Søllerød Kro is in a pretty village location in a very prosperous part of Denmark about half an hour drive or a 45-minute train ride (22km) north of Copenhagen. The premises have housed an inn since 1677, but it has been in its current form as a restaurant since 1987. Chef Paul Cunningham, who now has two Michelin stars at his own place at Henne Kirkeby Kro on the coast of Denmark, worked here in 1998 as chef de cuisine, and the current manager and sommelier, Jan Restorff, started here in 1999. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2007. Jan started here in 1999 and became executive chef in 2001, with Brian Mark Hansen currently head chef. Brian previously worked at Ruths Hotel in Skagen and Kong Hans Kælder in Copenhagen. He became a sous chef at Søllerød Kro in 2007 and worked in this role to 2011. He then moved on to a head chef position at Christiansholm in Klampenborg before returning to Søllerød Kro in 2013. The dining room is simple, carpeted and with perfectly ironed white linen tablecloths. Lighting in the dining room was a little murky, hence the matching photographs.
The style of cuisine is mostly quite classical, though there are definitely some Scandinavian touches. However is far from ascetic New Nordic, with an emphasis on luxury ingredients. There was a full a la carte selection of dishes, though we opted for a surprise menu, which was priced at DKK 1795 (£208). If you went a la carte you might spend around DKK 1,100 (£128) for the food, depending on what your ordered. The wine list is vast, with 1,600 labels offered, the list being particularly strong in Burgundy. Example bottles were J.J. Prum Gracher Himmelrech Kabinett 2015 at DKK 595 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for DKK 217, Hubert Lamy Les Frionnes 2013 at DKK 895 compared to its retail price of DKK 527, and Philippe Pacalet Meursault Charmes 2012 at DKK 1,850 for a wine that will set you back DKK 929 in a shop. At the prestige end of the list, Domaine des Comtes Lafon Perrieres 2015 was DKK 4,500 compared to its retail price of DKK 2,993, and Domaine Ramonet Le Montrachet 2004 was DKK 14,000 for a label whose current market price is DKK 8,989.
The meal began with a series of nibbles. Lumpfish roe is popular to serve in Sweden, and was fine, here mixed with egg yolk and cucumber and pumpkin seeds. A crisp shell of potato with mayonnaise of white asparagus with smoked walnuts had a pleasing combination of textures. Celeriac wrapped in black olive coating cylinder was clever technically and the flavour of its components came through well. A roll of apple with lemon verbena was refreshing and had good balance. Best of all was sander (pike perch) marinated with yuzu and dill and glazed in lime and dill. An average score of 15/20 for the nibbles.
Cucumber jus with rosemary foam had burnt lemon with chestnut and was quite refreshing (14/20). Beluga caviar from a supplier in Belgium was served with a base of cream and sour milk. This particular caviar was from a 22 year old sturgeon and was superb, not overly salty and some of the best caviar I have eaten for ages. It is hard to scores something like this, which is essentially skilful shopping rather than cooking, but it was lovely. This was followed by Ossetra (aka Oscietra) caviar from the same supplier, with celeriac and razor clams along with horseradish cream (15/20). Next was a number 3 oyster from Marain in France, with cheese ice cream and pickled cucumber. I am not a huge oyster fan but this was certainly very nice.
Next were langoustine tails hidden under a layer of potato cream, dill, chervil and dried seaweed. This had a garnish of yet more caviar, this time a variety called Baerrii Gold. This came with a bouillon of langoustine, fennel and chervil with fermented tomato and raw langoustine. The langoustines had very good natural sweetness of flavour and went well with the potato and herbs (16/20). Lemon sole was slow-cooked with butter, mussel juice and parsley in the oven and topped with salad with a garnish of yet further caviar, in this a mix of the previous two types we had seen. This was the least good dish of the meal for me. Lemon sole is a fairly flavourless fish at the best of times, and its texture was oddly soft from the cooking process. The caviar couldn’t really disguise the limitations of the fish (12/20).
Scallop from Norway was smoked and surrounded by a ring of dehydrated Jerusalem artichokes, breadcrumbs and hazelnuts, topped with a brown butter foam, wild garlic and finally grated bianchetto truffle from Piedmont. This was a gorgeous dish, the scallops sweet, the crunchy textures in the ring nicely contrasting with the soft scallops, the truffle adding a note of luxury (18/20). This was followed by leek terrine with lightly poached Danish lobster with pine oil and lobster jelly with lobster bouillon. This was reasonable, but the lobster was good rather than exceptional, and the texture of the jelly did not really add much (14/20). Better was foie gras torchon with a tuile of crisp brioche, cacao dust, kumquat and pear compote. The terrine had silky texture and was richly flavoured. the compote bringing some much needed balancing acidity (16/20).
Pan-fried turbot was from a rather small 2.5kg fish and came with fava beans, escargot, sauce of wild garlic and a separate red wine sauce. The sauce and vegetables were good but the turbot had limited flavour and seemed just a touch overcooked. The red wine sauce was quite acidic to boot (barely 13/20). The final savoury course was veal with morels and the same bianchetto truffles as before. The veal came with foie gras cream and white asparagus from France. The asparagus was lovely, the veal arguably a touch overcooked but the sauce and morels were excellent (15/20).
After a meal of pretty classical food it felt strange to have a Scandinavian sweet * (* not sweet at all) of ice on lemon and thyme with cold green tea with elderflower and ginger. Not only did this seem out of context with the rest of the meal, but it didn't work for me at all, the flavours jarring together (11/20). Things got back on track with ginger and white chocolate ice cream with crystallised white chocolate, cream of lemon and bergamot, pieces of pomelo and caramelised almonds and a pretty white chocolate sail. By contrast with the previous dish, here the elements were harmonious, with the acidity of the pomelo a nice foil for the white chocolate (15/20).
The service here was great, with wonderful hospitality from Jan Restorff, a man who knows his wines and has travelled widely to other high-end restaurants. The bill came to SEK 4,170 (£484) a head, but this involved a significant excursion into the middle to upper reaches of the lovely wine list. If you shared a modest bottle then a realistic cost per head might be around £175. This is not cheap for sure, but this is a particularly welcoming and enjoyable restaurant where the customer is very much the emphasis, something not universally true these days in high-end restaurants. I certainly enjoyed myself very much and would happily return.