On the edge of the town, at the end of the road, there is a door that leads into another world. A world of self discovery, indulgence and social awareness. This door, these two ton gates lead into the heart of the Alchemist.
Our journey starts ca. four months earlier, at a precise time. We have two laptops and two mobile phones ready at the precise moment, the Alchemist opens its reservations for the next 3 months. Preparation pays off. We are among the few lucky ones to get a table. Within 5min, all weekends are completely filled up.
08.12. (Friday) We start our journey from Munich. Again, we are lucky: Flight traffic is just getting back to normal after the largest snow fall ever recorded in Munich. With slight delay we arrive in Copenhagen. I finish up some work, then we go to bed.
09.12. (Saturday) After breakfast in our Airbnb (Kronprinsessegade 26, directly at the Rosenborg park), we stroll through the city – Nyhaven and up and down Støget. We have a quick lunch at the Christmas Market at Kongens Nytorv and spend some time relaxing in our apartment.
Ten past six it’s time to go. Our taxi ride takes us through the city center, through Christiania and past the famous Noma restaurant. The street ends in an industry yard. Our driver increasingly checks his GPS. Fewer and fewer street lights line the road. Our driver seems unsure if he should really drop us at this remote location. However, the giant gate is a clear sign that we are in the right place.
With confidence, we approach the gate. But we find no way to open the door. As we search, the door magically opens and we step into a small entrance area, no bigger than our entrance at home. A few guests are waiting. Staff greets us very friendly and takes our coats. Our server welcomes us and sends us into the first room. The room is about self awareness and self discovery. A mime / dancer takes us around the room and presents us with a first “impression” as the dishes will be called through the evening – a thin waver with a hint of apple.
From the mirror room, we are led into the reception room. The small room is lined on the one side by a ca. 10m high wine cellar and by the experimental kitchen on the other side. We realize the guests are moving through the evening not at the same time but staged.
We drink a cocktail made from rabbit ears (making full use if the animals),
eat a Daisy shaped sorbet,
a crispy, smoke filled ball topped with caviar,
a dumpling made from silk sugar and filled with fish sauce and pak choi,
the perfect omelette according to Rasmus Munk (admittedly, it is a f@#ing great omelette),
a Spanish tapas ball filled with cheese and bacon (frozen at -80°C so it becomes super crunchy when fried at 200°C,… alright)
and a vodka and sea buckthorn tonic ice.
After this first round of impressions, we are led upstairs past the wine cellar and into the heart of the Alchemist: The Dome. We are seated at an endless counter that winds through the giant space. It seats ca. 50 people (with a full restaurant staff of ca 100).
The second act, first scene starts with the famous eye, called 1984 (caviar and fish).
Many of the impressions aim to raise awareness to social and environmental issues such as surveillance, invasive species, ocean plastic, child labor, etc. The first act continues with a dish made from invasive species (sea urchin and beach crabs),
we have a lobster claw in a very thin bread crust with a mayonnaise style dip,
a piece of edible ocean plastic filled with fish (cod if I remember correctly),
and head of the king crab, another invasive species.
We enjoy a beautiful Riesling (Alter Hölle) and Champagne (Chassagne-Montrachet) under a display of Sakura and a beating heart.
The second scene starts slightly weird with a dish called tongue kiss, served on a silicone replica of a tongue.
An edible litograph of Frieda Kahlo is a welcome break
before “food for thought” – cooked lamb brain is served inside a silicone skull.
We have a special moment all together as a fluorescent drink is served at the same time to all diners. We have a wonderful Pinot Noir from Givry, Close de Cellier aux Moines.
The third scene starts with an airy bread. The recipe sounds like it is coming straight out of an Advanced Chemistry book. The bread is topped with a wonderful piece of jamon.
Next is rabbit (much more sustainable than cows), served on a rib cage
and chicken served on the end of chicken feet.
The last dish of this scene is a homage to Christian Andersen’s Story of the Soup on a Sausage Peg: rotten bread, fatty spread and a fantastic soup.
We have a very special Barollo del Commune die la Morra by Roberto Voerzio and a very fitting Bordeaux from Chateau Pontet-Canet.
It feels too early to move to the sweet part, but this is how it goes. The first dessert is a colorful berry waver and ice cream.
Second is Rasmus famous Andy Warhol banana.
The third desert reminds us to donate blood and is made out of pig blood.
The final piece is a chocolate that is sourced without child labor. The imagery is drastic but the message is an important one. We drink a sweet Vin de Constance.
Finally, we get a special treat. When Rasmus came to visit our table to bring a dessert, I told him that we would have loved to eat the chicken feet as well. Coincidentally, he will put chicken feet on the menu in the next week’s and we got to try them. One of my favorite dishes.
We move on from the dome. We are asked to take off our shoes and hand over all Portemonnaie, jewelry, phones (except one), to keep them safe while we are in the next room. We scratch our heads of what may await us. The answer is as simple as it is unexpected: It is a ball bath! What awesome fun.
Next, one of the cooks shows us the kitchen, including the Trello board which they use to manage and keep track of all tables.
And we are sent off in an elevator. We step out under a black roof, overlooking the entirety of the Alchemist: The entrance, the first room, the wine cellar, the dome, as well the backstage area where the staff eats. Up on this balcony, we relax, reflect and have the final sweets. Amber, made out of ginger and Tasmanian honey,
a thick margherita praline,
another beautifully wrapped praline.
And of course it would not be the Alchemist without gold. The final piece is a golden moustache.
We drink a final cocktail (Mai Tai and a Christmas Whiskey sour). Happy we step into the elevator a final time. In the last room, we find our coats, and words of reflection written on the wall. We say goodbye and take a taxi home.
On 09.12. we sleep in and go home.