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Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark

Seabuck thorn leather and pickled hip roses

Rye bread, chicken skin, lumpfish roe and smoked

Cookie with lardo and currant

Radish, soil and herbs

Radish, soil and herbs

Smoked Quail egg on hay

Toast, herbs, smoked cod roe and vinegar

Beets different ways, malt bread and green sauce

Dried scallops and watercress Biodynamic cereals and beech nut

Oyster and the ocean

Pike perch and ramson leaves Cabbage stems and pickled ramson seeds

Pickled vegetables and bone marrow Herbs and bouillon

Ox cheek and endive Pickled pear and verbena

Celery and celeriac

Jerusalem artichoke and marjoram Apple and malt

Noma is suddenly the place to be and all over the news. Roughly three weeks ago nobody had heard of the place and now every newspaper reader has become an expert on danish fine dining. Your favourite food critic was on a trip with a couple of soccer buddies and on a hunch reserved a table at Noma, before it was named best restaurant in the world by the Restaurant Magazine. I did try to make a slight change to the reservation but to no avail, it was impossible to get through by phone. We were a tad underdressed and didn’t fit perfectly with the crowd, but the interior of the place is so unadorned with simple wooden tables, raw beams on the ceiling and nice dark floors that no one will feel out of place here. The german chef which served the appetizers asked if we were chefs ourselves, when we said no we play soccer he got a tad excited and asked for whom, a slight feeling of disappointment came across him when we realized it was lower then the second german division. We focused our attention on the snacks which were numerous and surprising. The best effect was a radish served on top of some soil (hazelnut, malt flour) and a bit of yogurt emulsion in a real flower pot. You really had the feeling of plucking a fresh radish out of a garden. Another highlight was a small smoked quail egg, which was served in a large egg like dish on hay to be gobbled up in one bite. It really reminds one of eating outdoors, slight rain, sitting around a fire like in boy scouts and eating some open fire cooked egg dish. Also the toast with herbs, smoked cod roe and vinegar powder showed beautiful attention to detail, the herbs were all local and handpicked. Moving on to the main dishes I actually didn’t finish one of them. The dried scallops and watercress biodynamic cereals and beech nut made me feel queasy. Especially the cereals reminded me of something you’d be fed by an unhappy nun in your local orphanage and it’s still sending shivers down my spine. After the shivering, the good feeling came back with the next dish. Oyster and the ocean it was called and it was a big pot, filled with sea weed and warm rocks with an oyster. The inside of the oyster were lovely, slightly poached and in a combination with herbs and some sauce this was a perfect gourmet dish, a huge effort to get three bites of oyster to the diner, but the bites were superb. Now Noma was hitting it’s stride and it kept getting better. The pike perch was simply devious, even if you take away all the ramson, ramson capers and cabbage stems, I’ve never had a better perch. The deviousness lies in the fact that whenever I order a pike perch, I know that it will not meet noma’s. The pickled root vegetables were nicely sliced, expertly dressed and served with bone marrow, bouillon and herbs. This was a play on a typical danish dish, apparently the root vegetables were pickled to store through winter in the olden days. Just look at the picture and you’ll see why this was the most beautiful of all the courses. The meat course was a long cooked ox cheek with pears and for some reason it was served with a knife which is normally used to skin reindeers. Lucky us, that we had no argument at the table. The knife wasn’t needed, since the cheek just melted when you pressed it with your tongue against the roof of your mouth. One of the bigger challenges was the first dessert. It was a mix of celery and celeriac (raw and as a granité) and it really was a good example that dining happens in your head. AC/DC is great, comfort music you can listen to in a bar while having a beer and a chat. Whereas listening to complicated Jazz is something which needs more concentration but can be just as enjoying. Some people at are table would have preferred a chocolate cake, but the sensation and palate cleansing effect of the celery/celeriac combination worked quite well. A bit of Topinambur with malt and apple finished a truly great experience and a very good meal. A nice touch is also that the chefs themselves actually come out of the kitchen and explain the food that is being served. Is this the best restaurant in the world ? I don’t know, but it certainly is one of the best I’ve ever eaten at. The only dangerous thing are the wine prices, these are absolutely through the roof in Denmark. Nevertheless, I’m currently dreaming of this place and wouldn’t mind going back soon. Funny thing was when walking out, one of the chefs smiled at one of the waiters and whispered “special group”. The six of us felt honored:

Bill

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Posted by therealpickygourmet on 6 May 2010
12 Comments Post a comment
  1. 05/6/2010
    adrian

    Finally! I have been looking forward to this revue ever since you told me about your blog last weekend!
    A very nice page you got here and thanks to you I at least get my eyes on food from Noma…
    Be aware that Perch refers to Egli while Pike perch is a Zander in german.
    Thanks for trying and ´med venlig hilsen´from Copenhagen
    Adrian

    Reply
  2. 05/10/2010
    Susan

    Lieber Pickygourmet
    Vielen Dank für die zahlreichen Berichte. Auch wenn ich häufig nicht gleicher Meinung bin wie Du, so freue ich mich über jeden neuen Post. Und: ich bewundere Deine Disziplin!
    Wir waren übrigens am Wochenende im Le Chateaubriand in Paris, auf besagter Liste auf Platz 11 – es wird Dir gefallen!
    Herzliche Grüsse, Susan

    Reply
    • 05/11/2010
      therealpickygourmet

      Merci, das Le Chateaubriand sieht gut aus! Wo teilst Du meine Meinung nicht ?

      Reply
  3. 05/11/2010
    Susan

    Um nur einige aus dem Kopf zu nennen: Sankt Meinrad, Büscion, Spice, Caduff… Herzlich, Susan

    Reply
    • 05/11/2010
      therealpickygourmet

      Spannend – Spice ist unterdessen meine absolute Nummer.
      Was sind denn deine Favoriten ?

      Reply
  4. 05/11/2010
    Susan

    In Züri? Bis anhin fand ich von der Küche her das The Restaurant eine echte Bereicherung (übers Ambiente lässt sich streiten). Das zweite Mal war Herr Nieder leider gar nicht mehr mutig… So heisst mein Favorit wieder Sankt Meinrad und in der Aglo ist es il Casale in Wetzikon. Mein Allerlieblingsrestaurant ist aber nicht in der Schweiz 😉 Sonnige Grüsse, Susan
    PS: Warst Du eigentlich noch nie im Didi’s Frieden?

    Reply
    • 05/11/2010
      therealpickygourmet

      Klar in Didis Frieden war ich schon mehrmals, aber hier wurde es noch nicht gefeatured – ist sicher ein sehr guter Tipp das Restaurant.
      Was ist das Lieblingsrestaurant ausserhalb der CH ?

      Reply
  5. 05/11/2010
    Susan

    Mein Allerallerlieblingsrestaurant ist im Moment das Piazza Duomo in Alba, im Piemont. Und Deines?
    Bist Du auch ein ambitiöser, begnadeter Koch und Gastgeber oder überlässt Du das lieber anderen?
    Good night, Susan

    Reply
  6. 10/12/2010
    Bambiglanz

    I saw a part of a good documentation about the whole cult about the Michelin stars etc, and Noma was also introduced, the film is being shown again on Arte:
    http://www.arte.tv/de/woche/244,broadcastingNum=1199560,day=7,week=41,year=2010.html
    I find the philosophy behind Noma quite interesting: “So repräsentiert René Redzepi (Restaurant “Noma”, Kopenhagen) eine äußerst innovative Form der Hochküche: Kein Olivenöl, keine Tomaten, nur Produkte, die ursprünglich aus Skandinavien stammen.”

    Reply
    • 10/12/2010
      therealpickygourmet

      What can I say – Noma is unforgettable – but I’d still like a table at the el Bulli… anyone know how ?

      Reply
      • 10/12/2010
        Bambiglanz

        Patience, Flexibility, a lot of friends who make a reservation request. I guess, at least that’s what our friend google says (mind the date, things probably have changed):
        http://thislittlepiglet.blogspot.com/2006/12/not-one-but-two-tables-at-el-bulli.html

        http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2006/08/dinner_at_el_bulli.php
        How does one get a reservation at El Bulli? The restaurant is open from May until September, and starts taking reservations in mid-October for the next season. Around October 15th, send a reservation request by email (the email address can be found here), with the number of people in your party. You can indicate the day(s) on which you wish to come, but your best bet is to let them pick a date for you, and arrange the trip around it. A few weeks later you will get a response — the negative ones get sent earlier than the positive ones, so having to wait is a good sign. (How they award the reservations is a bit of a mystery, but I am told that it is mostly on a first come first served basis.) Once you’re in, you can jump up and down with glee, mark your calendar, and organize the flight and accomodation — just don’t forget to confirm your reservation a week before the set date.

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