which was cooler (thanks to the front door frequently opening) than the dining room downstairs… Ah, first and only meal of the day, looking forward to this.

Formel B has a small plates concept, pick a few and go with it. I ended up choosing 4 dishes as I was hungry. As I enjoyed some wine the amuse bouche arrived.

amuse

The crackling was a bit boring, the crab puff was okay, and the chicken croquette was also okay. After last night’s series of amuse bouches, this seemed a bit anticlimatic… But it was a satisfactory start. I enjoyed more wine as the first dish arrived, scallops.

1-scallops-puff_rice

These were okay, though the puffed rice kind of threw things off. Overall on the bland side, and the rice really made it more bland. Texture was interesting but the flavour was really pale. Worked better visually than in your mouth. Definitely still missing the scallop at 1877 in Bergen

2-quail_egg-ham

Not disturbed yet as the second course arrived, quail eggs with Danish ham and sunchokes and watercress. The eggs were nice, though now it’s the reverse. The ham was much on the salty side, and it was a 180-degree turn from the previous dish. It was okay, but it was heavy on the ham. A little off-balanced to be honest, but good ham and eggs…

I was a little concerned to be honest at this point. I’ve not had a disappointing dinner on this entire trip so far, but was starting to fret a little. I’ve always thought Copenhagen is overrated, and tonight I’m worried it’s proving my concern. Had a bit more wine and awaited the third dish, chicken.

3-chicken-morel

Now this all but calmed my worries and brought this dinner back to life. This was a fabulous dish, based on free-range local chicken. Fabulous tasting bird. The baby corn was excellent, as were the morels. A very balanced dish (especially considering the last 2) that brought out the best of each ingredient. Very impressed!

My demeanor had completely changed at this point, and I enjoyed more wine. The open kitchen also let me enjoy the view, which was also accentuated by several extremely attractive female cooks… Switched to a red as we went to course four, entrecôte.

5-entrecote

This was fabulous. An excellent piece of beef, accented by deep flavours of jus and beetroot. Pieces of smoked eel added an extra dimension, as did the wee bit of marrow. Now this was a fine dish! Wow.

I have to say the first 2 dishes were really not there, but the last 2 dishes were utterly fantastic. It’s almost like two different kitchens. Wow. But the last 2 were so good I happily decided to stay for a dessert, especially after looking at the menu. In Estonia we call this astelpaju

5-sea_buckthorn

This beautiful presentation was called rightly “sea buckthorn en surprise” on the menu. A fabulous baked treat with the richness of the berry inside. I love this presentation, I almost didn’t want to break it open!

I gotta say the second half of this dinner saved the experience and then some. The chicken and beef were fabulous, with excellent cooking adding to the wonderful ingredients. Maybe I ordered the wrong things for the starting portion. But overall a pretty good dinner.

I headed out with a smile, which grew when I realised it’s cooled down outside. I strolled back chilled towards Tivoli. As I walked down Vesterbrogade, I recalled my first visit here 20 years ago and how much things actually look the same… Good to be back in a town I used to visit twice a year but rarely these days…

Formel B
Vesterbrogade 182
København, Danmark

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