Riding the high from a life-changing lunch and a beautiful day in Copenhagen, Rocky and I once again made our way up Strandgade for round 2 of our two-a-day at Rene Redzepi’s Noma(click here for round 1).
The flood of sunlight was replaced with candle glow and soft lamps. The dining room was more energetic than at lunch, and the staff was just as warmly and enthusiastically welcoming as eight hours before. After a few kind greetings and a few glasses of bubbles, we were ready to go again.
Since we had most of these openers at lunch, I’ll try to breeze through them here.
Malt flatbread and juniper. Again tucked away inside the flower vase and accompanied with creme fraiche.
Moss and cep. Fantastic again.
Crispy pork skin and black currant.
Blue mussel and celery.
Cheese cookie, rocket and stems.
Potato and duck liver.
Dried carrot and sorrel. Once more I’ll iterate: this dish was mind-blowingly incredible and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks.
Caramelized milk and cod liver.
Pickled and smoked quails egg.
Radish, soil and grass.
Herb toast and smoked cod roe. An addition to our lunch line-up from earlier. 17 herbs, vinegar powder, and cod roe mayo sandwiched with duck stock crisps. Fresh herbaceous bites with bursts of acidity and ocean salinity book-ended by savory richness.
Æbleskiver. A take on the traditional Danish spherical pancakes with the addition of smoked bleak and pickled cucumber. Rocky excitedly exclaimed it as a ‘fish donut’.
Veal neck and söl. Veal fibers, creme fraiche, söl. Crispy, oily, savory little bites.
Grilled corn. Rocky wants me to make clear again: these were perfect.
Sorrel leaf and cricket paste.
Potato and snails. New potatoes cooked with juniper wood. Rose hip salt. Snails cooked in their own juices with herbs and herb sauce. We were told to use the herb picks to skewer the potatoes and dip them in the rose hip salt, then do the same with the snails. And afterwards, dip the herbs in the butter and eat them too. Fantastic.
Razor clam and parsley, Dill and horseradish. Raw local razor clam wrapped in parsley gelee, bordered by horseradish ice, and finished with razor clam and dill sauce. Superb, fresh, bright flavors.
Dried scallops and beech nuts, Biodynamic grains and watercress. The dehydrated Norwegian scallop slices had a beautiful crisp texture and nicely concentrated sweetness balanced by the meaty grains, spicy watercress, and squid ink sauce. Even Rocky, who claims to hate scallops, after a moment of silence, with a contemplative look on her face uttered ‘This is a really cool dish’.
Tartare of beef, Sorrel and juniper. Mild and precise beef tartare topped with spicy, acidic wood sorrel and a little onion. Meant to be scooped up with fingers and dragged through the ground juniper and lively tarragon emulsion. The primal mode of consumption gave a deeper connection to the food and its viking roots.
Vegetables and red currant. With leeks, fennel, and hazelnut. Simple, high quality ingredients treated and assembled beautifully. Maybe not as mind-blowing or thought-provoking as most of the plates we had, but still impeccably balanced great flavors.
Pike perch and cabbage. Danish pike perch cooked out back on their barbecue, wrapped in cabbage. Accompanied with lemon verbena sauce and fish bone sauce. Gorgeously presented and dynamically flavored. The combination of sauces made for great depth with the leaf-bound perfect fillet.
Beef cheek and fresh cheese. This dish was certainly firing on all cylinders. The rich cheeks paired well with the cooling house-made cheese. The duo was enhanced by ramson’s allium spice, savory chicken and mushroom sauce, and earthy, tangy Swedish chanterelles.
Carrot and sea buckthorn. A soft, airy carrot cake with sea-buckthorn berries sitting on a bed of sheep’s milk foam and livened with grated licorice. Likely the purest iteration of a carrot cake I’ve encountered. A perfect dessert.
Cucumber and elderflower. Light elderflower mousse surrounded by cucumber sorbet. Fresh, floral, addictive. A wonderful ending to the written menu.
Chocolate potato crisps. Whey meringues.
Bone marrow caramels. Magnificently rich and savory caramels, served in the bone, wrapped in butcher paper.
Some wines we were served:
When I travel and try out restaurants I’ve never been to, I do pretty well about coming in without expectations, and bringing in only hopes. Though when I visit a place with as much acclaim(and holding as grand a title) as Noma, it’s hard to leave it all at home and anticipation takes over at least some part. But both my meals at Noma exceeded everything I hoped they would be. I would love to learn more about Nordic cuisine and gain insights to the history and inspirations behind the food then revisit for another couple meals and see if Redzepi’s menus are even more mind-blowing. Every member of their team and every step experience struck a positive chord and created a masterful symphony. Echoing the exclamations of countless enthusiasts over the past few years: Noma just may be the best restaurant in the world.
Date of visit: September 13th, 2012
Noma. Strandgade 93. Copenhagen, Denmark. +45 3296 3297. http://noma.dk/