Ahead of the opening, the team behind the Northern Quarter’s new dining spot went to Copenhagen for a bit of research into the Nordic way of life.
The Northern Quarter’s new neighbourhood bar & kitchen will boast 3 floors of food and drink informed by seasonality, quality and providence – ideals that the venues of Copenhagen have followed for years.
Therefore, the team behind Wilderness took a trip to the city, looking to uncover its vast array of culinary treasures, and take inspiration from the Nordic footprint that’s been successfully stamped upon all sorts of cuisine.
Any visit to Copenhagen will uncover streets that are packed with stalls, cafes and fine-dining establishments; truly creating a food lover’s dream spot.
The city has become the capital of food innovation, particularly influenced by the opening of NOMA – waving goodbye to the days of stinking pickled fish!
Within a few years of opening in 2003, NOMA caught the eye of the global food elite – landing the top spot of the World’s Best Restaurant a whopping 4 times!
In addition, the city alone has more Michelin stars than some of the foodie-est places in the world, helped in part by The New Nordic Food Manifesto formulated in 2004 to provide a truly innovating approach to food.
The Manifesto looked to highlight the importance of ethical production and purity and to make menus truly reflective of the changing seasons.
It’s this Manifesto which forms the basis of what many of Copenhagen’s most successful restaurants are all about, and something the team from Wilderness were looking to explore and influence just how they did things back in Manchester.
Home to some of the most talked-about restaurants in the world, the team were lucky enough to get a seat at the Chef’s table at Relae, part of a school of restaurants that share their chefs across all sites. In this way, chefs are kept invigorated, on their toes and open to new ideas.
Another major aspect of the Relae brand is their farm, something that enables them to be completely organic, sustainable and adaptable to the way they cook throughout the year.
There’s a very specific ethos surrounding products and ingredients while in Copenhagen – values that helped inspire the Head Chef at Wilderness. Taking a back-to-basic approach, the traditional methods have inspired Wilderness to keep their menu even more simple than they’d originally thought.
Onto drinks and a visit to the world-class Ruby was a MUST. A cocktail bar that has survived primarily through the quality of their cocktails and word-of-mouth – Ruby like to do things the ‘Ruby Way’ from how you are greeted to how cocktails are made. The cocktails are simply to die for.
Following the success of NOMA, they’ve re-imagined the Nordic experience – dusting off traditional (and forgotten) Nordic Spirits and finding new ways to make cocktails with them. And yet, possibly the most unique thing about the bar is the surroundings – it’s homely and like most places in Copenhagen – completely without pretension.
Similarly, a visit to the impressive Empirical Spirits uncovered a institutionalised climate of innovation – one that valued experimentation and forward thinking when it came to discovering new spirits and drinks.
From cuisine to cocktails, Copenhagen inspires a drive for quality and effortless dining experiences that Wilderness has brought to none other than the NQ.
Wilderness 30-32, Thomas St, Manchester M4 1ER