I think Noma deserves it all!
At Noma, having happy and satisfied guests is not the paramount mission. It’s the consequence.
They couldn’t have fixed its time and place in the world cuisine just by selecting fresh ingredients and serving gold leaves on top of meat, like in an extravaganza.
Well, if you thought is that an expensive dinner must be served with fancy French wine instead of organic, biodynamic and natural wine…. Go to Dubai.
Noma deep complexity it’s hidden in a simple “Nordic” building, surrounded by a normal life. It’s a revamped old warehouse. If you get in quickly, you would probably miss the small bee garden right at the front door…
René Redzepi, the head chef and co-founder, has really placed Scandinavia in the center of attention by a true exploration of an amazing range of Nordic ingredients. When I say exploration I mean it! The birthday cake they specially made to me is an example. Instead of using chocolate they use malt cause cacau is not a Scandinavia typical ingredient.
Roderick Sloan, one of its sous chefs, once took two flights and a catamaran ride to the north, to reach the island of Nordskot, in the Norwegian Arctic. There, he dived with his team (yes, dived) to search for natural Urchins.
Is that globetrotting gastronomy? Well, ignoring this diving episode, his search for ingredients really involves foraging among local fields for wild harvest and also the purest possible water from Greenland.
“In an effort to shape our way of cooking, we look to our landscape and delve into our ingredients and culture, hoping to rediscover our history and shape our future”
The concept of providing a real taste of their food’s environment extends to the serving dishes. Some have stones found in the same fields as his produce, or could be served on grasses.
One of our firsts courses was this dish of grilled greens. Just small tasty leaves from all Scandinavia with scallop marinade dressing.
Even though they share a lot of the methods, the sensation is that anyone could never copy it. What really matters is that they shared one passion. They truly believe that everyone that has been through Noma eats shares in part of it success. The front door opens precisely at 19hs, and all visitors are welcome by every sous chef and the entire team.
Noma could have reinvented tradition, as many people say. But for me they have done something Danish. Like design, for ex., simple but brilliant, modest and great. Some details will escape the eyes of an oblivious guest.
Tableware during dinner is all made in wood. It’s not a “show of” to display a humble manner. They really kept using it during ages somehow. In Copenhagen Kids still learn to shape it in Pre School like the Vikings did. It’s just a small lesson to kids. It’s just to learn that nature is good. They are keen to the idea that kids will play in the nature and have “worms in their pockets” by the end of the day.
Therefore serving you in a grass plate could be a small detail, but its part of a great idea that had already been part of the Danes, for centuries. The simple and cozy welcome idea (Hygge) are just something quintessential, and you feel that right after you enter the restaurant, when you get a warm welcome from all the staff.
Have you seen the Noma website? You wont find a list of awards. Showing of they are great, blab bla bla. Again that is just because that could be understood that they are better than the group (of other restaurants) and would affect something that is not social accepted.
See more about the 10 Scandinavian social rules, or Law of Janteloven. About Law of Jante
With all that effort everywhere, growing their goods in the backyard, loosing a season creating, experimenting, searching it’s not difficult to assume that Noma could not be much moneymaking.
But though this restaurant now provides a high-end knowledge and expert chefs in the market. Today Copenhagen is home to 21 Michelin stars at 18 star-studded restaurants.
See below the amazing menu we had with wine pairing at Noma
1. Fermented wild plums and wild beach roses
7.New Danish potatoes and lavage
18. Forest flavours, chocolate and egg liqueur
2013 Weiss 6, Franz Strohmeier/ St. Stefan – Weststeiermark
2013 Opok, Sepp & Maria Muster/ Leutschach – Styria
2013 Els Bassots, Joan Ramon Escoda/ Conca de Barbera – Cataluña
2012 Non tradition, Christian Tschida/ Illmitz – Burgenland
2013 Madloba, Domaine des Miquette/ St. Joseph – Northern Rhone
2012 Noselut, AnthonyTortul – Somewhere in southern France.