When noma, one of the best restaurants in the world, anoints a newly-opened spot its “little sister,” it’s probably worth checking out. We met with head chef Kristian Baumann a few days into the 108’s opening; he was surprisingly calm for someone who was running one of the most talked-about restaurants in a city full of talked-about restaurants.
“We’ve been busy,” he admits in hilarious understatement, “But we’ve been working on this for so long it feels natural.”
Though 108’s success has been immediate, the path there is long. Kristian trained in both Nordic and French kitchens, becoming sous chef at Relæ alongside Copenhagen super-chef and restauranteur Christian Puglisi (also owner of Manfred’s, Bæst and Mirabelle). In 2013 he left to pursue the dream of opening of his own place. Rene Redzepi, owner of noma, was looking to open another space but not to run the restaurant himself, and the two came up with a concept together.
Kristian then went back to noma for a year to work through the stations and begin the planning process. “We mapped out everything from the menu to the interior. Every aspect, like the cutlery and the napkins, was planned.”
As for the food, Kristian wanted to stay true to the New Nordic kitchen while bringing his own interpretation. “I wanted to showcase what I cook for myself,” Kristian explains. Born in South Korea and raised in Denmark, Kristian experienced both food cultures.
“The Nordic kitchen is about very pure flavors, which I love and respect, but I also wanted to include spice. We ended up building 108 on three pillars: a collaboration with local farm Aarstiderne, foraging and fermentation.” Choose from dishes like caramelised milk skin with pork belly, cress, and wasabina (180 DKK) or grilled courgette with hay cheese and blackcurrant leaf oil (145 DKK).
Though 108 draws heavily from the noma and New Nordic traditions, there are a few clear distinctions. First: price. Noma is both notoriously delicious and notoriously expensive. It’s not the kind of place that most of us find accessible, even for a special occasion. 108, on the other hand, is far more casual. Reservations are encouraged, but there is a communal table set aside for walk-ins, and you can always stop in for a drink or small bite at the bar. Dishes start as low as 85 DKK and you can choose from an a la carte or family-style menu. “Our customers create they experience the want. We just make the food!” Kristian says.
If you don’t have time for a sit-down meal, there’s The Corner, a small cafe attached to the side of 108. There, you can get coffee and home-baked pastries in the morning and wine from the afternoon.
So what are you waiting for? This is a gourmet experience where you walk away with neither an empty wallet nor stomach.
1401 København K
Restaurant Opening Hours:
Mon & Tues Closed
Weds – Sun 5:00 pm – Midnight
The Corner Opening Hours
Mon & Tues 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Weds – Fri 7:00 am – Midnight
Sat & Sun 9:00 am – Midnight
Have you tried 108 yet? Tell us about it in the comments!