Dive Into World-Famous Danish Seafood At Iluka

Denmark is world-renowned for its incredible seafood products which come from the icy oceans surrounding the Danish peninsula and its many islands. The shellfish and langoustines caught in Danish waters are the freshest in the game. Danish oysters are the sweetest, meatiest oysters you will ever eat. And whenever you get a hankering to taste those top-notch seafood products to the fullest, there’s only one place to go in Copenhagen, and that’s Iluka.

Iluka is the creation of Australian expat chef, Beau Clugston. Chef Clugston comes from a small beach town in Coffs Harbour and got his culinary chops in Sydney’s fine dining establishments, including Tetsuya and Rockpool. He then made the jump over to Europe and worked for Gordon Ramsay’s at Claridge’s in London. Just before going back home after nearly a decade at Gordon Ramsay’s, Clugston started hearing a lot of talk about a new restaurant called Noma.

Chef Beau Clugston Iluka
Chef Beau Clugston. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Outdoor patio Iluka
Outdoor patio. PHOTO NADIA CHO

“I went there for lunch here in Copenhagen. It used so many different fats. Noma at the time was using herb oils as fats. Really fresh and clean dishes. It really changed the way I looked at cooking so I realized that I needed to work at Noma.” – Chef Beau Clugston

Clugston spent ten years at Noma, going from Chef de partie to the test kitchen with the research and development team.

Intimate dining room Iluka
Intimate dining room. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Intimate dining room Iluka
Intimate dining room. PHOTO NADIA CHO

“I was so close to the fire with this Nordic cooking that I was missing something, and I kept going back to how I was eating as a child and how I liked to prepare food. That was simply just really good products that we caught. Caught fish from the estuary, dust some salt and pepper and put it on the barbeque. Very Australian.

Copenhagen was missing a seafood restaurant. This place, Denmark, we’re surrounded by the water and we have so much good product. But it’s a pork eating country. It’s starting to change now, and I decided to open Iluka.”

Iluka is an Australian Aboriginal word which means “by the sea.” The restaurant serves exclusively seafood and vegetables. No meat. All of Iluka’s suppliers are small local suppliers; all Danish as well as products coming from the Faroe Islands. Iluka’s menu is guided by the ocean and therefore, highly seasonal. So, whenever a fish is no longer in season, the dish gets swapped out. Thus, the menu is constantly evolving with new products and flavors.

Iluka
Iluka. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Danish oysters Iluka
Danish oysters. PHOTO NADIA CHO

“I’ve got incredible flat fish. I’ve got all different types of white flesh fish which comes from raw to cooked. We have octopus. We have incredible oysters. And then once we get the Faroe stuff, we get the 200-year-old Mahogany clams. We have langoustines. We have huge sea snails the size of a bowl. Whatever you can imagine in the sea. We’ve played around with jellyfish. We’ve played around with all different types of species.”

The way seafood is prepared at Iluka is heavily influenced by Clugston’s Aussie way of cooking: simply sprinkled with salt and pepper then grilled and letting the quality product do all the talking. Yet, while Iluka’s menu appears straightforward and simple, Clugston describes his dishes as simplicity hidden in a veil of complexity.

Tartar with fish roe
Tartar with fish roe. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Danish oysters Iluka
Danish oysters. PHOTO NADIA CHO

“It could just be a flat fish. Pan-fried with stewed seaweed, soft herbs and seaweed butter. But there are a few potions on there: like you brush it with a roasted kombu and you stew the seaweed at this temperature at this direction. And the simplicity, you can’t do that unless you have this 20 years of fine dining background in a way. So, it is simplistic looking. But it has a few potions.”

The restaurant space reflects the simple and straightforward philosophy of Iluka. The interior is a lovely intimate space with warm hues and romantic low lights. The patio out front is lined with a few charming tables along the sidewalk; perfect for enjoying oysters with rosé on a summer day. Iluka’s vibe is that of a neighborhood French bistro: a warm and welcoming setting where you know you’re bound to enjoy good food and great company.

Intimate dining room
Intimate dining room. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Intimate dining room
Intimate dining room. PHOTO NADIA CHO

The next time you’re in Copenhagen and you want to see what that world-famous Danish seafood is all about, Iluka is your destination. Make sure you order the oysters because they’re handpicked and are the freshest, most fabulous oysters you will ever try. For more information, go visit Iluka’s website.

Chef Beau Clugston
Chef Beau Clugston. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Nadia Cho

Communications Associate

As the empowered female behind the blog: International Women of Mystery, Nadia reps Team JST traveling the world in search of exclusive features on hidden gems and cool hotspots. You can find her exploring metropolitan cities or lounging on tropical beaches.

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