The irony of flying halfway round the world to eat at a restaurant made famous for local foraging is not indeed lost on me. However upon receiving notice of it closing end of February this year and a table miraculously still available in the last two weeks it was open, I took the opportunity and went. Of course, Noma was due to reopen again in bigger, ambitious urban farm form in hippie Christiania neighbourhood of Copenhagen, I thought it worth to visit the original restaurant space and kitchen (however makeshift and DIY seeming in shipping containers behind the building) that propelled it to no. 1 status in the first place.
The whole trip was nerve wracking to start. What to expect? What would it be like? It's hard not to overthink the El-Bulli of our generation and father of New Nordic cuisine wave that influences even your local café.
Additional causes for concerns: what if the flight was delayed or cancelled? How to find other people to help fill your table of 7? How to make sure those people (practically strangers as friends of friends of friends) actually turn up, especially when it's your credit card on the line?
The end result? Something to remember forever.
We were presented with 16 courses (as seen above) and I chose a mix of juice/wine pairing, which is more interesting than your conventional wine pairing. Even then the wines they chose were interesting funky varieties not from your usual prestigious sites. The flavours were truly interesting (on novelty and intellectual and sheer flavour-wise levels) as expected from as envelope pushing resto such as Noma. Something as rather mudane such as bread was out of this world, spectacular. If you ask me now what I can eat before I die, this bread will be up there on list of top 5 items.
At end of the meal, apart from feeling very full, I just understood the hype behind Noma. It just makes sense from planning to execution and creation of the whole experience. It wasn't only because that I met René in the experimental kitchen upstairs from the floor and he was super nice. People asked me if it's truly worth the flight over and I tell them a resounding YES.
What is even more delightful is to track down Noma graduates and see what they're doing (i.e. Gaa). I can't wait to come back here and report on more.
Now obviously closed their previous location but are due to open in December of this year. Follow their Instagram for more updates.
Photos taken at Noma in Feb 2017.