Arrivederci Noma

Today the most influential restaurant in the world shuts down. It will open elsewhere in 2018. A deep analysis of the last menu, dish by dish

24-02-2017

The complex mise en place for Roasted bone marrow, a dish from the last tasting menu at Noma in Copenhagen. Rene Redzepi’s restaurant will open again, not before 2018, a few km to the north of the current location (photo by Zanatta, English translation by Slawka G. Scarso)

Photogallery

The traditional welcome at Noma: the chefs from the service kitchen greet the guests. In the middle, Italian Riccardo Canella, who will help us describing the last menu in detail (photo gallery by Luca Iaccarino and Gabriele Zanatta)
Warm broth of cloudberries. It’s the last welcome dish at Noma. It’s cold outside but as soon as you sit inside, you get warm thanks to this hot broth made with cloudberries enriched with rhubarb root oil. You dip a bouquet of hay, lemon thyme and mountain pine. Corroborating
Riccardo Canella brings a preview of what will follow
It’s a dish with seafood, including a huge (and alive) king crab, sea urchins and oysters

Tonight, after 13 years and 3 months, the curtains will fall over Noma in Copenhagen. Eighty guys will prepare the last service in the ex salt warehouse, at 93 Strangade. A party will follow. It’s not a farewell, as the restaurant will reopen in an urban farm a little to the north.

As they said, with this project restless Renè Redzepi will continue his escalation, after reaching the top of the World’s 50 Best four times (in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014). The official date for the new opening is set in December 2017; it is very likely this will take place early in 2018 as works and permits are still far away.

Until then, there’s the pop-up restaurant in Mexico, the third away game played by the Danish restaurant after Tokyo and Sydney. For 7 weeks, from the 12th April till the 28th May, from Wednesday to Sunday, the hard core of the team in Christianshavn will cook between jungle and Caribbean Sea in Tulum, a village famous among holiday makers thanks to the Maya ruins appearing on a beach of very fine white sand.

For the price of 600 American dollars per person (plus 150 more what with taxes and service), 140 guests per night will be able to taste around 15 courses, including wines (or juices). Only a few more details have become known, «Because Redzepi keeps even us collaborators unaware of many things», reveals Riccardo Canella, Italian sous chef at Noma, «he requires instinct, he likes removing us from our comfort zone». There surely will be tacos, a 20-metre long grill, and the menu will be focused on the rituals of conviviality, which are very popular in Mexican habits, less prone to fine dining.

From the 12th April to the 28th May, Noma will be a pop-up restaurant in Tulum, Mexico. The tasting menu? 750 American dollars per person

From the 12th April to the 28th May, Noma will be a pop-up restaurant in Tulum, Mexico. The tasting menu? 750 American dollars per person

Back to Copenhagen, till Noma 2.0, tonight in fact an era, which began in November 2003, is ending. Over the past few years no other restaurant has had such a strong impact on global fine dining. Redzepi’s concept (both in terms of aesthetics and content) hasn’t just changed the appearance of Copenhagen’s restaurant scene, turned all of a sudden into a European capital of fine dining.

His approach to cuisine (assembled and scarcely “cooked”, following Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli model), foraging and fermentation had a direct or indirect influence on dozens and dozens of restaurants, far beyond Scandinavia and Europe. However, this restaurant model is almost impossible to replicate, given the costs (the food cost is 130 euros per client!). It’s science fiction.

Our photo gallery depicts the final tasting menu in every detail. A dutiful homage.

See also
Noma, the imperfect perfection by Paolo Marchi
Riccardo Canella, the Italian who charmed Redzepi by Gabriele Zanatta
Noma and back by Jessica Natali
Noma Caput Mundi, 80 photos from the 2012 menu by Gabriele Zanatta


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Photogallery

The traditional welcome at Noma: the chefs from the service kitchen greet the guests. In the middle, Italian Riccardo Canella, who will help us describing the last menu in detail (photo gallery by Luca Iaccarino and Gabriele Zanatta)
Warm broth of cloudberries. It’s the last welcome dish at Noma. It’s cold outside but as soon as you sit inside, you get warm thanks to this hot broth made with cloudberries enriched with rhubarb root oil. You dip a bouquet of hay, lemon thyme and mountain pine. Corroborating
Riccardo Canella brings a preview of what will follow
It’s a dish with seafood, including a huge (and alive) king crab, sea urchins and oysters
Apple of the season
Apple of the season. Once you open the shell, many small apple parisienne appear in a juice made with centrifuged, clarified apple scraps, seasoned with verbena and thyme. There’s also a purée of apples fermented in broth. The dish is finished with oxalis flowers, tagete and oil of blackcurrant wood, made by beating the blackcurrant branches with a hammer, so as to extract their essential oils. A very pleasant dish despite its complex idea.

"The first time I saw it ", added Canella, "I was struck because it reminded me of the stuffed apples they used to make at restaurant Bulesca in Selvazzano, Padua, in the early Eighties. Except in that case it was filled with rolls made with granny smith apple and prosciutto from Montagnana" 
Fresh sliced scallop. It’s a scallop taken from the fish tank and shelled a few moments before serving it. It is then sliced, brushed with a reduction of vegetable whipped butter with cucumber centrifuge juice, then reduced, and piso broth (that is to say miso with dehydrated peas).

The technique is the same used for the broth ice-clarification made famous in the Nineties by Heston Blumenthal at Fat Duck: you freeze the broth then hang a table cloth so as to obtain the “pure” part of the liquid. A trick that adds the same satisfying sensation of a meat jus to a vegetable broth. The scallop is finally dipped into a classic mussel broth. An incredible mouthful of seafood and umami
A Winter Platter. Hidden among the leaves, are four edible tastings
He sums up in just one dish 4 snacks that he might would have served separately a few years back. A fun and tasty idea. In detail:

At 6 o’clock: Pear pressed in fermented red gooseberry with fully ripe common sea buckthorn. It’s a rather tart ensemble made sweeter by piso (again miso made with dried peas) seasoned with coriander seeds (supplied by Redzepi’s historic supplier Soren Wiuff). The external thinner leaf is a peel made with chicken broth and beech leaves preserved in vinegar.

10 o'clock: crispy black currant leaf-shaped sandwich, seasoned with yogurt, kombucha, elderberry flowers and red oxalis 

12 o'clock: malt branch with nasturtium leaves, creme fraiche, salt aromatised with pine and ants

4 o'clock: black garlic leaf with salt aromatised with kelp, a Japanese seaweed 
A detail of the malt branch, with well visible ants. At Noma, the study of the aromatic contribution given by formic acid to dishes continues. And even the service acquires elegance: in the past you might have seen ants floating in a few dishes. This is no longer the case
A Tupperware from the "ant library", on the first floor at Strangade
Radish pie. It’s an emblem of the latest menus at Noma. It’s been in the menu for almost a year. In the crunchy disc on the bottom there’s kelp seaweed and a vegetable reduction made with coriander pesto. The radish roses (22, no more, no less) were pressed in beetroot juice. Another formidable tasting