Ruth has been in our minds for many years, in thoughts from long distance as well as closely in real life. We have strolled by. We have tried to visit. However, it was not until this year, during Skagen’s Blue September, that it became a reality. And we, we got enchanted.
Now Ruth is not a woman, but the last name of the family that 110 years ago opened the “Badepensionatet Vesterhus” in Gl. Skagen, the Old Skagen, in Denmark. Today the establishment carries the name Ruths Hotel and comprise several beautiful houses, huddling just behind the dunes, a short distance from the tremendously long beach on the northern tip of Jylland.
Old Skagen is flat, wrapped in sand and dunes. The calm reigns. Holiday houses and hotels. Most houses are plastered in yellow with red tiled roofs, characteristic with their white stripes of cement keeping ridge and border tiles in place.
The big black navigation mark watches over the village, a given spot to visit, before or after the beach walk, where attention is caught by loads of beautifully formed round stones and the hope to find precious amber.
In August 2013 the Swedish business magazine DI Weekend gave Ruths Hotel the maximum score in their hotel top list followed by the heading “five star hit between two seas”. At the same time as we gnashed our teeth (well, it was “our” pearl, that we wanted to explore by ourselves), we became more informed and got the full picture. There, on the other side of the Kattegatt sea, waited not just a cosy atmosphere, but also a remarkable experience in the gourmet restaurant. Luckily for us we have energetic friends, but even so there was a couple of attempts before calendars eventually were synchronised with each other, with rooms and with the very limited number of seats in the restaurant.
Ruths has two restaurants; a more “simple” brasserie with French focus, and then our target for the evening, the restaurant named “Ruths Gourmet v/Malling & Schmidt”.
There was a little bit of excitement involved in the visit. Since DI’s critique a new face had assumed the responsibility of Ruths’ kitchen, Thorsten Schmidt. We were however not a bit worried. Thorsten’s CV within the higher cuisine is dazzling.
We opt for the five course menu, which turnes out to be ten when we count all extra servings, and to drink the recommended wine package. A choice that turns out to be very good. The wines pair beautifully with the food. And the food? One word is enough. Excellent.
We only have one single objection and that concerns the dessert wine. Lovely in itself, but we perceive it a bit too sweet in combination with the presentation on the plate. Some other wine selection is slightly surprising, but is perfectly understood when the course arrives to the table. We cannot wish for more.
Some wines we remember a little extra. First the champagne A. Robert Brut with its distinct minerality. From Les Vins des Viennes, Sotanum 2008, Syrah precisely as we like it: dark berries, meaty and some peppery notes. And the grand treat of the night, a delicous Beaujolais Village, superbly balanced, light and at the same time packed with a spectrum of beautiful berry flavours, from Julien Sunier; Raisins Sauvages 2010.
The overall experience of food and wine combined is exceptional, perfected by the relaxed and attentive service. The pace is calm, yet five hours pass quickly. A dream, a exquisite experience.
Ruths is just as cozy as we had imagined. The village is pleasantly quiet. But even so time runs too fast. We take a couple of walks on the beach. Would have liked them to be longer. We sleep very good in our beautiful room in “Strandhotellet”. Would have liked to spend some more time there, just relaxing. The wellness center, with its tropically heated pool, we just watch it from distance. The brasserie, it is still to be explored.
After a hectic summer we want more time to just be. So the words we write in the guest book are actually a promise to ourselves;
“We will be back.”
Thanks N and R for a wonderful experience together!
This is a translation of “Middag med Ruth“, originally posted 25 September 2014 on my Swedish blog Ljuva Druvor.