We were impressed with Mother even before they opened. They were busy on their Facebook page, posting pics and videos of the refit of their place in Kødbyen, and updating regularly on the opening date. But it was the pictures of their enormous wood-fired oven that really piqued our interest.
On Facebook and in their first press interviews, the guys at Mother sounded humble and came across as genuinely excited about getting down to business, despite the stresses of trying to get everything ready in time. When they did open, a week later than hoped, scores of hungry Copenhageners flooded in for free slices and a glass of bubbly.
Their philosophy is disarmingly down to earth – authentic Italian food prepared freshly and served at affordable prices. What that means in practise is turning tables. David, a warm, vivacious character equally at home front of house as he is in the kitchen, hopes diners will sympathise with his restaurant’s pragmatic approach: “We need people to be understanding because we need to do this to survive! This is not a place where you pay 500DKK and feel like you are entitled to hang around. Our food is cheaper and we want as many people to enjoy it as would like to.”
At the heart of Mother’s operation is its wood-fired oven. Taking pride of place in the centre of the restaurant, it’s where all the hot dishes are prepared, not just the pizzas. It’s operated by Biagio and Luca Citro, two brothers from Campania who seem to have a telepathic understanding. Watching these expert pizzaioli knead, toss, and dress is a hypnotic theatre, and a rather wonderful distraction for those still queuing for a table.
As for the food itself, we loved it. Chanterelles confited in olive oil and served cold were zesty and delicious, complementing the earthy flavours we expected to dominate. The bruschetta, made from manitoba flour and adorned with the classic pairing of Gorgonzola and acacia honey, had the lightly charred crust that really allows you to taste the oven.
The pizza, however, is why we came. AOK recently gave Mother a glowing review, describing the pizza as in ‘class of its own’ and we don’t disagree. The killer ingredient is undoubtedly the sourdough, its deep, earthy flavour counterbalancing the rich tomato sauce and the tangy fattiness of the cheese.
A dough such as this requires a leaven, or ‘mother’, which begins life solely as flour and water – using the natural yeast present in the air and on the grains to begin the spontaneous fermentation which, after months or even years of feeding and developing flavour, will provide the raising agent for the dough.
Mothers are commonly passed down as an heirloom, gathering depth and character through the generations. The one in use at Mother is seven years old and was begun by a friend of David’s who has a farm in Sweden.
- Be sure to try the award-winning Menabrea beer
- A rarity in CPH, Mother is open on Sundays until 23:00
- Try Mother’s buffet brunch on Sundays from 11:00 until 14:30
Listening to David, it’s obvious that his reverence for authenticity and good ingredients – ingrained into his fabric from an early age – acts as Mother’s culinary compass. His childhood memories serve as a reference point for each dish on the menu: “Nothing will ever taste quite like the tomatoes I ate as a seven-year-old in Tuscany, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to recreate those feelings.”
David describes Mother as ‘just a regular pizzeria’. That may be the case if it was in Rome, but in Copenhagen it’s something a lot more special.