So, onto part II of our experience at Noma! If you haven’t seen part I, it’s here
Having had the huge array of canapes in the first part of the meal, the second part allowed us to start sampling the wines to go with each dish. Now I’m not a massive wine expert, so I won’t even try and describe each one we drank but I do like being introduced to wines that I wouldn’t normally choose. I love the way that a wine can change once paired with food. Biodynamic, natural, unfiltered wines are all the rage in Denmark and they’re something that you’ll either love or hate! The wines can almost take on a cider / sherry flavour, nothing crisp or fresh here! Anyway, back onto the rest of the food.
Squid and Fennel
This I think was my absolute favourite dish of the day, and absolutely no way influenced by the fact that the beautiful Lars Williams served this dish up to us… Presented in a jagged glass bowl, the squid was tender and the anise of the fennel married so well. Natural food at its best! (Lars promptly disappeared after serving this dish up, boo!).
Fresh milk curd and blueberry preserves
This was another dish that played with sweet and savoury flavours, spiked with lemon thyme. Something to waken the taste buds!
This clam was about 150 old! Apparently you can count the rings on the outside of the shell, just like tree rings. The oldest one Noma has ever served up has been 500, that’s slow food for you! The clam itself just tasted like it had been plucked out of the sea.
Beets and aromatic herbs
The beetroot was cooked until calcified, the inedible outer removed, but then the crunchier middle layer and the soft interior served with herbs and a light broth. A great play on textures.
Cauliflower and pine, cream and horseradish
What we at first thought could have been fish was actually a charred “steak” of cauliflower. Accompanied by horseradish cream curd, pine oil and adorned with inedible pine branches, this was a comforting take on cauliflower cheese.
Potato and lojram
A take on a traditional Nordic dish of caramelised potatoes, firm and waxy, rich in flavour that was paired with lojram, a local caviar (bleak roe).
Wild duck, pear and kale
We were presented with a hunting knife, complete with leather sheath to tackle the main which didn’t disappoint. Rare wild duck, so gamey and rich which was cut through nicely with the acidity and sweetness of the pear, which was so thinly sliced it was almost like glass. A vivid green kale purée added iron rich earthiness. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to take a photo due to my greediness but here’s a lovely picture of Dan eating this dish!
Aronia berries and söl
This was our first dessert and once again played with sharp and savoury flavours. A frozen shell of aronia berry sorbet (similar to a blackcurrant) surrounding söl ice cream. Söl is a seaweed local to Scandinavia. This added a savouriness to the ice cream, almost like a twist on salted caramel. Weird and totally wonderful.
Potato and plum
Yes, that’s right, we had potato for dessert. Not incorporated into a traditional dessert, but a quenelle of mash, along with a plum puree and creme fraiche. Yes, it was odd but didn’t taste all that bad, quite pleasant in fact. Having said that this was probably my least favourite course, purely from a textural aspect.
We couldn’t say no when asked if we wanted coffee and a digestif of schnapps, after all we just had to sample the petit fours, besides – we’d already blown the budget so what were a few more Krohnes?
When this dish, which was introduced only as “caramel” was presented, we got confused with the two pieces of bread laid out before us. Turns out that that the “bread” was actually slices of frozen, aerated caramel, to be spread with yoghurt and sprinkled with a herb salt. Salted caramel? Yes please!
Well, we were in Denmark after all. However there had to be the usual Noma twist – the Danish was topped with chocolate and a barley glaze, but there was a savoury element I couldn’t put my finger on, but having thought about it I think it must have been söl. The pastry was lovely and crisp, plus it was massive!
Pork skin with chocolate and berries
I am still dreaming about this, but then again anything to do with pork skin ends with me inhaling it down! Another weird and wonderful combo of aerated pork skin (you may have seen this made by Redzepi on Saturday Kitchen late last year) dipped in chocolate and covered in freeze dried berries – sweet, sour, salty and crunchy. You might find the idea of this utterly revolting but I loved it!
Sadly, this was our last course – the event of the year (in our eyes) was over… What did we think? Worth the trip? Yes. For me this was a crazy experience of taste, textures, techniques and temperature. Everything seemed playful and I thought that the restaurant didn’t take itself too seriously at all. Service was seamless, warm and informal, nothing was too much of an ask. There was no barrier between the us and the kitchen which I loved. I can see how Noma has influenced so many UK chefs, places like L’enclume have definitely taken cues and that’s not a bad thing – I’d rather have fine dining like this than stuffy staff and white tablecloths!
Would I go again? Absolutely. Dan and I have already talked about returning in the future, to experience the restaurant in summer. For now, I’ll just dream about that squid and a certain Viking! 🙂