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Press: International design and food at power couple’s new restaurant

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Jesper Boelskifte, the man behind MASH, Umami and Le Sommelier, has gotten together with B&O designer Johannes Torpe to start a new restaurant concept on one of the best addresses in Copenhagen.

Espressos for 15 kr. in the bar, Italian-Japanese inspired quality food at reasonable prices and a big sunny terrace with outdoor service, are some of the ingredients that will ensure guests for both lunch on Tuesdays and dinner in Saturdays in Copenhagen’s new restaurant, which is opening in March. And in a modern international design on one of the best addresses in Copenhagen.

Resterauteur Jesper Boelskifte, the man behind MASH and Umami, and designer Johannes Toppe have big ambitions with their first joined project, which has been seven years in the making, and which right now is taking shape in the new building on Ny Østergade in the centre of Copenhagen – which previously housed a parking lot – and right now they’re working behind closed windows to avoid curious stares. 

A project between friends 

“We have been friends for many years, and have often discussed doing something together. Now we had the opportunity with the perfect location in the centre of Copenhagen. After I closed Umami in St. Kongensgade in 2017, Copenhagen has been missing a restaurant with a design anchored in New York and Tokyo, and which focuses on something other than Nordic cuisine. Diversity is important in a metropolis, and that’s what we’ll be offering in Ny Østergade” says Jesper Boelskifte and continues:

“Johannes Torpe has the international approach, I’ve been missing in our little metropolis. He has a style, which fits in Asia and USA, which I’m excited to offer the Danes. As a typical alpha male, I’m used to having a big say in my own restaurants – also the design, but it has been a pleasure to let go of my need for control a bit, since Johannes and his people are so competent.”

“You could call the style art deco meets Italian design with a hint of Danish and Japanese,” continues Johannes Torpe, who mostly works internationally and has designed resorts and restaurants around the world. Besides working for Danish brands like B&O, Hay and Fredericia Furniture. 

“It’s often hard for Danes to understand our design, but luckily Jesper Boelskifte and I are on the same page,” Torpe explains.

He describes the design concept for the new restaurant as sparkling, and nods, when I ask, if this means champagne and chrome. Boelskifte adds the words Asian sensuality.

“We’re thinking a lot in textiles and natural materials. And light and sound are important. Remember, I’m a musician as well, and care a lot about acoustics,” says Torpe.

Not Michelin 

The ambitions for the restaurant, which hasn’t been named yet and will seat around 100 guests, and where Jesper Boelskifte owns a large share and Johannes Torpe a smaller share – Peter Trauboth from Alchemist and Geranium is the third partner – are big, but not directed towards Michelin stars.

“We have hired a superb Italian chef, but it won’t be fine dining with white table cloths. Quality is implied, and I am a sommelier, so the wines will be great, but we’re setting the price so everyone can visit and many can come by several times a week. Think a mix between Umami and Era Ora but cheaper” says Jesper Boelskifte, and explicitly mentions the popular restaurants Pastis, Victor and Møntergade, which are all in the same area, as their competition.

“The inspiration is Italian restaurants in Limano, where many guests go straight to the bar to drink an espresso for two euros, and then leave again without eating. That’s how the natural flow at our restaurant should be as well, and I’ll often be making the coffee myself”, Boelskifte explains.

“The new restaurant is a dream that I’ve been perfecting for seven years. I’m so excited to see it thrive.”

Translated version of article Af Michael Solgaard brought in Børsen 8/12/2021.