Friday, July 2, 2010

Lunch at Noma in pictures 29.06.2010

The idea of the world's best known restaurant being a 'find' is, I admit, ludicrous but in some ways true. Every meal is a discovery at Noma (which for those of you who haven't heard of it is a modern Danish restaurant in Copenhagen, recently voted the best restaurant in the world). And eating there is such a rich and complex experience that you need time to think about it before attempting to write it up.

So here are my amateurish, snatched snaps of the 20 courses we ate 3 days ago, described as they are on the menu. Just a remarkable meal.

Bullrush and praline (you find the rushes lying on the table when you take your seat)

Sea buckthorn leather and pickled hip roses

(Savoury) cookie with lardo and currant

Rye bread, chicken skin, lumpfish roe and smoked cheese (a clever spin on a smørrebrød sandwich)

Smoked and pickled quails egg. (Note the wisp of smoke coming up from the side of the dish which billowed out of the decorated egg 'casket' as it was opened suffusing the air with the smell of smoke)

Radish, soil and herbs. The soil, of course, being edible

Æbleskiver and Muikko (spherical apple dumplings with tiny freshwater fish). Loved the way they looked like Viking helmets.

Toast, herbs, smoked cods roe and vinegar (Another riff on a Danish open sandwich topped with 'duck film' the umami-rich crisped up film that forms on duck stock)

Noma's bread which is served with 'virgin' butter and pork fat with scratchings - a fine meal in itself.

Shrimps and sea urchin, cream and dill

Beetroot and sorrel, malt flat bread (the tiny poori like puff)

Dried scallops and watercress. Biodynamic grains and beech nut. Those wafer-thin slices of scallop were possibly my favourite thing in the entire meal. Or possibly not - so hard to decide.

Tatar and sorrel, tarragon and juniper (a steak tartare you eat with your hand, holding the meat with the leaves)

Langoustine and soil, parsley and seawater

Oyster and the ocean

White and green asparagus. Pine. (The pile of green needles in the front are young spruce shoots)

The hen and the egg. A dish that you cook yourself, breaking a duck's egg onto a hot skillet, adding thyme butter, spinach, wild garlic and herbs and topping it with curls of fried potato. Ultimate egg and chips

Summer deer and snails, forest shoots and chanterelles

Sheeps milk mousse, sorrel and fennel seeds (the only dish from the menu I had three years ago)

Strawberries and straw. Chamomile and elderflower (a new dish on the menu for the first time that week)

'Gammel dansk'. Milk and woodsorrel (Gammel Dansk is a bitter herbal digestif similar to Fernet Branca and Jägermeister)

Of course photos alone don't give the full picture. The extraordinary tastes of these dishes, the homely smells coming out of the open-plan kitchen, the beauty of the building, the intimacy of the service. I'll link to other posts and features as I write them but for now that will have to do.

Except to say that the food was so light that even after all these courses we didn't feel overfull.


  1. HOLY GUACAMOLE!! What a mind-blowing menu. I was partiuclarly taken by the egg you cook yourself and the dumplings with fish, which look like the Viking version of stargazy pie ;-) The presentation of the langoustine and the oyster are fabulous. What is the langoustine on - a piece of rock?? Thanks for sharing your experience with us :)

  2. Yes, it was a piece of rock. The oysters were served on pebbles. The only problem is what to eat and what not to eat. You eat most of the stuff they bring so you could have a nasty shock if you bit into a pebble by mistake!

  3. What a culinary adventure that meal was! Not a place you'd head to if you were starving hungry, but I'm guessing it's more about the experience, skill and presentation involved. I think you'd need to be an artist to work there!

    What did the edible soil taste like?

  4. Actually, feedingboys, the portions are much more generous than they are in similar restaurants and the meal leaves you feeling more than satisfied - without being remotely bloated.

    The 'soil' was dark and crunchy - a bit like unsweetened muscovado sugar in texture!

  5. Wow! this is lunch? I've just gotten reservations for October and was worried that lunch wouldn't be as special as dinner, but your lovely post shows that I have much to look forward to! Thanks.

  6. Hi Katarina! You might not get as many as 20 courses - I think they were running through all the dishes they were currently doing for us as we were writing features on the restaurant but you'll certainly get a fair few. And I think it's better to be there in the daylight than at night because of the light and the beautiful views.

  7. how much does the hen and the egg cost? :)