Noma Revisited

Wednesday 18 April 2007


I had decided not to write another post on noma. Really, this time I wanted to fully concentrate on the enjoyment of the afternoon alone with my dear mum and beloved baby brother, having lunch at my very favourite Danish restaurant.

My jabbering about how extraordinary noma is, had finally paid off and I had managed to talk (part of) my family into joining me again to this journey to an exploration of the senses.

That is what noma is doing – stimulating my senses. By sense I don’t only mean scent and taste; I mean sight too and, if such exists, the sixth sense. The little things important in life, the little extra that makes you (me) feel good.

The view of noma from my seat

There are flowers everywhere at noma, each table and even at the loo, wild flowers from the Danish country side. There are candle lights too everywhere, which is a very characteristic thing for us Northern people. During the long, cold and very dark winter we light up our homes with tiny flames flickering by the slightest breath of air, this bright light reminding us of the warmer and sunny days we’re all yearning for. Noma has the capability of making me feel at home and relaxed and fully let myself float into this heaven of experiencing the delectable food they create here.

The lunch menu and wine:

“Crudité” and pickled elderberries
Celery juice and dill

Cod, mushrooms
Mead and herbs

Duck breast and ramson
Leek and wild herbs

Glazed sheep’s milk mousse
and sorrel granité

Caramel in different textures
Crumbles and chips of malt

2005 Chardonnay
Jean-Paul Brun

2001 Cabernet Franc
Catherine & Pierre Breton

Lump sucker with seaweed and horseradish

We got the very same table as my first time, the best in the room to me. I enabled my guests to enjoy the view of the harbour and myself to overview the whole restaurant from my corner between two enormous windows.

The snacks and amusing lump fish roe with horseradish, bred crumble and milk soup was the same as I had the last time, and I was glad to see how surprised my two dearest were, just as I was, when I met this innovative kitchen for the first time.

The Art of Cudité

The Crudité was art. I don’t know how the chef and cooks come up with these imaginings, but they must see them inside their head in some way to be able to create such a beautiful plate, adorably colourful. A painting in oil. This is what I mean by stimulation of the sense of sight. So fresh, so crackly and a very good taste. The croutons thin to the extreme and very salt.

Cod with mushrooms and mead

Cod with mushrooms, salt bread crumble and with the mead, which is the yellow sauce that surrounds the fish. Amazing how the mushrooms suited the cod and the mead and the rest of the ingredients the salt rye bread crumple and the herbs matched very well. The Chardonnay I had with it was perfect for the dish, not for the lump sucker. The cod brought out new flavours of the wine and in particular dryness and more volume.

Duck and Ramson with ashed leek

The duck was wonderful, tender, strong sauce, powerful ramson foam, leek rolled in ashes, which didn’t taste as strong as one might imagine, more like a dry and a mild, flat flavour.

The Cabernet Franc had a great odour, powerful blackcurrant, a good taste and much dryness and tannin. In my opinion the long after taste lacked fruit and fullness. It was a bit better after some 30 minutes in my glass but not enough, I believe.

Sorrel granité and cheep’s milk mousse

We got a pre-dessert that sent us all right out into the garden one fine summer day with the lawn mowed minutes before. This green and fresh scent was exactly what I tasted with the green wood sorrel granité. The mousse sugar flake and the green anise on top was marvellous. Again, mixing everything provided the full joy of it.

Caramel and malt dessert

The dessert was a bomb of dark powerful flavours, spiced up with roasted barley and yoghurt to add a bit of sour and salt to the sweetness of the malt. Need I say I loved it?

A part from using the Scandinavian herbs and flowers to a large extend, I find that the essence of noma’s food is the liquid which accompanies each course in one way or another for example being a sauce, a soup or a gelé. It’s these juses that give the finishing touch to the food, the intensity and powerful flavour, mixing them with the other ingredients in the plate takes you out there where you can’t swim any more – close to heaven because of an astounding deliciousness.

The dagger and the sheath

I love that the bread is brought to the table warm and in a felt basket and that the steak knife comes in a dagger sheath. I love the atmosphere at noma and the way that the waiters are friendly, not too formal, but professional at the same time. I love that it makes me warm to think of the sheep’s skin at my back caressing me sitting in the comfortable chair with arm rests. I love that this energy, the sixth sense, I get from dining at noma lasts throughout days.

When I’m visiting noma, somehow the sun is always shining on Copenhagen. Why is that?

good food makes me glad. noma makes me happy.

Really, just like that!

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