Amass – New Nordic Sustainability in Copenhagen, Denmark

When people think of New Nordic cuisine, they instantly think of Noma. Noma is without a doubt the most famous name behind this movement, and many chefs who have passed through its kitchen have moved on to run restaurants of their own. Amass is one of those restaurants run by a Noma alum, a chef named Matt Orlando who spent time as sous chef and head chef at Noma. More so than other New Nordic restaurants, however, Amass differentiates itself by focusing on sustainability and food waste. Day old bread and wheat from a brewery all have a place alongside tomatoes and fish on the Amass tasting menu. You can read more about its impressive commitment to sustainability on its website here.

Amass has a more scrappy feel about it compared to other expensive Michelin star restaurants. It is located in this remote industrial neighborhood called Refshaleøen that is far from the center of town. The bus drops you off in front of what looks like abandoned warehouses and in the back of your mind you’re hoping that you’re not stranded here. It’s like being dropped off in Bushwick, far from Manhattan. The dining room is also pretty sparse and feels like you’re eating at a canteen. People were dressed very casually and some families even brought their young kids to the meal, which was probably 3-4 hours long. If you do bring your kids, you probably need a fully charged iPad to get them through this. And remember Amass does not have an a la carte menu, so you’ll have to pay the tasting fee for your child, they can’t just sit down and hang out for free.

In total there were about 11 courses. Some of the dishes were truly very innovative, like the vegan chocolate chip cookie made with wheat and miso at the end. I was blown away by how not a single ounce of milk chocolate was used, yet it tasted so good. There was also this beetroot dish that struck me by how much it tasted like dried leather, I’ve never tasted anything quite like it before. It was not my favorite dish, but it was distinctive. Most dishes had that characteristic “foraged” flavor that I’ve come to expect from New Nordic cuisine, like flagrant flowers and strong herbaceous notes. Amass does have a garden from the back, so I’m sure getting things fresh from the backyard really comes through in the food. There were also some Asian influences coming through, as I could taste shiso, lemongrass and XO sauce in certain things.

My favorite dishes were those that were rich, filling and comforting. The baby courgette, for instance, was covered in an exquisite egg yolk cream that was so satisfying and made me think of a zucchini as a legitimate main dish, not just something on the side. The hake was so buttery and luscious, a good transition piece between summer and the cool days of fall, and I loved the lemongrass noodles. Amass is worth visiting if you are interested in the newer class of New Nordic restaurants. Like I said, it’s scrappy, and you won’t be surrounded by beautiful flowers, candles and linen cloth, but there will be some very creative things that will come across your way that you probably couldn’t see anywhere else. And the oceanside town of Refshaleøen is a vibe, if you can, try to get here a little earlier so you can hang out at the wine bar La Banchina or Lille Bakery before your meal starts. It doesn’t get any more Scandinavian than this.

Amass Restaurant
Refshalevej 153, 1432 København, Denmark
+45 43 58 43 30
Reservations here.