Photography and words by Ling Qian.
Forget the potency of three Michelin stars, the numerous
number one positions on the San Pellegrino's top 100 list and forget all the
other awards Noma has received in their lifetime, as awards can sometimes
pigeon-hole a restaurant and the diner into a position where the experience
isn’t experienced. Instead, I implore you to dine there without any
preconceived notions and expectations of what Noma should be like, because, I
assure you it is much better this way. However, there will always be those that
are inclined to read reviews (much like right now), follow awards and check out
the critics, and even if you do, you still won’t be disappointed.
Course 2: Vegetable platter, flat bread and ant paste, pickled quail egg and a black currant berry.
If there was ever a restaurant that has reached culinary
nirvana, Noma has. I don’t mean to say that Noma is perfect, certainly no
restaurant is, but Noma has something that you don’t see very often. It is hard
to describe exactly what it is, other than to say that there is almost a
spiritual flow when one enters the restaurant. Everyone knows exactly what they
are doing and where they need to be, it’s very much like watching a dance,
where Chefs and waiters all work together in synergy and harmony to give the
diner the ultimate gastronomic experience.
Course 3: Radish pie.
From the moment my foot crossed the threshold, I knew I was
in for a dining experience like no other and certainly different from the one
in Australia, not better, not worse, just different. Different like how a new
place makes you feel, nervous but whole, excited but cautious. The first
impression of a restaurant can make or break your experience and it’s deflating
to see restaurants get this wrong, time and time again; but at Noma it was
delightful to see it done right – with no need for a second chance! I was
immediately greeted by half of the staff with smiles and waves welcoming me
into Noma like I was some long lost cousin they hadn’t seen in decades. After
the initial greeting I was ushered to my seat and promptly served with a glass
of NV Rose de Saignee Christophe Mignon Festigny – Champagne before the courses
Course 9: Crisp of wild roses and Danish peas.
I’m not going to bore you with a laborious, painstakingly
written description of every single dish that was served, I would rather try
and explain the overall taste and feel of Noma. There are a few phrases that
come to mind during my dining experience: sustainable, no wastage, foraging,
bloody tasty and every now and then, huh? Not being a native to the
Scandinavian region, there were plenty of interesting ingredients that I had
not heard of and I’m quite certain the local populace would be scratching their
heads too when dining at Noma. However, I think that’s exactly what Chef and Owner,
René Redzepi was aiming for; to awe and perhaps shock people’s tastebuds.
Course 15: Moss cooked in chocolate, a leaf of honey and water mint egg liqueur.
I’ll highlight a few of the dishes that did this, such as
the sweet lobster with lavender and rose oil as well as the moss cooked in
chocolate. Other dishes like the steamed King crab in egg yolk have such an
intense and powerful flavour that it was hard to stop myself from licking the
bowl clean! In particular, the cooked, white asparagus with barley and caviar
as well as the grilled baby cucumber with Summer herbs and cream, truly tasted
like a lush green forest with everything that nature has to offer. Simply put,
paying homage to Mother Nature is what René does best.
All I can say is, do yourself a favour and try out René Redzepi's new restaurant once it opens.