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I was advised to go to Henne by Mrs K who knows a thing or two about these things and she couldn’t have given me a better recommendation for my 50th birthday celebrations. I so wanted it to be as good as I had hoped and it was that and so much more.

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We drove west of Copenhagen over bridges, through fields and across waters and finally when there was almost nowhere else to go as we had crossed the Jutland and arrived at Henne Kirkeby Kro.

 

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From the moment we arrived there was a warm feeling of being somewhere very special. Even the weather cheered up for our arrival. This 200 year old former coaching inn now boasts a Michelin starred restaurant, newly designed hotel rooms but much much more than this is the team who work there who, for one moment in time, bring you into the bosom of their family. The resultant experience is one that is hard to articulate and very hard to forget.

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Chef Paul Cunningham may have been on holiday that week but his presence and inspiration is ever present. He left his Copenhagen restaurant to come here and you can understand why. The grounds boast the biggest kitchen garden in the country and they really do live the field to fork ethos here – not because this is a concept or a marketing tool but rather that it is the only right way to approach food. The fish comes out of the sea which is minutes away and so it is fresher, sweeter, tastier than any fish you will ever try. The meat comes from uber local farms. We shared lunch with the lady who makes all their sausages and then there is the bacon…. words really can’t describe this treat.

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On arrival we took the opportunity to discover the gardens ourselves. Every nook and cranny had something to discover and whilst it wasn’t an abundant time of year, there was so much to see. Someone had a sense of humour and style with so many little touches. We were given tea, cake, a nose into the various rooms that make up the dining room and an introduction to the evening, chatting to Staffordshire born chef Paul P and the most fabulous and wonderful restaurant manager, Jann Olesen.

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After a brief trip to the beach front sunset and a shower to beat all showers, we were ready to be ushered to our room for dinner. We were seated at the table adjacent to the kitchen and welcomed with the noise of REM coming from the kitchen and a lovely natural bowl of flowers and fruits from the estate. We knew we were in for something memorable.

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Bread and Butter the Henne way

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How to describe the food? Well this was cooking at its classical best with superb ingredients and wonderful wines. From the first appetisers and the presentation of the bread and butter, made from a sourdough called Helena named after Helena Christiansen, we knew we were in the hands of a team who were doing things differently. Each course came with care out of a joyous kitchen and if you can genuinely taste the emotion that goes into a dish, then this was love.

Jann made the evening so very special

Jann made the evening so very special

But what made this so much more than all the best meals you have had is the service that came with it. Jann is the best. He finds just the right balance of familiarity, information, fun and professionalism. He is interested and interesting. A huge asset to this team and to the restaurant world. Two or three stars must be imminent.

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A peak into the kitchen workings

At the end of the service we saw the Head Chef hugging his team and thanking them for their hard work. This was leadership in a different way to most kitchens and one he says brings the best out of everyone. Most stay on the estate itself and through this you have a camaraderie that pervades everything. The young teams of the future grow up here and will undoubtedly go on to fabulous things.

Cup of tea anyone?

Cup of tea anyone?

Our wonderful final waiter even went out into the freezing garden at well gone midnight to bring us mint and lemon verbena for a final digestif. We needed it!

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And just hours later, still fuller than full from dinner, we faced breakfast. What a feast. Again the table was set with all things natural from the garden and the usual understated Danish set up that we had come to recognise. Food was simple but fab. That bacon, those sausages, home made yogurt, fruit, breads, eggs done every single way you could imagine, honey from the hives we saw yesterday, jam from the fruits of the trees. Everything was treated with a light touch and a proud heart. How could we refuse.

Fish n Chip Friday!

Fish n Chip Friday!

Rolling out of our rooms and getting ready to leave, we were sat in the lounge when we were presented with gifts. Jars of jam, honey, vac pack loaves of bread from last night. And just when we thought we were ready to go we were once again ushered into our dining room by Jann because, we were told, it was Fish n Chip Friday!! Aarghh. How could we squeeze in a wafer thin mint least of all fish and chips. Dreading the thought that we would have to be rude and refuse this, we waited and chatted to chef who was there doing his orders and switching from his black country British twang to fluent Danish. He told us that through being part of the Henne family he had become a better version of himself and what more can one say than that?

Fish and chips, by the way, were so good that we scoffed the lot.

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