A picture of the outdoor space surrounding Noma, René Redzepi’s super restaurant in Strangade 93 in Copenhagen. The photo was taken on Saturday 27th August, a beautiful sunny day
The building hosting Noma on a beautiful sunny day on Saturday 27th August, on the eve of the fifth edition of MAD5
As in any seafood restaurant on the coasts of Italy and the world, the tray with the catch (in this case from the North Sea) is brought to the table and explained
First apple of the new season, a Golden skin apple opens a superlative lunch
Once open, here are some small spheres of apple immersed in a spirit of rose and apples fermented for two years. Fermentation is an essential word here – and not only here.
Speechless, that’s our reaction in front of these late summer fruits: bottom right (clockwise) a plum wrapped in natural film, fresh hazelnut immersed in hazelnut oil, wild rose filled fruits of the forest and a nasturtium flower filled with blackcurrants
A close up. The dry sound of the hazelnut underneath the teeth was surprising. Four incredible ideas matched with vegetarian cocktails
Mulberries, special ones though, growing on the island of Bornholm, the Danish island east of the heart of the Scandinavian kingdom, between the coast of Sweden and Poland
Radish pie. So beautiful it could easily disappoint. But it didn’t
The person who served this dish, apologising with a smile, presented it as a sort of caprese because of the dried tomatoes and the curdled fresh milk. An important step for Noma: it’s the first time tomato appears in the menu. The dish is finished with white and black currants, colza oil.
A light stew of fruit and vegetables is the name of this delicacy. Broad beans dominate and the overall aroma is given by a cherry juice
Masterpiece: Sea urchin and cabbage, where a cabbage leaf acts as the ravioli pasta, and the filling is made of pure, meaty and intense sea urchins. They come from the icy waters of the seas north of the North Cape
A detail of the ravioli with sea urchins
Langoustine, onion and lavender: after the intense sea urchins a great and delicate balance of scents
Superb and delicious king crab, first steamed and then browned with butter aromatised with langoustine heads. To be tasted using your hands
A view of Noma from outside, with the bridge in the background and plenty of people strolling all around
Crisp of wild plums and peas. Crispy indeed, it crumbled at the first bite. Excellent final touch with thyme and lemon flowers
Crisp of wild plums and peas, just to restate its beauty and deliciousness
Steamed king crab and egg yolk sauce, the meat of the king crab is steamed and served on a daring egg yolk sauce. A meditative dish
At every change of course, a change of cutlery. In front of us a Florentine steak knife. The mind goes in that direction straight away. Then comes the Charred greens with a scallop paste. How about the Laguiole knife? A provocation, of course.
#MADMAD5, just so we don’t forget the reason why were in Copenhagen
Nasturtium, prawns and mushrooms but this is a name I invented because this extraordinary soup is not yet part of the menu so much so it wasn’t indicated in the menu we were handed at the end.
A detail of the previous dish, charming: ravioli made with nasturtium leaves and filled with prawns
A moment of relax
Grilled turbot and sauce of sweet prawns. Imagine a seafood steak, an incredible play with the turbot’s sapid, gelatinous and fat features enhanced by the heat
Cesare Battisti and Cristina Bowerman take a souvenir photo with Renè Redzepi. Attention: the word mad in Danish doesn’t mean crazy but food.
Entering the sweet world with A dessert of sheep's milk and ant paste. The green is due to the sorrel and the sugar is cane sugar. In my opinion ants are pure marketing
Noma’s Grilled rose ice cream and elderflower. The ice cream used for the icing is not chocolate, as one might easily expect, but fermented barley
Fantastic: musk cooked in chocolate and chocolate-porcini.
In Italy one would immediately think of Vov, the egg liquor. It is indeed. Plus elderberry and Gewürztraminer aquavit
An excellent digestif
Here’s Noma’s kitchen garden: a series of boxes on the roof of the containers used for fermentations. In Italy it would be forbidden, regardless of how you work. In the Danish capital you’re supervised but they let you live and work without oppressing and interfering
Edoardo Canella, sous-chef from Padua, explains fermentations to Cristina Bowerman and Cesare Battisti
Garum made with pig’s blood. In Italy it would be impossible to make
The room on the first floor for private events
Cleaning the hazelnuts
The other side of the radish pie. Every day a cook must prepare one by one dozens and dozens of cones, looking exactly the same. Without complaining or ever losing his concentration
A detail of the making of the radish
Everything is stored for the evening service
The lounge on the first floor where the dishes are born. And much more. I have seen no electric or gas stoves. Even on the ground floor, the restaurant one
The corner of the lounge where the staff has lunch and supper
Edoardo Canella, chef from Padua at Noma, in the space where they think and rethink new recipes. «Here is our alphabet», he says opening the fridge
And in Redzepi’s alphabet there are ants as well
The greenhouse, we’re still in the lounge on the first floor
Where art and science fall in love. Of course it happens at 93 Strandgade, at Noma’s
René Redzepi’s awards at the World's 50 Best Restaurants, first in London, and then in New York
The fifth edition of MAD, 28th and 29th August in Copenhagen, gave me the chance to return to René Redzepi’s Noma and visit other places such as Christian Puglisi’s Relae and Baest, who was previously working in the shadow of Redzepi, and for six years now has been successfully taking his road offering a completely different cuisine, even Italian, as we’ll see in a future episode of this Danish diary.
Cristina Bowerman, Cesare Battisti and myself had a very strict schedule. Train or underground from the airport to the restaurant? Underground, then three minutes by taxi since we had bags and suitcases. In Noma’s usual location, in Strandgade 93, it’s as if everything has changed. The fault (or merit, for those who are happy) goes to a footbridge opened in the late spring right in front of the restaurant, which caused a lifting of the entire neighbourhood. Now everything is clean and trimmed, but that layer of past and that sense of distance and abandonment that made everything almost unique is missing.
This is one of the reasons why Redzepi, after another pop up restaurant away from Europe, in 2017 will move to the countryside. He wants to find the environmental purity that the new setting has denied. Meanwhile, his restaurant oozes energy from the very first greeting, shouted, as usual, as soon as the guest comes through the entrance. Waiters have long been abolished. Every dish is served by the person who finished it. A French dining room master would be horrified.
For sure, if our cooks and chefs structured their places the way Redzepi did at Noma, I don’t know how long they’d last. Not because at Noma the place is not clean, not at all, but because the solutions would make those who are used to a different discipline jump from their chairs.
Reviews, recommendations and trends from the four corners of the planet, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose
born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose.