Last week I was in Copenhagen and had one of the most amazing meals. At dinner, we kept gushing about the delicious food and that we were eating at the 3rd 1st best restaurant in the world. How cool is that? The 3rd 1st best restaurant in the world! And with El Bulli toying with the minds and stomachs of obsessive foodies about closing its doors or not, it might soon be the 2nd! ***2010, Noma considered the 1st best restaurant in the world.
Before I go on about the meal, let me preface by saying that I'm not a huge fan of fine dining. And a huge bill at then end does not a meal make. I hate tablecloths, feeling pressured into drinking expensive wine, and servers that list off an endless list of ingredients. Oh, and I the excessive use of hate foams.
Dinner at Noma was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had. The food tasted delicious, but at the same time was innovative and inspiring. Foods weren't morphed beyond recognition and I didn't feel like the cooks in the back had turned into scientists. There is absolutely a science to food, and this is apparent at Noma, but I've sort of missed the boat on excessive molecular gastronomy. The chefs and stagieres
but also help run the food to the table. After meeting most of the stagieres the night before - (yes, they cooked, a simple meal by Noma standards, but, of course, passed around a pastry bag filled of herb emulsion...I love eating with chefs!), and again for smørrebrød the next day (best thing about touring a city with a chef is that they know where to go to get some good grub, no tourist traps or money wasted on crap food) - I really enjoyed having them explain the food they cooked for service. Each of the stagieres, who come from all corners of the world, were so excited about the food being produced in the kitchen. There was a wine pairing, but more importantly there was a juice pairing! I don't like drinking too much alcohol so was pleasantly surprised with a new juice every few courses. They started me off with cucumber juice, followed by apple pine, carrot, seabuckthorn (my new favorite thing and more on this in a future post), celery, lingonberry, elderflower, and sorrel. At Noma there are no tablecloths, lots of wood, stone, and candles. It is understated, comfortable and elegant.
I tried to remember everything, but I know I've missed some. At Noma, Nordic ingredients take center stage, and no, that doesn't mean salmon, herring, and lingonberries are the stars of the show. Some real magic comes from Noma's test kitchen pictured here:
And what cook wouldn't be inspired if the test kitchen was on a boat!
Apologies for dark food pictures...I despise taking pictures at restaurants, and of course we know the evils of flash, but I had to document this meal. I was eating at the 3rd best restaurant in the world for goodness sakes!
So it goes a little something like this...
We started with a few snacks.
Sorrel with speck and blackberry, then this seabuckthorn and carrot leather with pickled elderflower:
Pressed chicken skin with smoked cheese, dill and lumpfish roe and crisp rye bread (this was an instant where I got too excited and gobbled up my snack, and then remembered I was trying to document my meal with pictures). Quickly forgotten when this smoked quail egg arrived, served in this custom made egg!
I think I might consider flying back to Copenhagen just to have another serving of this herb toast with cod roe emulsion and fresh herbs dusted with vinegar powder, topped with the thinnest bit of crispy duck fat:
When I first sat down at the restaurant I could smell this truffle dish being served at another table and because we had no idea what we would be served I had my fingers crossed that this would be included in our meal...Salsify wrapped in milk skin with Swedish black truffle: