From the White Guide Nordic 2018:
- Address: Frederiksgade 74, 8000 Aarhus
- Phone: +45 86 23 04 01
- Web: restaurantsubstans.dk
- Seats: 40
Relaxed fine Nordic dining
The large windows facing out towards Frederiksgade, the somewhat dilapidated, glossy white-painted floors and the raw oak tables scream bistro, and leather aprons on the waiters, tattoos and long beards play into this style, but the food is exceptionally beyond everyday bistro. We are addressed in a relaxed tone, feel that we are being attentively served, and the presentations are precise with an appropriate degree of detail. The wine list has an affinity for the low-sulphered styles, but with varying degrees of success. We start with finger food in the form of small, soft and chewy Danish tacos with an elegant crab salad, while a small crustade with lumpfish roe gives us a taste of the kitchen’s generally delicate style, with its ultra-light flavours. On the other hand, a brilliantly crisp, precise and tender malted dough quiche with mussels, raw pickled cucumber cubes and kohlrabi packs powerful flavour, but is unfortunately dominated by a cream of smoked fresh cheese. However, Domaine Rietsch’s auxerrois 2015, with its slightly bitter and umami-saturated fullness, tempers the smoke and the two work nicely together. Dry-aged beef (103 days) is featured in the next dish, cut into raw bright-red flakes, over a kind of tartare of cauliflower and Havgus cheese, with a topping of French sorrel. The deep flavours of the dish harken back to the Stone Age, but the acidity is too weak; meanwhile, it’s impossible to determine whether Les Parcelles Tète Nat was chosen because the dish originally had acidity, or due to the sommelier’s wishful thinking. There is no bread with the food, but the bread arrives as its own dish, fried and oil-drenched with powerful flavours and accompanied by a fresh, spring-inspired relish of veg and almonds. It’s light-hearted, delicious and much-needed at this point. Our sommelier demonstrates keenness in the choice of Hervé Villemades Les Souchettes 2015 from Cheverny, a wine with extreme malolactic character; it’s paired with the last season’s Gråsten apples, slow-baked for amplified flavour and topped with caviar of white sturgeon and a divine reduced buttermilk with browned butter. Underneath it all is a relish of pickled fermented beach plants. It’s a memorable, inventive and ingenious dish showcasing fundamental culinary elements in synergy: crunch, softness, creaminess, sweetness, acidity and umami. Two meat dishes – one with sweetbreads and celeriac ragout, and the other with grilled, braised pork breast – demonstrate the same brilliant simplicity, including a sauce of chicken stock and walnut, where the bitter and nearly caramelised sweetness of the walnut support bitter varieties of cabbage on top of the pork. The Jerusalem artichoke caramel with a coconut-like flavour, served with pear cubes and sweet woodruff, is in the same harmonious zenith as the apple-caviar dish. All in all, an adroitly executed orchestration of contrasts...
To read the whole review go to Buy The White Guide Nordic 2018.