Mes: Gourmet Danish Cuisine

One of the things I get most excited about when I visit a new city is its restaurant scene. For the two evenings I spent in Copenhagen, I chose two highly-rated restaurants that were centred around sustainability. But it was Restaurant Mes I was most excited for. They promised ‘gourmet Danish cuisine centred around local, organic produce and sustainability,’ while offering luxury food at affordable prices. Did it live up to the hype? I have good news and bad news…

A Mixed Experience at Restaurant Mes, Copenhagen

A week ahead of my trip to Copenhagen, I booked myself and a friend into Mes. There was limited availability which I attributed to its popularity, a great sign. Due to the time difference, we wanted to eat around our usual meal time, so went for an 8pm slot. (I think this was a good move, considering our rushed 9pm meal at Donna the night before).

We arrived at the restaurant at 8:05pm, apologetic. We entered a very full, very small dining room, and were promptly told our table was not ready, and to sit outside. As the sun was setting, we sat outside and began shivering, fellow diners looking out at us in amusement. 8:10pm passed, 8:15pm, 8:20pm. At this point, I took my friend inside to warm up. We were then hurriedly shown to a table which had just been cleared, and both of us sat in hangry silence.

To make up for the wait, we were offered free drinks. On being shown the wine menu, my friend asked for advice on two wines, to which she was promptly told they were out of one, so went for the other. I opted for sparkling water.

Despite our rumbling stomaches, we avoided the five-course tasting menu, instead going for three courses à la carte. We decided to share starters, going for the white asparagus with sorrel and pickled mustard seeds, a pearl barley porridge with wild mushrooms and egg yolk, plus bread and butter. The asparagus was fine, cold, with a tangy sparkle from the pickled mustard seeds. The mushroom porridge was creamy and delicious, warming after our wait outside. But it was the bread that we agreed was the best – deep fried and dipped in herb butter.

For mains, I went for fish of the day – sander – and my friend, the veal brisket. Our dishes arrived dressed identically, with a sweet seared shallot and greens that did nothing more than dress the plate. Our server spooned over the sauces: beurre blanc and gravy, respectively. It was fine, but nothing special. I craved more fried bread.

Then, our desserts. We asked for the blackberry, elderflower cream, chocolate, but were told they were out of this as well. Instead, we took the rhubarb with strawberry sorbet and biscuit tuile. The rhubarb was sharp – how I like it – but wasn’t lifted by the sorbet or tuile. My friend asked for a dessert wine, to be told, for a third time, they were out. She was offered another drink, again, on the house. I rolled my eyes. This wasn’t good enough for a regular restaurant, let alone somewhere billed as luxury.

My Overall Rating: 6/10

Mes was a disappointment. While the food itself makes pleasurable riffs on traditional Danish cuisine, it doesn’t bring the same level of technique or attention as I’ve experienced at similar establishments. The staff were as good as the could be given the circumstances, but waiting for 15 minutes outside for a booked table is unforgivable, with or without a free drink. If you are going to eat here, go for the pearl barley, bread and butter, and let me know if the blackberry dessert is any good!


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