‘We don’t cook for Instagram’
TEXT: SIGNE HANSEN | PHOTO © RESTAURATIONEN
Restaurationen in Copenhagen does not serve Nordic food – it serves Danish food. However, what drives Lisbeth and Bo Jacobsen, the couple behind the brasserie, is not an urge to go against the flow, but rather to remain true to what they have been doing for the last 28 years.
Talking to 61-year-old Bo Jacobsen, there is no doubt that this is a man who does things the way he wants to. From the choice to have real porcelain instead of what he calls “noisy” stoneware on the tables, to his reverence for the traditional Danish cuisine and his weariness with “menus of 15 bite-sized courses made for Instagram”, Jacobsen knows what he likes and does not like. “We have our own style and opinion, and it does not matter what the current trends might have to say about that,” he states. “The Danish kitchen has a huge and very rich history but, unfortunately, it’s very much gone to waste lately – I haven’t seen a new restaurant with traditional Danish cuisine in Copenhagen for the last 15 years.”
Despite the two owners’ choice not to jump heedlessly onto new food trends, Bo and Lisbeth Jacobsen have in recent years found that some of their long-revered principles have come back into fashion. Since its foundation in 1991, Restaurationen has been centred on traditional values of sustainability, including the use of local, seasonal and, when feasible, organic products. Besides, the menu includes around 70 per cent seafood. But despite sharing these characteristics with much of the New Nordic cuisine, Restaurationen is not, and never will be, a New Nordic restaurant. “The New Nordic kitchen is great, but it’s not Danish. It’s a construction that includes half of Europe – but Stavanger is far away from us,” says Jacobsen. “It’s funny, really, because by sticking to doing what we’ve always done, we’ve suddenly become the ones who are doing something different. But we are very lucky too that our guests have always been very happy with what they get.”