Noma** – Copenhagen
Noma – “Food talks”
Chef: René Redzepi
A full introduction of Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen is for sure not needed. A restaurant being talked about all over the world, being honored by so many culinary critics and on the list of every chef, reached itself a “city trip” hype for Copenhagen. A lunch in Noma is not just a food experience; a visit is like a full vacation with a great mix of culture, nature, discoveries, relaxation and off course a top food philosophy!
Meanwhile everybody knows that Noma was elected already 2 years in a row best restaurant in the World Restaurant top 50 list. An award obtained with true Nordic Gourmet cuisine and an innovative gastronomic approach with always the aim to create something new. A reservation as expected is not easy but the system is very fair. 3 months in advance on one particular day the bookings for the month are open at 10AM. Few hours later the full month is closed and foodies can wait another month.
The restaurant on top of all the culinary compliments is located on the ground floor of an 18th century warehouse in the beautiful district Christianshavn. On the other side of the water you have a view on Nyhavn. The interior has a purely Nordic character with wooden floors & beams. No table clothes but purely Nordic design. The name Noma was created by mixing Nordic & Mad, which is Danish for food.
Once in Noma you can not resist the full menu and also the companied wine suggestions are a must do! With adding the brilliant amuses we quickly arrived to around 20 courses and my note taking was stopped in order to fully enjoy the lunch with my gastronomic friends. So no detailed description for all courses. This time my “carnet de table” was way too small.
The first dish was announced al being already at the table? Yes a pot with brown branches that seemed to be crispy wheat bread sticks.
Time for one of the famous talked about: Moss and cep mushrooms.
Several fabulous amuses followed this moss discovery; Blue mussel; cookies & cheese; pork skin & black currant, potato & chicken liver.
Time for one of those that I still have melting in my mind: pickled and smoked quails egg. The eggs were so softly smoked that it really melts in your mouth and were served on hay.
Redzepi goes back to the roots with his fresh radish, soil and grass. A plant pot on the table, only the terracotta was not eatable. The soil was invented by creating a mousse of yoghurt and grasses with on top a crumble of hazelnut, great “soil”.
As last amuses we were served: toast, herbs, smoked cod roe & vinegar and a beignet of pickled cucumber with Moiko fish from Finland & apple vinegar powder.
Can we call it the first dish after all these small bites? Apple and Jerusalem artichoke, sorrel and coriander were created like a beautiful picture. Delicate flavors and the sorrel perfectly lifted up this dish. The white wine selection was great; a 2009 Muscadet Sèvre et maine Gneiss, a biodynamical wine from Guy Bossard, Domaine de L’Ecu in the Loire.
The second dish was a combination of Sea urchin with dill granite, cucumber and frozen cream. The white wine, a 2009 trocken Riesling from Weingut Kerpen showed perfect minerality.
The next dish was for me a failure as the dried scallops with grains and watercress were so dry that for me it is a pity for my food favorite, a fresh Coquilles St-Jacques.
Let’s eat with the hands now as the famous Noma dish is served, Tartar and sorrel, juniper and tarragon.
The signature dish was followed with one of my favorite moments, so simple a plate of onions! Onion and thyme flavored with berry juice. An excellent continuation and a step full of delicate nuances. The white wine served was a natural chardonnay from the Jura, old barriques touches, 2009 Pamina La Mailloche from Domaine de Octavin.
Sander filet and grilled cabbage with verbena sauce: I will not try to mention it every time but this was just amazing.
Purple hay carrot with Swedish truffles was served with a Pinot Noir brut nature, L’or de Vix from Pothières. A sparkling crémant de Bourgogne.
The pickled vegetables & bone marrow dish really showed what it is all about. Noma created a fabulous dish with only vegetables. Rough simplicity but this dish is my best vegetable meal ever tasted.
For the venison with walnuts, bitter greens and juniper we get our first red wine. A 2009 assemblage Grenache and Syrah from the Languedoc, Remi Poujol.
A first dessert “Gammel Dansk” called was softening the taste. Freeze dried whey with frozen sorrel.
After having tasted the last dessert, Pear & pine frozen sponge cake, I concluded that the desserts today were the weakest. In addition the served Muscato d’Asti Bera Piemonte was really top.
After 4 hours we were happily called to the kitchen where the Belgian sous-chef, Yannick Van Aeken, showed us the kitchen & working spaces, concluding in an unforgettable day.
Service wise Noma acts the perfect way for a lunch or dinner with friends. You find here a casual, young, and spontaneous approach that delivers great professionalism. The often asked question when returning was, is it really the best? So good, so much better? Well if we look to the best fish or best meat ever eaten, it was not in Noma but if we look back to the total experience, discovery and the unexpected, they beat them all. Value for money as it should be compared with much more than a restaurant visit only. And now preparing for the rest of the food trip; Geranium & Relae…Noma Strandgate 93, 1401 Copenhagen, DK TEl: +45 3296.3297 www.noma.dk Sunday & Monday closed Be-Gusto score: 18,5/20