Situated in an old waterfront warehouse within a central Copenhagen neighborhood is Noma, the two-Michelin-star, four-time winner of Restaurant magazine’s award for Best Restaurant in the World. Since 2003, the Noma kitchen, led by head chef René Redzepi, has redefined Nordic cuisine and pushed the limits of conventional gastronomy.
From what my fortunate friends and family have told me, dinner at Noma is not just dinner. It is a steady stream of strange surprises, whatever fresh Nordic concoction the kitchen sculpts the day of your visit. From my cousin, who has worked under the enterprising chef René for the last three years, I know that an immense amount of time and craftsmanship goes into each small plate.
But while the plates may be small, the price per-head ($300-$400) is anything but dainty. As a favor to your bank account, here is a sample of Noma’s world-renowned Nordic cuisine, all the way from Denmark to your computer screen. Save a buck (or a few hundred) and feast your eyes.
Rhubarb and Seaweed
Foragers gather whatever roots and greens the Nordic region produces during the season.
Vegetable Platter: flatbread and ant paste, pickled quail egg, and a black currant berry
Yes, ant paste with your veggies. What many consider taboo, Noma considers a delicacy.
Noma chefs are committed to matching unique tastes with aesthetic appeal.
Seasonal herbs and green asparagus with whipped cream
The Nordic “green season” starts in May, which is when Noma turns into a vegetarian restaurant.
Bread and virgin butter
Butter is considered “virgin” if makers stop churning it right when the first butter granules start to form, producing a grainy but exciting butter flavor.
Fresh milk curds and the first green garlic shoots
They aren’t kidding when they say these are the “first” green garlic shoots. Spring foraging starts in May when these photos were taken.
Cooked white asparagus with barley and elderberry leaves
Asparagus becomes white through a process of etiolation, or the depravation of light. White asparagus is more tender and milder in flavor.
Sweet lobster, lavender, and rose oil
This dish is served with grilled onions, beach roses, fresh lavender, and preserved lovage buds.
Also known as “appleskive,” this dish is basically a spherical pancake topped with flower petals.
Steamed king crab and egg yolk sauce
Chefs at Noma create dishes that mirror where they came from (hence the seashells and sea pebbles).
Charred ramson and scallop paste
This dish, underwhelming to the eye, is said to be as satisfying as a steak. Cooks in Noma’s kitchen laboratories find ways to make simple greens the star of the show.
Turbot grilled on the bone with sweet shrimp
The sweet shrimp are left raw and rolled into spinach like ravioli, making for an unorthodox savory dish.
Dessert of bitters “Gammel Dansk”
The most delicately scooped ice cream, topped with flakes of dry milk and sorrel juice and served with Gammel Dansk (a Danish alcoholic beverage).
Moss cooked in chocolate with egg liqueur
Not your conventional sweet and salty dessert. The moss is deep fried and sprayed with chocolate ganache, and is meant to be dipped in a creme fraiche and seaweed reduction.
At the end of December 2016, Noma will shut down and reinvent itself as its own urban farm. Stay tuned for what the Noma team will concoct by growing their own Nordic delicacies.