In the restaurant industry, sundays are somewhat sacred. Working through blood sweat and tears to satisfy the cravings of the cosmopolitan belly, restaurant-folk use the colloquially-named sunday-funday as a chance to treat themselves with good food and wine. Most restaurants close on sundays, so industry nights in various locations are not an uncommon sight, and especially home-cooking sessions takes on an almost symposium-like atmosphere. In a pot-luck fashion, participants bring their most cherished indulgences to the table. Every participant usually brings a bottle of wine or even a bottle of booze to boot. Needless to say, a lot of hospitality workers have an astounding hangover come monday, which is also the day that restaurant workers go into low-profile hibernation to combat the pangs of dehydration and the dizzying-headache. Yet, come every sunday, one rarely hesitates to join in the fun yet again.
Yesterday, I was invited to what can be described as a quintessential Sunday-funday gathering. Industry folks from some of Copenhagen’s premier establishments. Tonight’s guests include two bartenders, a well-groomed and bearded Finn with an affinity for Gin, Whitney Houston and Oak-aged chardonnay. The second is a Danish bartender, the host of the evening, is a man with a strong love for superhero characters, calvados and austere tannic wines. In the midst are also a pair of nightclub hostesses and a Norwegian waiter who specializes in nature wine.
We shop for a significant range in wines, commencing with elegant white burgundy and a gorgeous Orange-macerated wine from Spain. The joyous finn begins to eagerly experiment with the fruit of our labours. After having pressed and drained the cucumber waters used for the evenings tzatziki, the finn immediately begins to toy around with a range of aromatic gins and spices. He eventually creates a concoction that tasted wonderful, albeit looking strikingly much like detergent visually.
Even off the clock, these passionate spirit gurus will seize every opportunity to garner inspiration for future projects. Important to remember that bartenders use ample time off ours, experimenting to suit the trends, tastes and newcomers of the market. Cocktail menus are often seasonal and meticulously constructed by the artists behind the speed rail. I encourage people to allow themselves to stray away from the classics, allowing the originality to flow. On tonight’s menu is a slow roasted leg of lamb with aromatic herbs, sweet potatoes and a calvados-spiked chanterelle sauce. Yet, I would rather put emphasis on tonight’s starter which is a pan seared japanese scallop dish. My favourite fruit is mango, and I chose this opportunity to match it up against one of the true fruits of the sea, scallop.
- 2-3 japanese scallops (the bigger the better)
- One ripe mango
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
- 2-3 tbsp Greek Yogurt
- 3 dash angostura bitters
- Pea Shoots for garnish
- root vegetable chips (preferably home-made)
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 20 gr Butter
- 200 ml Orange macerated wine
- Blend the mango, olive oil sriracha, greek yogurt, lemon juice, angostura bitters, half a fresh chilli to a purée. thicken with a bit of cornstarch
- Add the butter and oil to a heavy skillet on high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Once the sizzle dissipates, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Use a pair of tongs. 1 ½ minute on each side.
- Once cooked, remove the scallops and deglaze the pan with 200ml of the orange macerated wine.
- Plate them on a bed of the mango purée, doused with the pan reduction and decorated with the root vegetable chips and pea shoots.
- Serve it immediately
The dish was thankfully warmly received and we continued our funday with copious amounts of wine, including some mouthwatering Méncia from Bierzo, a Spanish varietal that hardly gets the recognition it deserves. We also played a range of drinking games, hammered gin shots, and rolled a shopping cart around in the living room. Surprisingly we also had the energy to hit the select few places open on a Copenhagen sunday. My favourite day of the week.