A new wave of creativity at Noma
20 dishes without any use of meat or seafood. That was the challenge that Rene and the rest of the crew at Noma gave them self. The hardest one so far according to Rene, which I think everybody can understand.
As the restaurant was all dressed up to seafood season so was the case for vegetable season where the decorations were was changed completely for the vegetable season with a hops plant climbing the wall and a tomato plant taking center stage in the dining room. The dinner however started in one of the greenhouses with a glas of amazing cider and just walking around taking in all the wonderful smells and impressions.
With the second menu at the new location Noma allowed them self to draw on their past and why not when the legacy is that good. We were to see this with the first dish. A potato “juice/soup” that was placed in a pot of thyme. Drinking it therefore required that you put your entire face into the thyme and smelling them while you had the soup. A dish that was more creative than delicious.
A small dish of flowers and sea buckthorn leather. I loved the acidity from the rose oil on the flowers and the texture and same acidity from the sea buckthorn was equally good. Two amazing bites with very different textures and equally beautifull of course.
Next bite was a small seaweed tart served together with preserved “UFO squash” and various herbs and pickled elements from pinecone to lemon thyme bringing various flavors to each bite.
A whole grilled onion was placed on our plate. The second and last “Noma classics”. A whole grilled onion was served with a thyme juice and egg yoke garum. Sweet, smoky and just a bit of umami all at the same time. A very delicious dish that has only gotten better in this upgraded version.
With the next two dishes a few spices were introduced. First with a cucumber dolma made of grilled cucumber skin and filled with parsley crème. It had an amazing texture making it a great snack In general the next line of dishes was very strong.
For me the next dish was one of the highlights. A quail egg with a vegetable chorizo made with dried plum and rosehip and a lots of spices from anise to their favorite chili and of course smoky elements. I just loved everything about this dish from the soft texture of the egg, the leathery texture of the sausage and its complex flavors. Just wow.
Wow was also a fitting word for the next dish. A good way to introduce some umami in the menu and at the same time use some coveted ingredients preserved morels were served with a mushrooms butter. The dish was so rich, smooth, classic and delicious all at the same time. Who knew that Noma also could do classic flavors that amazing?
From rich and smooth to crispy in the form of tempura flowers with a whiskey egg nog. I liked the idea of the dish and the transition in the menu but for me it was just a bit too salty.
The next item on the menu was strait out of the test kitchen. Baby corn with blackberries and a blackberries juice. The combination was too sweet for my taste.
A ceviche of ripe and unripe strawberries with fresh tiny cucumber and a sweet and acidity juice blew me away. It was so pure and just dam delicious. Perfect in the warm Danish summer. The inspiration from Mexico was obvious.
Mexico was also in my thought on the next dish consisting of a potato flatbread with different herbs and sauces. Difficult to eat but delicious if you like coriander, which played a big part.
From Mexico we were going back to Europe with more lcassic flavors in a dish of preserved Australian truffles in a union with a burned milk skin. Pure umami and pure deliciousness.
From this we moved on to a small honey infused “juice” with flowers and bee pollen. In the form of small crunchy bits. Served in a honey cup naturally. A nice move from the previous umami rich dish.
The next dish is probably the one that sums of the last 5 years of Nomas development best. With inspiration from Mexico came a walnut, seaweed and ant mole with a pumpkin seed tofu with clear inspiration from their pop up in Japan. It was just an amazing dish and I loved the light and silky texture as well as the fusion of cuisines.
One of the highlights were to end the salty part of the menu in the form of celeriac kebab sliced extremely thin with truffle as well as an extremely rich truffle sauce that was just so dam delicious. It was therefore only fitting that they came around with the sauce one last time when they served the bread and of course left the pot there. A dish proving that it is more than possible to do a rich and delicious vegetable dish.
First dessert was a refreshing bowl of “sour milk” with flowers. A refreshing start of the desserts.
Noma have a preference for creating desserts with taste of marzipan from plumkernels. Since I don’t share this love regardless of how perfect they otherwise may be the desserts are just not for for me, which was the case for the ice-cream sandwich where the “Shell” was made with mold and the icecream was a sweet “marzipan”. How they do the mold shell is beyond me this is beyond me, but I bow my heads.
The last serving was to be yet another serving in a pot only it wasn’t a pot but a cake made of Brown cheese, roses and lemon verbena. Refreshing meets rich in a delicious way.
For me a dinner at Noma can be compared to Christmas Eve. You are curious, you have a sense of what the night is going to bring, but you never really know as it is always full of surprises, you reunite with friends and family and after the evening is over you are filled with great food and amazing experiences. This year Noma is full of even more surprises than usual with the 3 distinct seasons: seafood, vegetables and the forest.
Before eating at Noma I had so many questions: how do you create variations in flavor with only vegetables, how do you create a flow in the stream of vegetables so that it doesn’t just feel like snacks and starters and would you be full at the end of the night?
After 20 some dishes the answer to all of these is that you have to use all of your skillset, look beyond the traditional New Nordic flavor palate and introduce spices and look beyond the Nordic countries to use truffles to create an umami bombs.
With that many dishes not everything was amazing but as always the highlights were mindblowing and the entire concept worked fantastic. The highlights were both in the lighter sections as the ceviche as well as the heavy ones in form of the shawarma and and truffles. The creativity and the use of spices as well as umami and more heavy dishes in the form of truffles and the celeriac shawarma blew me away.
The service flows like a well orchestrated ballet where the eyes of the waiters glance at your your plate (not stare) every time they pas by to check if you are ready to move on, the juice pairing is out of this World, the wines are great and the food is some true unique with the new concept. Needles to say I loved it.