Strandgade 93, Copenhagen, 1401
Tel:+45 3296 3297
Nearest metro: Christianshavn

So, Noma restaurant in Copenhagen has been named the best restaurant for the third year running, and we thought this would be an appropriate time to share with you some of the pictures we took during our visit there. Glen’s brother Shaun managed to get a reservation after some reservations-hotline camping and we were immensely lucky to have gotten the booking when we did. Copenhagen was bright and sunny when we arrived, and the waterfront in Christianshavn where the restaurant is couldn’t have looked any cheerier. The food itself was an experience. Noma doesn’t really follow the traditional Michelin restaurant mould, which has always been partial towards the French-style dining and the hundred million cooking processes it subjects its food to. Contrarily, Noma subscribes to a forager’s philosophy, and head chef Rene Redzipi likes serving his food as fresh as it can get. The restaurant still has two Michelin stars, which is an ample testament of its service standards and quality.

Anyway, enough with words. We will let the pictures do the talking, with explanatory captions along the way just in case you don’t recognise certain things as being actually edible.

The meal started out with a series of about 7 or 8 appetisers, each of them more fantastical than the other, but all incredibly tasty. Noma pretty much is the cutting edge of fine dining today, and we think you’ll see why in a bit.

That’s my brother Shaun. The thing he’s putting in his mouth is an edible stem. There was a hummus dip that went together with it. Very fresh, very raw, somewhat refreshing.

We thought the leafy vase above was a tabletop decoration. The brown coloured “stem” nestled within the foliage is actually a bread stick. And it’s edible. Tasted wheaty in our opinion. Intriguing to look at nonetheless.

Remember our warning about how some things on the plate might not look edible at first sight? If the waiter hadn’t explained that the planting pot he had put on our table was raw radish in edible (avocado) soil, we would have been bewildered indeed.

Gloria eating the radish. We felt like herbivores, chomping down on raw leaves and organic dips. This is fine dining at its healthiest, not something you can say about Noma’s more traditional counterparts (Cream! Butter! Sugar!). The soil itself was a crunchy ground cookie, and it went really well with the avocado dip and the radish.

We’re not really sure what this was, but the waiter did mention something about ‘deer mold’. Can’t be certain if he was talking about what it was served on or the actual brown edible thing itself.

Like the preceding appetisers before it, it tasted organic and was neutral in flavour. The texture of the mold itself was quite nice though.

Small savoury tarts.

Pickled hawthorne served with pickled rose petals. Readers from Singapore might be familiar with those coin-sized hawthorne wafers that Chinatown grocery stores sell. This is exactly it. We didn’t think we’d find a childhood candy snack so far away from home!

Herbal tart with a deep fried chicken skin on top.

Smørrebrød, which is a danish open-faced sandwich. The ritual rugbrød base has been placed on top with chicken skin at the bottom and hay-smoked cheese blended with dill and lumpfish roe in between. It sounds as good as it tastes.

Smoked quails egg on a bed of hay. We recommend putting the entire thing in your mouth and chewing at it slowly. The scent of smoked hay has a lovely way of percolating through the nostrils and the back of the throat.

And that concludes the appetisers. You can imagine that by this time we were all well sated and waiting for the main courses to arrive.

Razor clam in parsley gel and dill sauce

The breakfast of Viking champions: Air-dried scallop and watercress, biodynamic cereals and beech nuts

Danish Beef Tartare and watercress leaves & pea puree

Juice pairings to go with the meal. This was a revelation, and really good for us because 3 of the 4 of us at the table that day don’t drink! (from left: Apple and Pin; Kiwi; and Lingonberry juice)

Langoustine Tail with purple Icelandic salt (söl) dust and mayo

This dish was creatively called the “Oyster in the Ocean”. It was served in a small cast iron pot with rocks and seashells, the point being to bring the scent of the ocean to you as you ate the oyster.

White asparagus smoked in pine leaves. As much as we would love to have tried what pine leaves taste like, we were politely advised against doing so. The asparagus was lovely though.

More juice (from the left: Celery and Hawthorne juice)

Onion done 3-ways – beer and honey, buttered, and blanched with tapioca pearls and cheese

Veal sweet meat in new shoots and peas.

Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs! Duck Eggs with herbs, put together at the table under the guidance of trained Noma staff. What could possibly go wrong?

Textured carrots and wild hawthorne parfait. As desserts go this was an innovative use of ingredients. We weren’t really expecting to see carrots and leaves in our ice cream at any point. However, we couldn’t really get ourselves fully behind this dis – it just tasted too raw to be a dessert.

Pine leaf ice cream and a rhubarb quencher –  a really refreshing palate cleanser. Now this was more like it!

Beetroot compote topped with air dried blackberries. This was so nice we were halfway through eating it before Glen realised he hadn’t taken a picture of it yet.

The meal ended off with the petit fours, including a caramelised gum served in the middle of a piece of bone. The chocolate cake and the wafer chip were nice ways to end off the meal as well.

Nice cup’o tea.

We hope you liked the pictures! Noma is a place we’d recommend to the discerning diner. It is not your typical fine dining establishment, in that some of the flavours and techniques used is not conventional to traditional cooking. Noma is an gastronomic experience, and it is possible that some people might not find it entirely to their fancy. Nevertheless, it is a place to go to explore your dining horizons and be treated to something truly special.

“Umami, also known as savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami is a loanword rom the Japanese umami (うま味) meaning “pleasant savory taste”. -Wiki

Denmark is a small country as a matter of population. A nation of slightly under 6 million people, it is remarkable that the country is a world-beater at many things. Of late, this foremost bastion of industrial and aesthetic design has turned its creative attentions toward food. Umami is one of a few establishments that have sprung up in recent years to challenge and tease your culinary palate.

Taking its inspiration from its namesake, this Japanese-fusion restaurant does everything within its culinary arsenal to evoke the fabled 5th flavour on your tongue. There was a healthy dose of kelp, tomato and seaweed in our dishes, a natural approach to a flavour that we normally associate with the ubiquitous MSG found in all sorts of Chinese cooking. Umami was perfectly competent in its conventional Japanese dishes such as the unagi and it’s sushi and maki platter, but it is to its innovations that we shall turn to.

The salmon and deep fried kelp was a revelation of sorts. The savory one-two punch that the salmon and kelp dealt to my tongue left us gobsmacking our lips in delight, nibbling away at the crispy ends of the delectable seaweed like umami addicted squirrels.

There was a clever use of edamame beans and baby tomatoes in the vegetable dish we ordered, once again a combination of flavours and textures to tickle and tease the tongue. However, the foam that covered the foregoing dishes left us somewhat bemused – tasty, no doubt, but a little bit of a retrospective-throwback to the nineteen-nineties, when Gordon Ramsay as a chef was still worth his salt.

The restaurant itself is separated into the bar and lounge area downstairs, and the main and private dining areas upstairs. It is a wonderful place for a social or business drink, greet, wine and dine occasion, and a swanky night out for people of Copenhagen to see and be seen.

København is a beautiful city and we were lucky to spend some time there with the best food and company. We will do a post on the Danish capital real soon, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, here is something to whet your sweet tooth on. Before we left, we popped by the bakery next to our hotel and managed to taste some of these. Are you drooling already?


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