Reserving Noma these days is as impossible as it used to be reserving El Bulli few years ago. The worldwide recognition and “world’s best restaurant” title means that people are flying to Copenhagen just for a lunch or dinner. Obviously, I didn’t think twice when Very Good Food proposed tome to go there together. It was my second time at Noma, Trine’s- the 25th! Trine Lai was one of the first bloggers to blog about Noma (if not the first?). It’s also thanks to enthusiasts like her, Copenhagen has become one of the most important gastronomic destinations in the world.
How did the dinner compare to my first time at Noma? Well, it was much longer as we had the big menu, only the snacks’ part took about one hour. (If we count all the snacks and sweets, we had around 30 different “dishes” brought on our table…)
I also think that cooking at Noma has evolved a lot and now it’s more about new and unique tastes than the ideology. They do exclusively use Scandinavian products such as Danish oysters or black truffles from Gotland, but what really impressed me were some fantastic products combinations.
I don’t even know how I would categorize the umami-ish flavours of dried scallops with grains in watercress sauce and squid ink. It was as if squid ink, grains and paper-thin dried scallops were made to be eaten together, but nobody thought of putting them on one plate before. I’ve never had such interesting flavours anywhere in the world.
Sea urchins with dill, cucumber and milk snow were a refreshing homage to the sea, so as the Danish oyster served on stones. The meaty oyster was slightly steamed but tasted like raw.
I also absolutely loved another celebration of umami, fresh cheese with cooked cabbage and herbs.
so as the stone crab with beach mustard served in oil
or slightly smoked then cooked white fish (can’t remember the exact species) with cabbage.
Speaking of the desserts, the pear with a sponge of frozen and aerated pine was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had in my life. Again, very light, fresh and delicious.
We also had all the classic snacks and dishes, such as carrots in a pot, smoked quail eggs, crispy chicken skin toasts with herbs and vinegar dust or the famous beef tartar with wood sorrel and juniper, supposed to be eaten with your fingers.
One of the “snacks” was live shrimps, but I think it was more about the show and “return to nature” philosophy than good food. Fish and crustaceans are normally eaten alive in their natural environment, something to think about.
I would lie if I say that I loved every dish at Noma as it’s also a question of taste, but the whole experience was really memorable. I don’t know if Noma is the world’s best restaurant as I don’t believe in “world’s best” labels in general, but its impact on Scandinavian and other emerging gastronomies around the world is truly powerful and inspiring.