Kong Hans gets every inch of its 2 stars. Traditional French cooking at a very high level, with some super creative flavors and deliveries.
The tone is set the minute you enter. Greeted by a welcoming and formal host who brings you by the kitchen. Even single chef stopped what they were doing and took a few steps towards me to say hello and welcome me in. As we moved towards the table, another server was already stationed behind the chair anticipating my arrival. Things like this always impress because they only happen with clear intention and planning.
There were some odd and head-scratching service errors. In my first 20 minutes, silverware was dropped by servers in two separate instances, and a server struggled to put a cutting board on a stand - it kept falling through. Later on, what sounded like a sheet tray clanged to the ground in the kitchen. Strange missteps for a restaurant clearly on the higher end of service.
About half way through the meal, my still water was replaced with sparkling. (A regular miss, I'm finding.) I never point out the error. "I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind replacing my sparkling water for still." But even as I did that, the server didn't catch that it was their error, coming back with still water and quizically asking "You would like to continue with still water, then?" Another odd oversight for such a buttoned up restaurant.
The food was classic French, which as I get older, means "Oh my word, please stop bringing me more food!" It was all delicious, mind you. There is just so much of it! And it's heavy and rich. They have a cheese cart option and, aside from the fact that I had been awake for 30 straight hours at this point, there was no way I would ever have been able to get a cheese course into myself.
I can't fault a single dish. The cooking was extraordinary. A few plates really sung though. The new potato dish with beurre blanc, herbs and caviar was truly special. ("It's my favorite dish here" crooned the server.) And the strong eastern spiced jus that paired with the pigeon wellington (and traditional cherry/honey sweetness) was spectacular in both vision and execution. That dish made you sit up and take notice.
Overall, the sauces were the standout. Tight, bright lemony beurre blanc. Rich soy/ginger emulsion. Saffron and cockle foam. Each one was better than the next.
In traditional French fashion, the desserts overwhelmed. As stuffed as you are, they heap a dizzying amount of sweets in your direction as if to say "We don't care that you're full. Here is WAY more..." It was glorious. They were all stellar, made by a California pastry chef who came from Manresa. She and I had a fun chat about our experiences there and she bolstered my decision to return for a 2nd visit in a few months.
If you enjoy high end French cuisine, Kong Hans in your place. Perhaps because I'm getting older, but I'm finding I enjoy a "less is more" approach to my meals. But that's just me. (If so, don't go to a French place, right? :) )
Solid 2 stars. A very worthy visit if you are in Copenhagen.
Replying to Steven Smith