Unique noma

I love noma. I just do. Of all the places where I have dined until this date, noma is the best one. Noma’s food is brilliant. Nothing more, nothing less. Pure and seducing. Noma’s like a drug.

Skate Wing and Mussel Liquor

Skate wing and mussel liquor with cauliflower in different textures

I wanted to dine at noma this special day, and to ensure that, I had booked my table back in April, almost four months in advance. This time my table was along the side in the middle, still providing full view over the room of the restaurant.
All the dishes were wonderful, well-balanced, sophisticated, innovative and surprising. A bombardment of beautiful picturesque food of the freshest fish, tender and savoury meat, delicate berries, tasty vegetables and frail herbs and flowers with subtlety and elegance. The service was great – especially the service of the sommelier.

Warm Lobster Salad

Warm lobster salad with red current wine and beach herbs

I think my favourite dish was the sweet and outstanding lobster, but maybe I am not quite within my rights saying that, because I eat lobster so rarely, and thus it might just be the scarcity of it that’s flattering me.
As I have written about noma already twice, I want to focus on the elements that surprised me this particular evening.

The Quail’s egg

Quail’s egg

One of the snacks was a bird’s nest with two quail’s egg, which had been smoked and brawned. The head chef, René Redzepi brought them to my table and told us to eat it all in one go. I expected the yolk to be dried because of the way that the egg looked, light brown on the outside. But the yolk was in fact liquid, the dense pulp spread around my mouth. I was astounded.

Oyster and cucumber

Oyster and cucumber

L’amuse bouche

I was completely taken aback when I first ate noma’s food, and I therefore imagined that a restaurant serving such innovative and original food, would be capable of surprising me with matching wines too. So, I decided to go for the set wine menu, to see how well the ensemble would be here.

1980 German Riesling

Interesting and fine wines that matched the food magnificently, I must say. For example the Muscadet that accompanied the appetizer comprising oyster and cucumber being light in colour and delicately fresh in taste. The Grüner Veltliner ice wine was the dessert almost by itself. Thick texture, full-bodied and so sweet but comprising acidity to balance the taste, a wonderful dessert wine, so intense that I could only sip it lightly.

Mosc oxe Tartar and Wood Sorrel

Tartar and wood sorrel with creamed tarragon and juniper

I remember as a child when walking in the woods, the grown-ups told me to pick the wood sorrel that grew in the forest floor and eat the fresh, tasty and green leaves. I would never have thought of finding this ingredient at a top-notch restaurant. In this picture the wood sorrel was brilliant. The dark and pure meat taste of the tartar combined with the dusty flavour of the leaves adding the hidden acidity and extracting taste like a salt. The intense green cream was like candy, and I could have licked the plate clean from it. The image shows how simple it the food is, and this is brilliance, the fact that a few elements can form such pleasure and perception. I wish, I could add a button right here on my blog, so you could sense and experience what I got.

Shoots, Malt and Potatoes

Shoots and malt and potato puré underneath

I was especially keen on the red wine, the only one, the Vosne-Romannée. It was weak on tannin and rich on fruit and fullness and very nice with the goat kid, which was a surprise too, by the way. It’s only my second time that I eat that, and this meat was amongst the finest I have ever had. The texture slightly like lamb, thready and with a taste so delicate like I would never imagine possible for goat’s meat. A bit like veal but finer and with a game flavour to it as well.

There wasn’t really room in my stomach for the cheese, but I just couldn’t say no. One of my close friends had specifically mentioned the cheese, when he dined at noma a couple of years ago. I tasted four different types, three from Sweden and a single Danish one. Wauuw, the Swedes really know how to make cheese! The first one resembled an Italian Parmigiano Reggiano and the taste was very similar. The cheese was a Kvibille Cheddar and seasoned for 24 months. The Danish cheese was a red-lead putty one as far as I remember, and there were also a goat’s milk cheese and a Sødermans Ädel blue roan of cow’s milk. I’m mad about blue roan cheese, all kinds, and this Sødermans was not sharp or ammoniacal in any way. All very delicious cheese.
We got another glass of the same lovely red Burgundy and I learned that you can easily drink red wine with a blue cheese, if the wine doesn’t contain sulphur and thus much tannin. It was indeed gentle velour that swirled around my mouth.

If I must state the single dissonance of this gastronomical concert it has to be with the appetizer; I found the cucumber a bit too acidic and powerful for the oysters. I know it might sound ridicules.

Raspberries and Beet Roots

Raspberries, beetroot and marinated rose hips

You know, I don’t think that I can really mark out any of the dishes to be my favourite one as they were all fabulous. I haven’t described every dish, and this is not an indication of those being not as good, because they were. The Champagne with grapes from nine different vineyards. And the delectable Danish dream and the A. Rousseau’s Vieux Marc de Bourgogne, which both accompanied my coffee. I even forgot to photograph the goat-kid and the delicious blueberries, I love love blueberries, which were completely covered by milk skin. A dark blue and purple course being the masculine counterpart to the pink lady of intriguing sweetness shown above.

A gala performance!

Lights of noma

This evening it actually rained, the sun wasn’t shining, but that didn’t matter. Leaving the place I felt like I was shining myself. Gilded by the Northern light of glittering unique noma.

Thank you, guys – especially to Pontus!

The full menu with the wines 2 August, 2007:

Raw shrimps and green gooseberries
Fresh cream and dill
2005 Domaine l´Ecu (Guy Bossard), Muscadet Sévre & Maine sur Lie ‘Granite’ Magnum, Loire, France

Shoots and malt
Potato puré
2004 Domaine Valette, Pouilly-Vinzelles, Bourgogne, France

Skate wing and mussel liquor
Cauliflower in different textures
1980 Wegeler, Riesling halbtrocken ‘Breg Rotland’, Rheingau, Germany

Warm lobster salad
Red current wine and beach herbs
2005 Mark Angéli (Ferme de la Sansonniére), Anjou Blanc ‘Les Fourchades’, Loire, France

Goat-kid and ”dust” of thyme
Hazelnuts and mushrooms
2002 Domaine Priuré-Roch, Vosne-Romanée ‘Les Clous’, Bourgogne, France

Raspberries and beet roots
Marinated rose hips
2006 Bricco Mondalino, Malvasiva di Casorzo d’Asti ‘Molignano’, Piemonte, Italy

Blueberries and milkskin
Pickled pine tree shoots and sweet bread
2005 Nigl, Grüner Veltliner Eiswein, Kremstal, Austria

15 Responses to “Unique noma”

  • Just back from noma lunch today I must say that I have deep respect for René & co.’s ability to create such unique and surprising dishes. I wonder from where they get their inspiration.

    Thanks very much for your comment, meshuggah!

  • with regards to making a comparison between the fat duck and noma – its a tricky one. they are so different. the only thing they share in common is a distinct focus and confidence. in my opinion noma is better. actually for me it was way way better. in the past month ive eaten in alinea and moto in chicago, tom aikens, and texture in london and bo bech too. noma reigns supreme. actually, and unfortunately, alinea and tom aikens were tied for worst meal of the trip. pretentious, unfocused pap! i hate to say it, and ive only eaten there once, but i think noma might be perfect! third star please!

  • I don’t have any plans on Friday night…
    – joking. No insinuation here 😉

    My advice: Don’t cancel! You never know when it’s possible to go again, and to get a table. As for the food, they might improvise. You never know noma.

    Invite your mom, sister, brother…

  • Thanks for your thoughts.

    It looks the same yes. A shame it’s still the same but then again you seemed pretty satisfied with it.

    The couple we were going with have cancelled, hence we might just change the reservation (if they’re up for it!)

  • Actually, these photos were shot with my IXUS 950 and using the auto mode. My two first visits to noma were documented with my Canon 350D but in daylight as it was at lunchtime.

    This evening it was still quite light when having the first four or five dishes. The lobster image does have a bit of noise and is not as bright as the others. It was dark outside when I got the goat kid, but forgot to snap it (as with the second dessert). The raspberries do have flash. I try to point the flash away from the plate (above it or to one of the sides) to avoid too much reflection. It does not always work. I think is shows well on the camera screen whether it works or not, even though it’s small. So, I would assume that you’ll be able to see right away whether to use the flash or not.
    Hope this helps.

    This evening, by the way, other people were taking photographs too, so in my view you could bring your big camera. I believe that the great noma guys are indeed used to people shooting pictures of the fabulous food.

    Looking forward to Friday? lucky you 😉
    Just checked the menu, it seems the same as I had.

  • Trine,

    how do you get those pictures that good? What kind of camera do you bring, do you have a tripod, do you use flash (or is it during the lighter hours?).

    Any information would be good as I don’t think my ixus will cut it, but bringing my EOS 30D D-SLR might be too much …

  • What a coincidence! Please, write me how you find the Duck and how, in your view, it compares with noma. Please. Good luck!

    🙁 I realise it’s hard to find recommendations for good dining places in Rome.

    Dined out both for lunch and dinner today. Unfortunately nothing to report as it wasn’t more than nice average food. Oh, the wine was good:
    2006 Shàrjs Ribolla Gialla-Chardonnay Livio Felluga
    . Nice fruity and flowery nose and palate, body and balance too.

  • Hi Trine

    yes, I live and work in the UK, actually in Leeds which is in the north of England rather than in London. So can’t offer any comment about Heathrow since I don’t often use it except for long haul flights.

    Fat Duck – by coincidence I have lunch there next month – should be good.

    but rather short on Roman recommendations, has been a few years since I was there so I’ll look forward to your report. 🙂

  • Good evening YKL

    Hm, travelling so far. Didn’t you say that you live in the UK? Could you explain that, please? Are the queues at the security that long now, in Heathrow? Guessing that your base is London.

    Speaking of which, have you been to The Fat Duck?

    I’m checking noma’s menus (least) on a weekly basis. My next visit will have to be a lunch appointment. I’m trying to figure when that can be.

    It moved me to read about the effect noma food have on you. Noma knocks one (me) sideways like no other restaurant have done.

    But Geranium probably goes before that. And La Pergola to try *** which will be a first timer, in late September as I’ll be in Rome for about a week. Have you been to La Pergola or other surprising place in Rome?

    Thank you for your kindness.

  • Hi Trine – yep, 5 visits since Sept last year and one more next month … even *I* can’t quite manage 6 visits in 8 mths – that would be too frequent for the excellent folks at noma to tolerate!! 🙂

    has always been dinner since travelling so far means I never arrive in time for lunch. and menu wise, has been usually been the set menus with a couple of extra surprises because René and Pontus are as generous as they are brilliant.

    Far far too difficult to choose a favourite dish, there are too many highlights, and every visit brings a new discovery and joy – it was the smoked eggs and the razor clam dish on my latest visit. Some dishes had such a powerful impact on me I have been moved to tears!! :-0!

    nope – not been to Geranium …. yet … it’s on the list …

    and finally, please please don’t consider yourself a novice – your blog is too enjoyable for that

  • Allan,
    you risk being addicted. Watch out! 😉

    YKL, amazing. 6 times this year already! I’m jealous! It sounds more like a habit, which may entitle me to ask, do you usually eat the menu or do you go for the specialities? Wow. S i x t i m e s. Both dinner and lunch? I realize I’m a total novice. What’s your favourite dish? I know it’s beyond reason to ask.
    By the way, have you been to Geranium?

    Take care

  • Just back from my 5th visit … and have another one next month which would make it 6 in one year(!) – so yep, it’s no longer a hobby, almost a medical addiction!

    You’re very lucky to have it on your doorstep, and in between my visits, I feel fortunate to be able to enjoy it vicariously through your posts


  • YUM YUM 🙂

    Sounds like you had yet another great experience with Noma. Great pictures, but then again the pictures just show the plates, which are absolutely astonishing. As you state pure simplicity and sheer elegance.

    I cannot wait for August 31!

  • A fellow noma fan! Wow.
    Thank you for your sweet comment! How many times have you been there?

    Yup, I feel like making reservations for some time in autumn just for the peace of mind. I can’t stand the thought of not going back again. I’m addicted.

  • Lovely photos Trine – Thank you. I found your blog when looking for some information on noma which is also my favourite restaurant, in fact the food and hospitality is so fantastic it compels me to return as often as possible – even though I live in the UK!

    Thank you for sharing …

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