Studio at the Standard

Havnegade 44,

1058 København, Denmark

Tel. +45 72 14 88 08

BY IAN D'AGATA | MAY 24, 2019

The Food:

Veal tartare, ramsons, bonito

Sorrel, fermented crème fraîche, dried caviar

Grilled heart, sorrel, jalapeño

Churro, cheese, truffle

Scallop ceviche, apple, coriander

Squid, gooseberries, kaffir lime

Lobster, passion fruit, chili

Rabbit, celeriac, hazelnut

Lamb, ricotta, peas

Blood orange, bay leaf, olive

Almond, cep, balsamic vinegar

The Wines:

NV Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Cuvée de Réserve    92
2014 Thomas Haag Riesling Kabinett 92
2017 Meinklang Harslevelü Somiò 92
2015 Burn Cottage Pinot Noir Moonlight Race 90
2015  Pittnauer St.Laurent  Dorflagen 89
2017 Domaine de la Butte Bourgueil 91
2018 Seehof Westhofen Auslese Rheinhessen 93
2010 Chateau Piada Barsac 90

Some restaurants ought to be taken as a template by all those wishing to open up their own kitchen. Studio at the Standard is one such place, where the food, wine, decor and service are just about as on the spot as you could expect them to be. The very trendy, hip, modernist-looking upstairs dining room is spacious and bright, not to mention always packed (there’s another, more easy-going, less expensive dining alternative on the ground floor). Yet the food and wines arrive in fairly prompt fashion, the perfectly coordinated team of chefs and sous-chefs in the open kitchen working well with the young, friendly and competent dining room staff. The wine service is just as commendable; quiet, unobtrusive sommeliers know what they’re doing and talking about, and are also quick and efficient at their jobs. Factor in the beautiful, refined location with bay windows overlooking the water and surrounding the well-behaved, happy dining patrons at 180 degrees, and it all adds up to a wonderful combination of magical setting, great cuisine and wines, and smooth, professional service.

Churro, cheese, truffle

On this night I chose the tasting menu, and it offered one interesting sequence of dishes after another. I wouldn’t venture so far as to say that each and every dish was especially noteworthy, and some actually didn’t strike me as being all that memorable. For example, the large amount of crème fraîche overwhelmed the sorrel and fermented crème fraîche appetizer, and the dried caviar only added salt and not much else to a generally so-so dish. But that was really the only creation that left me nonplussed; everything else was quite fine and at times stellar, starting with the churro married to an exceptionally fragrant black truffle (fragrance not exactly being a strong suit of most black truffles served in the world today, many of which are not the more perfumed Tuber melanosporum but other species of similar-looking but lower-quality black truffles). The best dishes of the night were the three fish entrées, especially the lobster, where the kaffir lime sang a tune of delightful perfume, lift and precision. I will also mention the last dessert, the combination of almond, cep, and balsamic vinegar, which was pure joy. I normally shy away from such rich concoctions at a meal’s close, finding they tend to weigh down already long and heavy tasting menus. But this dessert’s flavor juxtapositions, and its concentration and nuances, worked extremely well together and had me digging in.

Scallop ceviche, apple, coriander

Thanks to the finely tuned service by sommeliers Lau Christian Thorne and Sachim Shaddy, assisted by young and enthusiastic Chiara Angioi, who was very knowledgeable about the restaurant’s wine list and producers (always a commendable sign in someone just starting her sommelier career), the wine flowed smoothly and effortlessly all night long. Choices, both very famous and little-known, abound on the wine list, where Krug, DRC, Soldera and Ramonet share quarters with other wines made from little-known varieties. As always when I encounter such a treasure trove of outstanding potables, I look for under-the-radar stuff that might prove interesting. And so it was this time. I kicked things off with the always delectable NV Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Cuvée de Réserve, which is about as good as any aperitif worth having. Precise and penetrating, showing sneaky concentration and depth to its white stone and orchard fruit, it makes a piercing, lifted start to a meal and actually matched more or less perfectly with the first three courses. An absolute winner is the delightful 2014 Thomas Haag Riesling Kabinett, surprisingly unctuous and rich but with enough acidity to make it seem less rich and sweet than it really is. The honeyed and lemony aromas and flavors were perfect with the ceviche, and turned the squid and lobster dishes into more earthy, savory-accented dishes. Actually, the 2017 Meinklang Harslevelü Somiò proved an even better match with these two courses, the harmonious acid lift of both wine and food being heightened by this very successful pairing. The Harslevelü became deeper and fruitier when tasted along with the lobster (by itself, the wine was a touch too steely and austere).

Rabbit, celeriac, hazelnut

The 2015 Burn Cottage Pinot Noir Moonlight Race from Central Otago and the 2015 Pittnauer St. Laurent Dorflagen were polar opposites in taste: dainty and delicate the former, dense and savory the latter. On their own, there is no contest, as the Pinot Noir is delightful, brimming with juicy nuanced sour red cherry and berry fruit flavors lifted by a welcome floral top note. By contrast, the St. Laurent is denser and thicker on the palate, but finishes just a little too bitter and overly herbal, at least on its own. But the magic of food and wine pairing is such that matched with the rabbit dish, the St. Laurent actually performs better than the Pinot Noir, as it develops into a smoother, more balanced and no longer bitter quaff, while the delicate Pinot Noir ends up overwhelmed by the dish’s strong flavors. But someone else might feel differently; both wines were in fact fine matches with the two meat dishes. In the ultimate analysis, the red wine that probably paired best with the lamb dish was the 2017 Domaine de la Butte Bourgueil. Leafy and pungent on its own, with a considerable dose of greenness lashing out at every sip, it morphed into a suave, rich, red-fruit-accented drink when tasted along with the lamb and ricotta dish.

Lamb, ricotta, peas

I closed things out with what turned out to be the two best, or perhaps most enjoyable, wines of the night. First came the rich and very sweet yet wonderfully light-on-its-feet 2018 Seehof Westhofen Auslese Rheinhessen, an ode to what all Auslese ought to be: hints of noble rot, lemon and peach galore, a solid dose of honey to sweeten and smooth things out, and interminable length. By comparison, the 100% Sémillon 2010 Chateau Piada Barsac was positively thick and dense, but harmonious and possessed of sneaky complexity provided by noble-rot-affected Sémillon grapes – a grape/fungus partnership made in heaven. I cannot stress enough how many great wines with strong percentages of Sémillon emerge from Sauternes, Barsac, Cadillac, Saussignac and the other denominations of this specific part of Bordeaux, which is not only a land of exceptional beauty but also a true sweet wine heaven for all those so inclined. 

At evening’s end, after all that food and wine, I admit to staggering out of the restaurant feeling as if I had overdone it; in fact, I remember realizing much the same thing as my meal was moving along, but it was all so good, I just couldn’t stop myself.

And there’s the rub. Unfortunately, things are a-changin’ at the Studio, with acting head chef (though still officially only sous-chef) Max Osborne leaving to return to his native Great Britain, where he is interviewing for the­ head chef position at least one noteworthy dining address. Happily, the rest of the cooking team, including acting sous-chefs Francesco Mascellari (who has trained in multi-award-winning spots such as Casa Perbellini in Verona and Udine’s Agli Amici) and Benjamin Hurley are staying on to give some continuity when new head chef Alan Bates arrives. I guess this means I’ll have to come back in a few months to try the new menu and meet the new ringleader. Yes, mine really is a dirty and difficult job, but you know, somebody’s gotta do it.