noma 2nd Visit — Copenhagen (5/2019)

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My first visit to noma was several years ago to the original restaurant, where I had the classic menu. Since then, noma has moved to a new location. It’s still in the same general area of Copenhagen, but north of the old location. It still has 2 Michelin stars. The new restaurant is much more expansive than the original location. When checking in for dinner, guests were led to a greenhouse where a hard cider and a non-alcoholic rhubarb-fennel beverage were offered. The menu has also changed. A series of seasonal menus are now offered throughout the year. In the winter/spring, they offer a seafood menu. The summer menu is focused on vegetables. Fall/winter offers a game and forest menu.

I had secured a reservation at the community table for the seafood menu. This seating is in a different part of the complex from the regular dining tables. We were all led from the greenhouse where we checked in, through gardens of herbs and produce, and into a building which had a large table located next to a large kitchen/staging area. A booking at the community table is prepaid for the food at the time of reservation (as are normal table seatings). An additional requirement at the community table is that diners must order either the wine pairing or the non-alcoholic pairing (which is paid for after dinner). It is possible to cancel a reservation up to five days before the scheduled dining date without penalty.

I chose to have the juice pairing. The first one presented was a green gooseberry juice infused with elderflower. The alcoholic pairing began with a sour beer.
The meal began with fresh (opened 3-4 minutes prior to serving) Norwegian scallop, served raw and seasoned with salt. The roe was separated and presented just to the side. I was expecting the flavor to have a touch of sweetness, but I did not get that.

The next course was an array of lightly cooked and raw clams. Venus clams (cooked) seasoned with Mirabelle plum juice (front left), carpet clams (cooked) with sorrel and cooked grains (front right), mahogany clams (raw) from north of the Arctic Circle seasoned with fresh cream and pine salt (back left), and razor clams (raw) served with raw walnuts and cooked grains. Textures from raw walnuts with razor clams and cooked grains with two of the other clams were a nice complement. The center of the plate had a piece of quince cooked in a salt brine. It was recommended that we squeeze this over the clams for additional seasoning.

Wine pairing was from Central Spain (a pre-phylloxera Verdejo).

For the full write-up, click here.

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Relae — Copenhagen (10/2011)

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Relae was my warm-up meal to noma (which will be later today).  It was started by an alumnus of noma, with a similar focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients.  The menu is pretty simple – you choose from either a standard menu or vegetable menu.  The menu is in both Danish and English. I chose the vegetable menu only because I really did not want the raw beef and oyster starter.

The place is small and is located in an inner northern neighborhood section of Copenhagen.  Reservations are recommended.  Fortunately, their website handles reservations (and can do so in English), so I managed to get a slot for a Friday night.  They put me at the counter, which weaves around the kitchen prep area, so I could watch the final assembly of dishes.

For full write-up, click here.

noma — Copenhagen (10/2011)

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I tried not to think about all the hype surrounding noma.  My expectations were simple.  I expected to have well-prepared food, excellent service (as befits a Michelin 2-star) and a wide sampling of what constitutes Nordic cuisine ingredients.  I was not disappointed.  Was it the best meal I’ve ever had?  Probably not.  Was it one of the most unique and amazing dining experiences I’ve ever had?  Most definitely. And among the more healthy ones too. My approach to dining at this level is like appreciating art – not everything will agree with me, but I appreciate the efforts of insight, forethought and work that go into the piece.  As in some other places, I was asked at the onset if there were any food allergies or even food preferences and dislikes that I needed to convey and the kitchen would be most accommodating.  I have no food allergies and even though I definitely have preferences (no red meat, dislike of mushrooms, no affinity for oysters), I told them that I am willing to try anything.  They designed the menu, representing what they want the diner to experience, so I want to let them give me their best pieces.

For full write-up, click here.