Copenhagen Treasures: Dinner at Llama
Initially when entering, Llama greets you with its impressive interior, that you can’t find anywhere else. Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG Group) was involved when designing the floor and is made of tiles in hot-tempered Mexican Latino colors. Other developers of the amazing concept include a small number of people from Cofoco, as well as a cultural entrepreneur from Hz. The restaurant is 700 m2 big, seats 180 guests, and is equipped with a DJ, who, however, doesn’t play too loudly so it doesn’t complicate conversations. As it is located just below street level, it quickly displays how a dark basement has been transformed into an atmosphere similar to a charming night club. Apart from the colorful tiles, which are specially imported from South America, glowing light bulbs hang down above the glossy wooden tables and create golden reflexes of light, counteracting the darkness of the basement.
Llama is pronounced ʎama, and can mean a number of things. The best translation is “to be called something”. But it can also mean flame and maybe more obvious: lama, which most non-Spanish speakers would be inclined to say. The spitting lama is in fact the national animal of Bolivia.
The South American kitchen is currently hotter than hot, which is why Llama is renewing a number of previous concepts. The food is pan-Latin American, and therefore, rather than serving merely authentic regional courses, the kitchen is inspired by various South American countries, mostly Peru and Mexico which have the strongest culinary cultures, but also Lima, Bolivia, Uruguay, Equador, and Chile, while still adding and respecting a few modern European techniques and ingredients. Obviously, we should not forget the cocktail menu, which is original, yet long and naturally revolves around pisco, tequila and mescal.
The restaurant recently started focusing on smaller shared dishes and snacks, creating an intimate food culture. Therefore, my companion and I started the evening out with a few excellent snacks. Among the snacks were two spears of padron pepper with miso yoghurt, as well as Mexican quesadillas with salsa criolla and cilantro. But the best of the snacks must be the spears of ox heart with chili crème cheese. The meat was cut paper thin, and grilled to a slightly crispy consistency and topped with a very good dressing of cream cheese touched with chili.
Expectations were thus set high, but nevertheless, we were not disappointed by the next serving, which in its simple, yet significant visuality, was exquisite. We were served a guinea fowl with creamy corn porridge, corn chips and smoked cheddar.
Llama understands the core of the flavor combinations that appear in the Latin American kitchen, the combination of sweet, sour and spicy.
Latin America is the home of the chocolate, so the first dessert was a chocolate cake and cream with cocoa sorbet and chili. It had a perfect airy consistency with a strong taste of chocolate and a stimulating aftertaste of chili. Additionally we got a corn ice cream with butterscotch, popcorn and crumble, better known by the Americans as comfort food due to the combination of burned and butter prepared aromas, that is the combination of fat or grease and sugar. Generally a very sweet and probably also very sinful dessert.
Finally, a wonderful evening at Llama had come to an end, and the restaurant is without a doubt a place that must be visited. The place is innovative, which is often missing in Copenhagen, the food is delicious and interesting, the wine is good, and the service as well as price/quality-relationship was top notch. So when you return from exchange and miss the international food combinations as well as an innovative interior, you won’t have to look anymore.
Where: Lille Kongensgade 14, Phone: 89936687
Prices (avg): Main course: 135 kr., wine: 250 kr., menu: 400 kr.