">

Noma The Most Influential Restaurant in the World

Noma is the most influential restaurant in the world. Chef René Redzepi has obtained a legend status among chefs. His evergrowing alumni of chefs are opening amazing new restaurants everywhere. Noma is short for Nordisk Mad, and this new Nordic restaurant in Copenhagen has been voted the no. 1 restaurant in the world four times on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. Currently, it’s rated no. 3, behind no. 2 Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy and no. 1 El Cellar de can Roca in Girona, Spain. Every year that the Michelin Guide does not award Noma the third star, there’s an outcry from a large group of people. How can a restaurant that has such a position on this planet not be a three-star restaurant?

Noma in the sun
Noma in the sun
Well, the explanation may simply be that Noma does not represent stability and reliability over time, which is one of the characteristics the Michelin inspectors are looking for. Last year Redzepi took his team to Tokyo and made a pop-up dinner in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for two months. This year he has built a restaurant in the area of Barangaroo in Sydney, Australia. The full team of chefs, sommeliers, waiters and even some of their spouses have all been airlifted Down Under. For nearly 10 weeks they have operated Noma Australia. Today is the last day, and I have a table with some fellow foodies at 8 o’clock local time. It’s easily one of the most expected meals of the year, considering the overwhelming amount of top reviews.
René Redzepi, the man, the myth, the legend
René Redzepi, the man, the myth, the legend
Plums and rose hips
Plums and rose hips
I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to finally share the meal I enjoyed at Noma in Copenhagen late last summer. This was my second time dining at Noma, and my first time having lunch here. I was accompanied by Vinstudinen. It was one of the most memorable days of 2015, where we started off with a run in the park before we headed to Noma for our lunch. We dined and drank for six hours straight, including half an hour sunbathing outside the restaurant in between the savory and sweet dishes, and a tour of the kitchen and the entire premises.
Table decorations
Table decorations
Fresh berries and lemon thyme
Fresh berries and lemon thyme
2007 La Sauvage, Dufour par Charles, Champagne
2007 La Sauvage, Dufour par Charles, Champagne

Later on, we rode our bikes up to Jægersborggade for a glass of wine at Terroiristen, followed up by the second wine bar in that street – Antitode. Around the corner, in Stefansgade, we met up with Jon Due Roe who runs the taco truck Yuca Taco. He was closed for service, but told us he was headed to a late-night event. Our bikes brought us further east to Østerbro, for the dinner reservation at the amazing rooftop restaurant and urban farm Stedsans. Finally, we cycled the seven kilometers to catch up with Jon and Yuca Taco. What a night! You can watch my entire Snapchat story from this day if you are curious. I will also do separate posts about these places.

The sourdough with virgin butter. Served warm in a woolen basket. Refilled whenever you empty it. The butter is amazing, with a slight acidity to it. Freshly delivered from the famous Butterviking
The sourdough with virgin butter. Served warm in a woolen basket. Refilled whenever you empty it. The butter is amazing, with a slight acidity to it. Freshly delivered from the famous Butterviking
Cabbage leaves and white currants
Cabbage leaves and white currants
Front of house manager, Australian Katherine Bont
Front of house manager, Australian Katherine Bont

Now, let me get back to the Noma lunch. When we arrived at Strandgade 93 on our bikes, we were met outside by the front of house manager Katherine Bont and the restaurant manager James Spreadbury. They always do this at Noma, towards all their guests. Last time it was the head sommelier Mads Kleppe who waited for us in the door. That’s why I knew Katherine was going to be our main water of the evening this time. Lucky us! She is such a great person. When we entered the restaurant we got the famous Noma greeting. Every single person in the restaurant, chefs, and waiters, including René Redzepi himself, stops whatever they are doing to welcome each guest as they arrive. Totally unique in the restaurant world.

The restaurant manager, the Australian James Spreadbury
The restaurant manager, the Australian James Spreadbury
Sweet peas, milk curd and sliced kelp. A visually stunning dish, but not my favorite flavorwise
Sweet peas, milk curd and sliced kelp. A visually stunning dish, but not my favorite flavorwise
Turnip juice
Turnip juice

On this beautiful Saturday, we were fortunate enough to also have Mads Kleppe available at our table. We couldn’t decide if we wanted the wine or juice pairings, so Mads offered to give us half glasses and try a bit of both. A great idea! The juice pairings at Noma are really spectacular. Maybe the most daring combinations I’ve experienced. Some of them are quite heavy and rich, others are lighter and sweet. As for the wines, Mads is all about natural wines, and I loved the bottles he had selected. You should check out Vinstudinen’s much more detailed article on the liquid delights we enjoyed this afternoon.

Linn enthusiastically discussing wine with our sommelier Mads
Linn enthusiastically discussing wine with our sommelier Mads
Grilled onion. Reminded me of the leek at Ylajali, of course, but this one is even simpler. There's only the sweetness and textures of the onion itself to balance the dish.
Grilled onion. Reminded me of the leek at Ylajali, of course, but this one is even simpler. There’s only the sweetness and textures of the onion itself to balance the dish.
Grilled baby corn with egg yolk and beef marinade. I am usually not a big fan of baby corn, but this was taking it next level...
Grilled baby corn with egg yolk and beef marinade. I am usually not a big fan of baby corn, but this was taking it next level…
Salt-baked New Danish potato and nettle
Salt-baked New Danish potato and nettle

My previous and first visit to Noma was in the autumn of 2014 on my 30th birthday. Obviously, it was a great evening. However, I have to say the experience was lifted quite a few levels during this lunch. This is the meal that truly made me fall in love with Noma. Can you believe that Katherine had made sure I didn’t get one single dish during this lunch that I had already tried for dinner a year ago? That’s the level of care that the Noma team has for details. Although, when I saw another table get the bone marrow taco that I remembered so fondly from my last visit, I had to ask for it. Luckily, they had some spare ingredients and were able to make it for us.

Kølster Mandarina Øl
Kølster Mandarina Øl
The famous flower tart. In some sense this is the quintessential new Nordic dish
The famous flower tart. In some sense this is the quintessential new Nordic dish
Mulberry and rose! Which reminded me I still haven't found the 200-years-old Mulberry trees in the King's Garden, which I've read somewhere that René Redzepi recommended to check out
Mulberry and rose! Which reminded me I still haven’t found the 200-years-old Mulberry trees in the King’s Garden, which I’ve read somewhere that René Redzepi recommended to check out

I expect many people will think that a restaurant like Noma, with the rating and reputation they have, is a very formal and strict restaurant. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I would dare to say that Noma is about as casual a restaurant as you can find. There’s no white tablecloths or silver wear anywhere to be seen. Of course, many people will naturally dress up a bit, but there is certainly no dress code. I’ve seen people in the silliest of garments. This one guy looked like he was wearing a one-piece. I guess sometimes rich people think they can dress and act however they want. Smart casual should be a minimum for any restaurant I would say. Leave your tracksuits and flip-flops at home.

Fresh Norwegian sea urchins
Fresh Norwegian sea urchins
Cutting open the sea urchins
Cutting open the sea urchins
Sea urchin and hazelnut oil. Sea urchins to me has a funky flavor, that I can't seem to get accustomed to. Thus, the garnish is everything, and Noma really nailed it with this version.
Sea urchin and hazelnut oil. Sea urchins to me has a funky flavor, that I can’t seem to get accustomed to. Thus, the garnish is everything, and Noma really nailed it with this version.

What truly makes Noma such a casual and wonderful restaurant, though, are the people who work there. Again, given Noma’s amazing position in the world of cooking, you might maybe imagine the staff to be somewhat arrogant or smug about it. It’s actually the complete opposite. The waiters will talk to you like a colleague and treat you like a friend. If you have any questions they will happily answer them and might even tell you stories about the wine producers or some unique produce. If there’s an issue of some sort, they will go to extreme lengths to help you. I have the perfect story to illustrate that.

Mahogany clam, this thing could be 150-200 years
Mahogany clam, this thing could be 150-200 years

During my first visit to Noma in 2014, my father was at the table. Early in the meal, he realized he had lost his cell phone. Mads Kleppe noticed there was a disturbance at the table, which stole attention from the meal. He asked us what had happened and where we had been previously. Then he ordered us to please try to enjoy our meal to the fullest while he looked into the case. Ten minutes later we had almost forgotten all about it when Mads casually strolled past the table and placed my dad’s phone next to him without a word and walked away. Of course, Mads had called the wine bar Ved Stranden 10 from whence we came, asked them which taxi company they used, called the taxi company and got hold of the driver. We never saw the bill of the return taxi trip either. Simply amazing service.

2013 Lysegrøn, Franz Strohmeier, No 2, Trauben, Liebe und Zeit
2013 Lysegrøn, Franz Strohmeier, No 2, Trauben, Liebe und Zeit
Pumpkin, rose petals & caviar. My dish also got a visit from a little friend, as the bees in the hive outside Noma were acting up
Pumpkin, rose petals & caviar. My dish also got a visit from a little friend, as the bees in the hive outside Noma were acting up

Meanwhile, back to the future of 2015, Linn and I were enjoying our meal when a bee decided to land on my dish. We called our waiter over, mainly to ask if this was a replacement of the ant dish they used to have on the menu. Katherine checked outside and found that the Noma garden bees were acting up. Something was disturbing them, possibly their queen. The restaurant manager James ran along to find a container for the bee. However, before he could return, and to my surprise, Linn caught the bee with her hands! She carried it outside and let it go, and when she came back she told me that she is allergic, but it would never sting her…

We had unexpected visitors inside the restaurant when the bees in these hives got a bit too excited over something
We had unexpected visitors inside the restaurant when the bees in these hives got a bit too excited over something
Carrot juice
Carrot juice
Preparing the lobsters for the taco!
Preparing the lobsters for the taco!
Chopping the lobster brains
Chopping the lobster brains

When Noma returns from Australia they will open for service again in May. You may have read about the 108 at Noma pop-up that is taking place in their venue while they are gone. By the end of the year 2016, the adventure in Strandgade 93 comes to an end. Noma is closing! They will reopen, most likely in the summer of 2017, in an amazing new location. It’s located just 1 kilometer further out on Refshaløen. Closer to restaurant Amass. Currently, it’s an abandoned building, all covered in graffiti, and only inhabited by empty beer bottles and the odd hobo. I was there to see it with my own eyes. I’m sure it will be a great place once it’s finished. Redzepi has revealed that he wants to build an urban farm out there.

The best dish I ate in all of 2015! Lobster wrapped in a milkskin. A caramelized flavor, and amazing juices!
The best dish I ate in all of 2015! Lobster wrapped in a milkskin. A caramelized flavor, and amazing juices!
We had the wine menu with some added juices. The sommelier Mads was treating us well! 2011 Maynal, Boulanger & Allante, Rotalier, Jura, France and a Rose juice
We had the wine menu with some added juices. The sommelier Mads was treating us well! 2011 Maynal, Boulanger & Allante, Rotalier, Jura, France and a Rose juice
The black garlic flower
The black garlic flower
Black garlic is made into a puree, which is dried and shaped into this flower. It has a leather-like texture
Black garlic is made into a puree, which is dried and shaped into this flower. It has a leather-like texture
Roasted turbot
Roasted turbot
Cabbage juice
Cabbage juice
A brilliant example of the beautiful presentations they do at Noma
A brilliant example of the beautiful presentations they do at Noma
Berries and greens soaked in vinegar for one year
Berries and greens soaked in vinegar for one year
Roasted bone marrow taco. You scrape out the bone marrow, fill up the leafs and decorate with flowers
Roasted bone marrow taco. You scrape out the bone marrow, fill up the leafs and decorate with flowers
Æblerov! We got this beautiful cider all over Copenhagen
Æblerov! We got this beautiful cider all over Copenhagen
Linn Johnsen, aka Vinstudinen, enjoys the sun before we have desserts
Linn Johnsen, aka Vinstudinen, enjoys the sun before we have desserts
The always beautiful Strandgade 93
The always beautiful Strandgade 93
Rhubarb and sheelp milk yoghurt made into an ice lolly
Rhubarb and sheelp milk yoghurt made into an ice lolly
2014 Grains de Folie, Bruno Rachard, Pét Nat!
2014 Grains de Folie, Bruno Rachard, Pét Nat!
Blackberries!
Blackberries!
Sorrel juice
Sorrel juice
Black currant leave and sorrel
Black currant leave and sorrel
Chocolate spray paint
Chocolate spray paint
Chocolate coated reindeer moss
Chocolate coated reindeer moss
Chocolate covered forest flavors
Chocolate covered forest flavors
Homemade eggnog
Homemade eggnog
The art on the wall
The art on the wall
Tim Wendelboe has personally trained the Noma staff in different methods of coffee brewing. Here we are getting a V60 done
Tim Wendelboe has personally trained the Noma staff in different methods of coffee brewing. Here we are getting a V60 done
Linn in the sun
Linn in the sun
We got a nice kitchen tour
We got a nice kitchen tour
The Noma laboratory!
The Noma laboratory!
The fermentation room
The fermentation room
Linn and the only Norwegian chef in the kitchen: 21 year-old Gaute Schartau Berrefjord
Linn and the only Norwegian chef in the kitchen: 21 year-old Gaute Schartau Berrefjord
Lobster brains on the left, shit in the middle and lobster tails on the right side
Lobster brains on the left, shit in the middle and lobster tails on the right side
It's always sad to say goodbye to this place
It’s always sad to say goodbye to this place

Have you ever been to Noma? Please share in a comment below, or if you will try to get a table before they close in 2016.

15 comments

  • Looks like you got a perfect mix of dishes! I had many of the same, but also many I would have switched for example the lobster taco! Do you know what they used the lobster brains for?
    Looking forward to reading about your visit to their pop-up in Sydney. I’ve heard so many great things about it, it looks simply amazing what they are doing down there. A once in a life time experience! Rene said himself, that it will be many years before the next pop-up because of their relocation plans. Would be amazing to book a table for the last service at Strandgade 93. Probably impossible, but I might give it a go.

    • The lobster brain was used in a sauce for the taco I think. I talked with Rene about this particular dish now at the Australian pop-up, and he said it was only on the menu for a week. Very lucky.

  • Nydelig innlegg! Kunne ikke ha vært noe bedre. Skulle ønske jeg fikk muligheten til å spise der. Visste ikke at de skulle legge ned i år. Blir det bare NOMA i Australia da?

    • Neida, Noma Australia er ferdig. Det var en pop-up. Noma København gjenåpner i mai. De har åpent ut året i Strandgade 93, så flytter de restauranten en kilometer og gjenåpner sommeren 2017.

  • Yes, I have dined at Noma. Any recommendations for vegan restaurants for foodies in Oslo?

  • Hi Anders,
    來自台灣的問好 ! (Hello from Taiwan)
    Your blog is awesome !
    I’m heading to Copenhagen to try Noma 2.0 and
    get lots of useful information from what you wrote.
    Just want to say thank you !
    BTW, I’m planning to stay at Tromso for 6 days,
    do you have any recommendation there ?
    Kenny

    • Hi Kenny. Thanks! Writing my Noma 2.0 story as we speak. Did you see my video? And you found my Copenhagen map?

      In Tromsø, check out Smak, Bardus Bistro, Mathallen Tromsø, Risø kaffe og mat, Casa Inferno, Emmas Drømmekjøkken, and Hildr. Enjoy Denmark and Norway!

      • Yes, your Copenhagen map is pretty and helpful.
        I’ve been searching for Copenhagen’s food information for a while.
        I’d rather grab some opinion from local foodie instead of Michelin guide.
        And here it is !
        Thanks for your great work and suggestion!
        I’ll try those restaurants in Tromsø.
        BTW, I saw your Noma 2.0 video just few seconds then close it immediately.
        I just don’t want to know too much details otherwise it will spoil the surprise especially
        for such exciting dining experience.
        I’ll check it out when I’m back.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.