Founded in 2004 on the artificial island of Christianshavn, in the middle of Copenhagen’s canals, Noma boasts two Michelin stars and the award for best restaurant in the world according to the ranking of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants”.
The name “Noma” comes from two Danish words “nordisk” and “mad”, which, when translated, mean: Nordic Food. A name that, in its roots, contains the strong desire to create a place that embodies the gastronomic identity of a country and its culture, through the enhancement of the Northern Territory.
The restaurant itself, being inside a former Danish naval warehouse, brings to mind the history and tradition of the Danish people, who first began to sail the seas in search of new cultures with whom to undertake trade. A people, therefore, who built their story on the trade and transport of food, inevitably shaping a society in which the techniques of conservation and preservation of food became deeply rooted. It is from these ancient practices that this gourmet restaurant derives its main research and development, which in recent years through the discovery of fermentation practices and other advanced techniques is able to amaze and surprise, creating nuances of innovative flavour and textures, that have made a restaurant in Copenhagen the best in the world.
It would be simplistic, however, to limit Noma’s identity and contributions to this; in fact, this restaurant, through the development of two terms (“nordisk” and “mad”) led to the revaluation of an entire cultural system, which until a few years ago was considered barbaric, savage and uncivilized. The will of Noma was just to show the cultural importance of the choice of life of northern populations, which was different and distant from the Roman model, more tied to agriculture, included a knowledge of plants and the territory, which could be defined in many ways, but certainly not “barbaric” and “anti-cultural”.
The ability to pick wild herbs and distinguish the edible from the dangerous ones, became the fundamental essence of the cuisine at Noma, where the characteristic vegetation of northern Europe, is ably shown in the dishes.
In this kitchen are the masters of the unique ingredients found in northern Europe, such as lumpfish, the monkfish liver, Mahogany clams, and aronia berries. Ingredients often cooked on barbecue or left raw, cooking techniques that bring to mind, once again, the barbaric model.
Even the preparation and plating report to this concept; cutlery are made of wood or obtained directly from pieces of stem, and the guest is often invited to have the dish using only the hands.
The experience of Noma is priceless, where every dish arouses emotion, reflection and curiosity, it is an experience where each dish is a step towards paradise.
Here are 17 dishes to heaven:
Berries and greens soaked in vinegar for one year
Fermented wild plums and wild beach roses
Oland wheat and virgin butter
The first shoots of the season with scallop marinade
Curdled milk and the firs of garlic in 2015
Sweet shrimps wrapped in ramson leaves
Langoustine and flavours of the ocean
Male and female lumpfish with whole milk
Pumpkin and kelp
Cured egg and the last potatoes
Roasted bone marrow
Aronia berries and sol
Forest flavours, chocolate and egg liqueur
In truth, 17 dishes, and also 7 wines to Heaven. The menu also provides the possibility to combine different wines with the courses that enhance each note of the plate, never cover or confuse. The wines follow the same philosophy of the kitchen, almost entirely natural, underline further the link with the raw material and the desire to enhance the area.
2013 Cours toujours | Domaine du Possible | Lansac | Roussillon
2013 Le Brin de chevre | Le Clos du Tue-Beauf | Touraine | Loire
2013 En Novellin | Les Dolomies | Passenans | Jura
Pige 2012 | Bruno Schueller | Husseren-les-Chateaux | Alsace
2013 Foutre of Escampette | Domaine de l’Octavin | Arbois | Jura
2010 Ribolla | Dario Princic | Oslavje Friuli | Italy
2013 Brutal! | Juan Ramon Escoda | Conca de Barbera | Catalonia
The reality of Noma is a reality in which evolution and research can not be separated from the territory, and deep links to Nordic tradition. A perfect symbiosis also represented by the unique wooden details of the dining room. The impeccable service can be defined as circular. The dishes are always brought to the table by different waiters and chefs. The same cooks explain the dishes to the customer thus minimizing the ideological distance separating the table from the kitchen.
Noma is uniqueness. The uniqueness of Chef René Redzepi who had the courage to believe in its roots and its culture, creating a place that in ten years has managed to change the world view of the Nordic cuisine.