NOMA – Part I
And here I come again today… And it’s not in FRENCH!… Yes, I’m writing in English since I have a lot of friends here and there who asked me to post a review about Noma – which, by the way, won the title of Best Restaurant of the World again in 2012. This way, I can also wave hi to Thomas as well (
Thomas, if you read me…)
And anyway, who reads my blog in France, apart from the 3 friends in Southern France and my family ._.
(oui je sais, je fais ma pleureuse).
Anyway! I started sorting out all the pictures we made during our lunch at Noma, and there are just too many. So so many pictures we took, it’s cwaaaaaazy…. So I decided I would write my memories about our epic meal split in two parts, Part I and Part II
(kinda makes sense, right).
Since we came back, I’ve also had a lot of friends and colleagues asking me how the meal was, if it was really, like, the most delicious and incredible meal of the universe. Like, “c’est bon?”. Well, I don’t think you can really sum up the meal in answering that it was just good. So I never knew what to say, in one sentence.
Mmmm…. Eating at Noma is incredible. Totally. But it’s not like the comfy, easy, right-off-yummy kinda food. It’s nothing like you’ve had before, it’s textures, smells, and flavours I will probably never experience again - probably also because everything is local, and so super fresh too. It’s bold, weird, and magic. Somehow it reminded me of a Tim Burton movie. It brought me to a whole new world, full of amazing discoveries, sometimes tinted with disappointement, even fear (oh the shrimp!), but most of the time, it was pure joy.
For this very special meal, I had made a reservation at 12.30PM, and I guess my beloved one was as excited as I was, since he wanted to show up a little before and walk around the restaurant. I knew the meal would last long hours so lunch was perfect – a Noma day!!! We thought about walking there first, but pouring rain made us decide to take the subway, which was only one station away. We then walked along the street, and I was starting wondering where the hell this place was… “Are we lost?” We then arrived in an area completely deserted next to the water, and right off I can spot the magic sign :
The restaurant is located in a former warehouse, and the room is also not very big – 12 tables, tells us the waiter.
As soon as you step in the restaurant, it really feels like the kitchen is a beehive. So many people in there, walking around, talking and cooking! René Redzepi greets us at the door, I’m kinda star-struck, I’m like “OMG SHOULD I SHAKE HIS HAND?” I finally just say hi, and go pass him. Dammit!
We’re being shown our table, it’s next to the big windows, we can see people walking by outside, the sky has cleared out, there’s no rain anymore, it’s sunny. And I’m excited like a kid in a candy store!!!
We both started with a glass of champagne, it is such a special occasion! The waiter tells us the first appetizer is actually already on the table : in the vase, there are two branches of malted bread to nib on :
It’s pretty, crunchy, green and I just want more of it.
Pretty quickly comes a second appetizer :
The mos comes with a creme fraiche dip, to spread on it.
Who would think about frying some mos, let alone eat it?! It is actually wonderfully airy and earthy at the same time. It’s amazing!!!
A third appetizer comes pretty quickly, another usunual combination :
This is more something I’m familiar with, you find pork skin pretty much everywhere in Asia. Sprinkled with salt, I mainly remember the sourness of the blackcurrant.
Onto the next appetitizer : a plate full of empty mussel shells comes, the waiter tells us there is actually only one for each which is edible; on this only mussel, everything is edible, the shell included, made of rice flour and colored with squid ink.
(I took the picture, that’s why it’s so crappy ._.)
A tin box comes shortly after, we open it and we find 2 little tartlets covered with herbs :
Jeez this feels very herbal. You don’t need one more bite. It’s full of flavours, very green, you feel like you’re rolling around in a meadow.
And now the scary appetizer!
The schrimp is VERY alive. Jumping fresh out of the water o_O. Like they fished it out 10 minutes ago or something. We were advised to grab the shrimp, dip it in the butter sauce and eat it as a whole. When you pass the somehow disgusting feeling you’re eating an animal alive, it doesn’t taste bad at all. Like the North Sea in one bite.
Next comes a fried potato nest with chicken liver :
Somehow I don’t remember much of this dish, more like a normal crispy and classy potato hash brown (forgive me Rene =_=’)
Next a really yummy appetizer :
The chicken skin is incredible, flat and crunchy, yum. And I love lumpfish roe!
Another mini-bite, with some milk skin as a shell. The cod liver reminds me of foie gras. I want a bigger piece.
And now one of the stars of the meal :
Smoky, woody, silky…. Damn! This is REALLY good.
More earthy dishes, next comes a pot with what seems to be some soil at the bottom :
In the pot, some young turnips and carrots in a yoghourt green sauce. It’s a pretty fun dish, you grab the carrot by the leaves and can eat the sauce/soil with a spoon.
Last but not least, one last appetizer before going to the mains :
Cod roe is good…
We are now done with the appetizers!!! I think 2 good hours have gone by by now. I take a deep breath, a sip of wine (a pretty decent Chablis 2009) while hoping this meal is never going to end.
Before the mains, our waiter brings us a bag made of feutrine and 2 sides :
It is Sourdough bread fresh off the oven. Omg!!
One spread is what they call “virgin butter”, it is butter just before it separates with buttermilk. Simply like butter mixed with milk
(aren’t I smart). Quite odd, but interesting.
The second one is pork fat :
This goes pretty well with the sourdough bread. We have to refrain ourselves from stuffing our faces with the warm bread, it is sooooooooo good!
And this is end of Part I. Jeez so many pictures. And we’re only halfway through. At that stage of the meal, so far so good, only looking forward to more fantastic dishes!