[Copenhagen] Noma - 1st Visit to World's Best Restarant

Rating: ❤❤❤❤1/2

A foodie trip to Copenhagen would not be complete without a visit to gastronomic mecca Noma - a 2 Michelin star restaurant and currently #3 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list after being #1 for 4 years! Run by Rene Redzepi, the restaurant is known for its reinvention of the Nordic cuisine and one of the most influential restaurants in the world. Reservations are notoriously hard to get as reservations open 3 months in advance and gets booked out quickly but luckily I was able to get a seating here as part of the Opinionated About Dining's Top 100+ Weekend

Since it was my first visit to Noma, I was super excited about my visit but I do have to admit that it wasn't exactly what I had imagined. Obviously I had really high expectations given the reputation of the restaurant and the price of the meal, and the food was certainly very interesting and different to anything that I've tried before but if you ask me if this was the best meal I've ever had, I don't think the answer is yes. The food was good and the restaurant served a lot of local and seasonal vegetables using innovative techniques to create dishes that are new to the usual palate but flavors-wise I'm not sure some of the dishes worked 100%. Don't get me wrong though, I am still glad that I visited and tried the food for myself, and I think everyone should do the same to form your own opinion.

The tasting menu cost DKK1900 (US$290) with wine pairing at DKK1100 (US$168) and juice pairing at DKK700 (US$107). Apparently the menu is shorter than before with 15 courses and the same menu is served at both lunch and dinner. One note about the wine pairing is that Noma serves biodynamic wines which are made using the principles of biodynamic agriculture developed by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920's. It's like one step above organic but the method is not without its criticisms and has been characterized as pseudoscience (I'm not going to get into here but you can read more about it by googling this topic). J had the wine pairing while I had the juice pairing, and he didn't quite like his wines as he found the taste to be not as clean as regular wines. Maybe it's an acquired taste as it's all about your preferences and what you are used to. If you choose to forgo the pairings, you can also choose your own wine on their extensive wine list.
Exterior of Noma

We made our way to Noma on the day of our lunch reservation and of course had to take an obligatory selfie in front of the restaurant sign before walking in. 
Supertaster Mel Noma

As we entered through the doors, we were greeted by Rene Redzepi himself and his entire team who were all gathered in front of the entrance which was a nice surprise!
Noma dining room

Noma lounge area

I started my meal with a glass of champagne (2013 Le Champ du Clos, Charles Dufour, Landreville-Aube) before getting the juice pairing later. 
2013 Le Champ du Clos, Charles Dufour, Landreville-Aube

Our first course was this Rhubard and Seaweed in the shape of a beautiful rose with sorrel and rose oil. The rhubard was crisp and acidic which served as a refreshing start of the meal.
noma rhubard seaweed rose sorrel rose oil

The next course was a Vegetable Platter with pickled quail egg, black currant berry, and flatbread with ant paste. Initially we were surprised to be told to start with smoked quail egg but it turned out that the black currant berry was able to overcome the smokiness easily with its bright and tart flavors. 
noma Vegetable Platter smoked pickled quail egg, black currant berry, flatbread & ant paste

The Radish Pie with seaweed tart, vegetable fudge and horseradish oil was a delectable treat with a hint of spicy finish from the horseradish. Rene told us that the radishes weren't even ready until a few weeks ago so I was glad that we got to try this in time. 
noma radish pie

My first juice pairing with Verbena/Pine came with the next course which was Fresh Green Asparagus and seasonal herbs served with whipped cream. The asparagus had been barbecued with ants (but it's not visible on the vegetables) which was flavorful to eat with the horseradish whipped cream.
noma fresh green asparagus seasonal herbs

The Bread with virgin butter turned out to be amazing with a super crunchy crust and yet the interior managed to remain fluffy soft and moist. 
noma bread virgin butter

Fresh Milk Curds and the first green garlic shoots with kelp and roasted yeast in mushroom broth. I quite liked the tofu-like texture of the milk curds while the flavors were light overall.
Noma Fresh Milk Curds first green garlic shoots

The next juice pairing with white currant and black currant wood oil.
noma juice pairing white currant black currant wood oil

Pan Seared White Asparagus with barley, elderberry leaves and black currant shoots while topped with fermented caviar sauce.
noma White Asparagus caviar barley elderberry leaves

Sweet Danish Lobster with lavender and rose oil.
noma  Sweet Danish Lobster with lavender and rose oil.

We were then treated to a Æbleskiver which is a traditional Danish pancake in the shape of sphere with salted flower blossoms and almond.
noma Æbleskiver

The Steamed Norwegian King Crab in cured egg yolk sauce turned out to be our favorite dish of the meal! We were intrigued on how the egg yolk was cured and apparently it was cured in fermented beef which gave it a rich and complex flavor.
noma steamed norwegian king crab cured egg yolk

The Sorrel/Apple juice pairing.

The Charred Ramson was another interesting dish as it had been grilled with smoked butter and scallop paste. The ramson had such intense scallop flavors - it was like eating scallops but without the real thing. 
noma charred ramson scallop paste

I loved the presentation of the Turbot grilled on the bone with sweet shrimp ravioli in sweet mushroom broth as it looked like a lily pad pond. 
noma turbot grilled on the bone sweet shrimp

The second part of the Turbot dish included its ribs which had been brushed with a mushroom glaze and served with salted trout roe and pickled rose. We were told that Rene didn't want to waste the meat near the ribs of the fish which is actually very tasty so he came up with this creation.
Noma turbot ribs salted trout roe pickled rose

Before we know it, we were already moving onto desserts with this Dessert of Bitters "Gammel Dansk" (a Danish alcoholic beverage) ice cream with flakes of dry milk and sorrel juice. The dessert wasn't that sweet and we felt that it could have easily passed as one of the starter dishes.
noma Dessert of Bitters "Gammel Dansk"

noma Dessert of Bitters "Gammel Dansk"

The last juice pairing of Elderflower & Kombucha.
noma juice pairing Elderflower Kombucha.

Our last dessert was Moss Cooked in Dark Chocolate with Swedish pine mushroom seasoned with licorice salt. It was my first time eating moss and it was very crunchy to eat. 
Noma Moss Cooked in Dark Chocolate

The dessert was paired with Egg Liqueur with elderflower in it. 
noma egg liqueur

After our meal was finished, we got a tour of the kitchens with three in total so we can see where our meals were prepared. 
noma kitchen

noma lobster

Many of the dishes were cooked on this grill which is outside the restaurant. 
noma charcoal grill

We then walked back inside to check out the private dining room on the second floor. 
noma private dining room

The second floor also housed the second kitchen where the interns were painstakingly assembling the radish pie. 

The last kitchen was an experimental kitchen where ideas are brainstormed and tested. 

The Noma fermentation lab, or Nordic Food Lab, is situated behind the restaurant and is dedicated to finding new flavors and processes. 
noma fermentation lab

Thank you Rene Redzepi and team for the wonderful experience at Noma!
noma supertaster mel rene redzepi

Our group picture with Rene and team with the other OAD participants.

Strandgade 93 
DK-1401 Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel: +45 3296 3297

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