Challenge number 1 was to get a table. Challenge number 2 to save up some money. Challenge number 3 to sit down, relax and enjoy the food. ‘And’, people ask, ‘was it worth going through all the trouble, emptying your wallet and fly up and down to Copenhagen?’ Hell yes! Even after 17 courses Noma tasted like more. Much more.
12:00 PM sharp we open the door and start our culinary journey. Immediately over 10 staff member rush to take our coats, our reservation and welcome us with enough warmth to get rid of the chilly early spring Danish air. Once seated with a drink and some berries and greens soaked in vinegar for one year, we drink in the interior. It’s spacy, warm, ‘filled’ with the typical minimalist Danish design and only 12 tables of which about 10 seat anxious people with smiles on their faces and lights in their eyes. In the background the kitchen has started up its engines which keep on running smoothly the next three hours.
Seventeen courses are introduced on the menu, the first one being the mouthwatering berries and greens. What follows is a kick-start with Fermented wild plums and wild beach roses, Øland wheat and virgin butter, The first shoots of the season with scallop marinade, Curdled milk and the first garlic of 2015 and Grilled onion with onion preserves. After these 5 courses, we get a little bit of time to catch our breath. And to discuss what we have just experienced: the taste of spring caught in everyday plants, veggies, dairy and fruits so special you have to eat it to believe it.
Service was, is and will be excellent, relaxed and down to earth during the whole lunch with staff coming from all over the globe. Meanwhile some guests arrive, most likely on delayed flights, all flushed and in a hurry. Within minutes they are comforted and welcomed down to earth only to ascent into culinary heaven when tasting a dish already being rooted in our memory.
The following dishes offer all sorts of jewels from the treasure chest of the sea. Sweet shrimps wrapped in ramson leaves, Sliced raw squid and cabbage stems, Fresh langoustine with ants, Sea urchin toast and Male and female lumpfish with whole milk. The structure, the taste, the presentation, it is all from another planet.
Pumpkin, kelp and beechnuts drags us out of the sea onto the land. The Egg cured in fermented beef and the last potatoes is one of the simplest looking and at the same time best tasting dishes we ever had. It is followed up by Vegetable flower and Roasted bone marrow (so tender).
Slowly we are working our way towards the end. First some coffee that looks like tea and works a bit like a spoom, putting the taste buds into neutral again. Dessert is an explosion coming in two bursts: A dessert of bitters and hazelnut oil followed by Forest flavors and chocolate, including reindeer moss with a thin skin of chocolate.
Seven wines accompany the 17 dishes served. Himmel auf Erden is the first one. Nomen est Omen we conclude. Of course the balance between wine and food is excellent with the 2013 Serragghia Bianco and the 2013 Damigiana (an orange wine) being a treat both to the eye as to the tongue.
Once the bill has been settled and the digestive on the house has been enjoyed, we are invited to tour the kitchen – spread over two floors – and the outdoors BBQ plaza. Over 30 chefs and interns are working their behinds off to prepare for dinner that will commence about three to four hours after lunch has finished. Next to the top floor kitchen is the food lab where Noma experiments with new flavors, ingredients and ways of preparing new dishes. Neighbouring the lab is a small greenhouse where the herbs and veggies you find on your plate are being grown.
After spending half an hour in the kitchen, we leave Noma, taking with us long lasting memories of our visit to food paradise and already thinking about Challenge number 1: making another reservation at Noma……
T: +45 32 96 32 97