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Wood, Ants and Moss : What I Ate In NOMA

November 17, 2016

This post comes after my previous one where I shared my personal experience behind NOMA, the restaurant in the cosmopolitan city of Copenhagen, the famed restaurant who has been awarded many years in a row the recognition of being the No.1 Best Restaurant in the World.  

In this post, I am sharing with you the well-executed menu they served that day, one that made use of the most simple but freshest, local ingredients available and which turned them all into the most spectacular tasting dishes I have ever tried in my life.

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When this first dish arrived and was placed in front of me which they simply described as a huge, fresh apple in season, filled with herbs and essences I can barely pronounce and cooked in a way I can’t even comprehend, I knew this trip here and this whole drama of waiting for NOMA to call us back is suddenly worth it after all!

Take a look at their “simple” but amazing dishes :

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Flat bread and ant paste

Look closely to see the black ants hiding beneath the greens! Scandinivian countries are known to use them in some dishes as they provide the citrus flavor, something a dish like this needs. In fact, I didn’t realize I ate ants until after I devoured them! Suffice to say, this antsy appetizer was that good!

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Reeves Plum with kelp skin

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Every dish was served with an explanation by one of the chefs. This is what they call the “Chef’s Table” where we were seated with 3 other couples, all from different parts of the world, all with their own stories to share of how they made it here and got this table! 🙂

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Radish Pie

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Natural fermented bread of Øland wheat and hulless barley

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Dried tomatoes and fresh milk curd

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Scandinivian sea urchin and cabbage

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Lobster, onion and lavender

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Butternut squash and barley

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Forget wine matching…for NOMA, the trend is juice pairing! I heard this concept of juice pairing for a degustation menu was also started by Rene Redzepi himself almost a decade ago here in this same restaurant. He wanted his diners to sip well-designed juice blends instead of the usual alcoholic drinks (like wine or liquor) to wash down his sumptuous meals. (But for the traditionalists, wine pairing of course is always available.) 

I had some of the freshest, most exotic and delicious juice combinations I’ve ever had : apple and pine, green gooseberry and tarragon, rose tea with coriander seeds, lingonberry and red currant, red gooseberries with geranium oil and elderflower with lemon verbena and spearmint. Our waiter explained that in their kitchen laboratory upstairs, the ingredients underwent a lot of fermentation and herbal infusions in order to produce a more complex flavor of these juices (Upon my first sips alone, I knew these were not the ordinary kind of juices I am used to, like those that I make at home by dunking fruits and veggies in a blender!) NOMA’s well blended juices were as fresh and as “complicated” as each of their carefully designed dishes as well!

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Steamed King crab and egg yolk sauce

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Charred greens with a scallop paste

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In NOMA, the food is actually “simple” and not overdone. Take for example this whole roasted wild duck that was presented to our table. It was simple but it had a deliciously complex combination of flavors and textures.

The atmosphere or shall I say, the ambiance of the whole restaurant was very relaxing and casual too, and the personalized service was just as refreshing — contrary to what most people would think or expect from the world’s best restaurant!

l1050356Whole roasted wild duck

l1050396Cabbage leaves to wrap the duck in

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Slices of duck all meant just for me!!

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Different pickles as side dish to the duck

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This was our main course : whole roasted wild duck cooked over charcoal grill and glazed with mushrooms and nuts, wrapped in wild cabbage, dipped in salted butter and fresh herbs. I ate with my hands to get the full experience, of course!

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A dessert made of potatoes and plum

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Wood and flowers for dessert? Only in NOMA! This is black currant wood ice cream and roasted kanini! It was both beautiful and delicious, a pretty sight and a scrumptious delight!

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NOMA’s perfectly brewed cup of coffee right before our next dessert!

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l1050498Last but not the least, and what I was waiting for : CHOCOLATES! And as expected from NOMA, this chocolate dessert is not the usual chocolate dessert we commonly see in restaurants nowadays (hot molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, anyone?). This is moss covered in 70% Valrhona dark chocolate served with their homemade creme fraiche and balsamic reduction dip. This is as simple as it gets as you can see, but the insane combination of their fresh, real ingredients, all delicately and thoughtfully prepared (sometimes over many days or even months) just to produce a few seconds of absolute bliss — were really all worth it!

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l1050536-600x897Egg liqueur to end the chocolate dessert

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What can I say but surely, this was the most ridiculously delicious meal of my life!

To be continued…

Up next, the kitchen stories and behind the scenes at NOMA… click this link here to go there now.

But if you want to backtrack a bit and read my first story about how I even got here, just click this link here.

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