In between cooking and celebrating the Apple Flower Festival in little Lillieø, an island south of Copenhagen, chef Julia Sullivan of Henrietta Red in Nashville shares where she ate off the clock.
A tiny island with just 7 inhabitants off of Copenhagen brought Julia Sullivan, the chef behind Henrietta Red in Nashville, this past spring. Well, her and 600 other people.
“The Apple Flower Festival is a two-day food and music festival on Lillieø, started by Claus Meyer to celebrate the blossoming of apple trees in the Danish South Sea region,” says Sullivan. “One of my old friends from cooking at Franny’s in Brooklyn invited me to cook. I was hesitant at first—Henrietta Red wasn’t open yet—but I decided to go with encouragement for my partners.”
In between prepping for her dish at Meyers Maduhus, a culinary center focused on exploring Nordic food and cooking her crispy fjordshrimp with lovage and Anson Mills polenta for the crowds at The Apple Flower Festival, Sullivan still had a few meals to capitalize on her time in Copenhagen.
Here’s where she hit up:
“Matt Orlando was a sous-chef at Per Se when I was a chef de partie. He was always a compelling and intellectually curious leader, so I looked forward to trying his food at this ultra-modern spot in the Amager neighborhood. We happened to come on an odd night—Matt was away for an offsite event—but one of my favorite things about visiting other people’s restaurants is that you see them, in the food and the details, even in their absence.
The meal at Amass was lovely—beautiful presentations outdone by creative flavors and interesting techniques. One highlight was grilled kartoffelbrød (fermented potato bread) studded with steamy hunks of potato and served with a kale based spread. At the end of the savory courses, we stepped out into the restaurant garden and perused the vegetables and greens growing there, recognizing one after another from various bites of our meal.”
“After celebrating a national holiday with grilled pork sandwiches, beers and a short nap later, we ventured out on bicycle in the evening. Our intentions were to try something less formal than Amass, so we made our way to Jægersborggade, and attempted a meal at Manfreds. It was full, so we took our chances at its older, more sophisticated sister property, Relae, caddy-cornered across the cobblestone street.
At Relae, we were offered a 4-course or 7-course menu; we cautiously opted for the 4-course for fear of sleeping through our weekend commitments. The menu struck an interesting balance of high-end presentation and classical technique with farm-to-table simplicity. The first course was a stunner—a raw Danish oyster, hidden coyly beneath thinly shaved cucumbers and sorrel leaves—mineral and creamy. The main course was a slice of roast Mangalista pork loin, served with lightly wilted greens, kale flowers, and a light pork jus. The dessert was also fantastic: icy buttermilk sherbet layered with whey caramel and Spanish chervil.”
“One morning, I walked in Copenhagen alone and stopped for a traditional Danish lunch of smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches on rye bread) at Restaurant Palaegade before heading to The Apple Flower Festival. Palaegade is a somewhat formal restaurant near the historic center of the city, where you can find plentiful shops and historic shops. Palædle’s menu offers smørrebrød as well as other traditional dishes paired with beers and schnapps. The highlights were an ample serving of lobster tartare with lemon emulsion and generous chunks of cold smoked mackerel with oven roasted tomato, both artfully plated on toasts.”
“A bit spent from the weekend of prepping and cooking, I decided to venture out for one last meal before my flight the next morning. I walked to the meatpacking district, now home to many of the city’s younger bars and restauarants, including a Mikeller beer hall and Hija de Sanchez, a taqueria by Rosio Sanchéz. There was street market with food and drinks happening in the center of it all. I opted for a glass of rosé, oysters and crudo at Fiskebare. I ate there on my last trip to Denmark so decided to return. The oysters were excellent, but the people watching was enough to satisfy my tired mind for an evening after a long, food-filled week.”