maître d’ - Noma, Copenhagen
Written by James Brennan
It was once branded ‘the stinking whale’, but Noma’s naysayers have since had to eat their words. The little restaurant overlooking Copenhagen’s harbour has not only revolutionised Nordic cuisine, it’s taken the world by storm.
Noma’s success is partly down to its ingenious reinvention of local and natural ingredients. Spearheading a movement in new Nordic cuisine since 2004, it shuns such imports as olive oil, foie gras, and sun-dried tomatoes, and instead embraces sustainably sourced Nordic treasures – from young vegetables and pulses to fresh seafood and wild herbs. The 18th-century warehouse setting and pared-down interiors are suitably clean and uncluttered. But it’s the food that’s making the gourmet world wake up and take notice of Noma.
Raw baby radishes and carrots sit in a terracotta pot of edible malt soil – a fitting tribute to the fertile earth from which they were pulled. And the barely cooked langoustine with blended oysters and seaweed is served on a huge beach boulder, as if to transport you to the shores that yielded them. Unremittingly creative and boldly experimental, Noma is a celebration of a region’s natural riches and the power of imagination.
Strandgade 93, 1401
Copenhagen K, Denmark
Tel +45 3296 3297
The Love of Food
Formerly of Ferran Adria’s El Bulli and Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, René Redzepi has achieved more than most chefs can dream of in a lifetime.
The 33-year-old has two Michelin stars at Noma, and he’s the creative force behind a world-renowned culinary sensation. But Noma’s head chef couldn’t be more grounded. “Maybe this thing that we stand for will be...pouf! You know, it’s in and then it’s out again,” he says.
“Who knows, but the signs in the environment tell us we’re going to have to take more care of nature and of our planet. I think that will push things towards a cuisine that’s more orientated towards the local terroir.”