As Tivoli is closed in Winter so is The Paul. But chef Paul Cunningham wanted to be part of our tour so he opened the restaurant especially for us – quite nice. Normally he is doing lots of catering and in-house private dining events in Winter and seems to get new inspirations for the upcoming summer season.
The Paul is situated Tivoli’s third Glassalen, a kind of pavilion originally designed as a dance hall by architect Paul Henningsen in the 1940s but then opened as a luxury theatre in combination with the restaurant Belle Terrasse. This restaurant was the place to be in Copenhagen for quite some time with classic French cuisine, an enormous wine cellar and lots of celebrities and royalties. In April 2003, Paul Cunningham opened his “The Paul” in this historic gastronomic landmark after being chef de cuisine at Søllerød Kro and formel b among many other positions.
As the restaurant was essentially empty and we were sitting at the Chef’s Table just in front of the kitchen there is not much I can say about the ambiance besides it felt special, almost a bit scary to sit and dine in a sparsely lit restaurant in combination with the red heating lamps at the pass. The whole setting reminded me a bit of eating in a friend’s house that was in midst of refurbishment. For more visual impressions see Trine’s fine review of her visit in September 2007.
As I have not eaten at The Paul before it is hard for me to say whether the dishes we enjoyed are typical of Paul’s cooking. It is clearly more rock’n roll than the refined and elaborated Herman.
As a first dish we were served octopus, læso langoustine within, caviare reduction – rossini. As you can already tell from the picture a difficult dish, quite dense and heavy and for my taste a bit too fatty. The octopus per se was superb and also the stuffing with a local langoustine worked very well. Unfortunately the caviare reduction was too dominant and the cracker on top were too dominating.
For the main we got a German wine from one of my favorite producers in Bühl/Baden, Jakob Duijn. Originally working as a sommelier, Jakob moved to Kappelrodeck in Baden where he got married and somehow bought a small piece of wine yards. Under the mentorship of Bernhard Huber he learned to make brilliant Burgundy-style rich Pinot Noirs and became widely known from the late 90s onward. This Gut Alsenhof is his third wine made out of a wine yard he bought in 2003 – refined, intense but much lighter than the Jannin (second wine) or the SD (first wine) which makes it a perfect dining companion.
The next course was very good: quail coquus with pumpkin. bresse fat. orange, ginger & browned butter. The quail was cooked à point and showed the typical gamey quail taste. Both pumpkin and the orange/ginger/boron butter purée perfumed the quail without dominating it.
All in all, the key challenge here was that we were quite early in the menu and we had asked for light fish or shellfish courses. Thus, the menu dramaturgy was a bit disturbed and left us rather full. Nevertheless, I liked the hospitality of Paul and his sommelier and the distinct character of the Glassalen. Moreover, Paul is a really nice guy with a brilliant sense of humor which will make me return to experience “The Paul” in full.