Læsø is a Danish island famed for its wonderful salt and is an hour and a half ferry ride from Fredrikshaven, at the North East tip of Denmark. This restaurant is probably the prized gem of the island of Læsø and a very lucky cancellation afforded us a table at VesterØL. The kitchen is run by both husband Thomas Wetle Anderson and wife Camille, providing dinner service only, 6 days a week and with menus changing weekly and written on a single sheet of paper. I saw perfectly why this was so popular at the end of the meal and if you are lucky enough to gain a seat at this unpretentious and utterly honest harbour-side restaurant that looks like an interior of a fisherman’s galley, you will be a very lucky diner.
The menu is a set 4-course dinner at 495 Danish Krone (DK) which is approximately £56. Additional 3 or 4 glass wine pairings are available at an extra 295DK (£33) or 325DK (£37) respectively. Wine is natural and unfiltered, just as the Vikings used to have and not knowing the choices very well, we thought the best thing was to simply try the additional four glasses of wine to see what the score was. Details of the wine were sketchy to gain, but In short, the wines were:
- 1st wine Chilliean Muscat
- 2nd wine Silvana from Germany
- 3rd wine Sancerre
- 4th wine Chenin Blanc
Incidentally, the island of Læsø is famed for its salt thanks to the routine floods it receives from the sea every year which are then filtered by the soil and sourced through wells. Vester is Western and Øl is beer and for design reasons the ‘beer’ is capitalised for the restaurant name to be different.
The meal started with nibbles of fermented seeds, fermented carrots, juniper and a duck snack. Although these were a touch salty, they were pleasant snacks to open up with. More snacks followed with tartare of beef, with savoy cabbage and pepper root, which was fair, but essentially had more leaf than beef. A Spring roll with fermented cabbage, roasted garlic and curry was the absolute winner with its garlic dip on the side.
Whitebait came with panko dried and roasted buttercream, tomato dust and fermented seeds. The sauce was a redcurrant sauce with lemon verbena & grape, chicken skin and snow crab which was very good. The oat bread was nice but very plain so more salt in the butter would have been a good uplift here.
New fresh potatoes from Laesoe were sautéed in miso, potato purée, salted speck, sunflower seeds, parsley, pearl onions, clams, sauce of clams and cheese aged in hay. This was a good combination when tried altogether and the potatoes themselves creating a lovely puree which was well made (velvety smooth and with good fat ratio).
Catfish from north of Laesoe was wrapped in lard and served with a frankly knock out couple of sauces. Once sauce was creamed and made with caramelised bone with milk powder & another a reduction of plums and onions. The new peas were marinated in avocado sauce and sea fennel and this dish was the star of the meal. The catfish itself was wonderfully succulent and the compliments of sauces were brilliant. Bravo Thomas.
The sweet was a cream cookie crumble with fermented cube of ice with beer and chocolate candy floss. This was perhaps a little too sweet overall, but hats off for the innovative design. Prior to this final course, there was a spectacular sunset to admire which a couple of us non-native islanders had to have a good look at. Because it is such a beautiful location in general and so simple I have included more photos than usual of the area.
They do in fact sum up what this experience as like – utterly charming and a little treat of a place. I loved the way the chef and his staff were very good with customers, easy and natural to talk to and no pretence associated with the meal in general. Many of the islanders came to sit at the quayside just outside the restaurant to admire the sunset too and the garden area outside the restaurant also has a lovely fireplace for everyone to gather around at with drinks whenever they wish.
What a superb restaurant and lovely dinner experience all round, heightened by the company and occasion that it was.
Food Grade: 83%
Location (Click google logo for directions)