A unique evening at Noma

Dinner, Wednesday May 21, 2008

Together with Trine, we decided as for our meal at Pierre Gagnaire and as we shared this Noma dinner together to post our reviews simulteanously. You can read her review here !

Let’s go back a few months in the past…

May 21 of this year : Guillaume and I are flying to Copenhagen for a 24 hours trip and 3 meals scheduled thanks to Trine. We had a great lunch with her just after our arrival at Geranium. For Guillaume and I, scheduling 2 meals in a day is not too difficult to manage, we were used to move from meal to meal after our trip in Bordeaux earlier in the month. But for Trine… question was is she would enjoy this day like us ?

We left Geranium around 5 pm (if I remember well…) and 2 hours later, we were on the road to Noma. Trine was of course there again, joined by Klaus her husband.

And dear readers, dear foodies, let me tell you that it was an incredible evening. An amazing dinner and an unforgettable evening. Many weeks later, i was still thrilled by this dinner at Noma.

It was my second visit there (1st one for Guillaume), my first one being simply one of my best meal ever.

So, after this great lunch at Geranium, we were ready, quite fresh enough (must reveal that Guillaume enjoyed a little nap in between), even hungry and excited more than ever to have this dinner at Noma. The location is so unique, as is the atmosphere and service, that i couldn’t wait to be there again.

This time, the sun was still shining and lightening the dining room with sweet and amber rays. Our table is set in the middle of the room (as for my first visit) and i’m taking the same seat…which is commented by Lau saying « welcome back… oh, you were seating there the first time right ? »… like i said.. unique.

And, cherry on the cake, at the table next to ours was sitting Heston Blummenthal himself (chef of the Fat Duck), the guy who gave me my best meal ever… until now. For us (Trine, Guillaume, myself), meeting Heston was really something unique. Some football fans are hoping to meet one day Zidane or Cristiano Ronaldo, movies fan have their secret hope to meet Angelina or Brad (i would go for the first mentioned :o), for us, it is about Heston Blummenthal, Pierre Gagnaire or Michel Bras.

But we succeeded to stay focused on our own meal and started to enjoy the evening…

Guillaume is immediately impressed by the atmosphere : woods, candles, furs, it is typical and nordic, but elegant and relaxed, and really charming when you look to the small harbour in front of the restaurant where boats are covered by the last sunrays. A few seconds later Rene Redzepi (noma chef) is joining our table, welcoming us and announcing that he has set up a specific menu for us… which was of course fine and we decided to go for the wine pairing menu as well.

At this very precise moment, when menus and wines are ordered, when you are installed and watching the people around, you are just enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, realizing how lucky you are to be able to live such ephemere moments.

Then started the menu with some first appetizers and a glass of champagne :

NV. Marguet Père e& Fils, Brut Rosé

Snack of Smoked and pickled quails egg

Bread crunch with herb cream, herb emulsion and vinegar dust

Lumpfish roes with cream and pressed by rye bread and chicken skin

Organic radishes


I’ll not go in too much details on each dish as i didn’t take notes during the meal and will not be able to be very accurate and detailed so many months later, so i’ll only focus on the dishes that highlighted the meal to me.

Razor clams and horseradish « snow », parsley and dill

Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume, Domaine Fèvre, Bourgogne, 2001

The most orginal dish maybe : very soft tastes, fresh of course, very delicate, requiring some concentration to really appareciate the flavours. I loved it, but it took me some time to realize it.

Tartar and wood sorrel, creamed tarragon and juniper

Riesling Kabinett Seibach-Oster, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, 2004

This dish is now a classic of course. You eat the whole dish with fingers, in a delicate way obviously. It was fantastic the first time I ate it, it was fantastic the second one as well.

Fresh cheez and shoots of Axel berries, pine tree shoots and white asparagus

Riesling Kabinett Seibach-Oster, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, 2004

Langoustines and « sol », oysters and rye

Riesling « Steinmassl, Loimer, Kamptal, 2006

A wonderful preparation is offered here. The langoustines are of a superb quality, and were providing unforgettable tastes. A unique dish.

King crab and mussel stock, ashes and leek

Pinot Gris « Brandhof », Gresser, Alsace, 2006

Another classic dish for another great souvenir. I almost can’t get enough of this one. Wonderful again…

Onions from Loeso and chick weed, onion bouillon and thyme oil

Viré-Clessé, Denis Jeandeau, Bourgogne, 2006

This one was probably the most discussed one : the onion flavour is everywhere, and sometimes strong or let’s say very present, maybe too much at the beginning. But after some bites, you discover new flavours, some subtile touch of thyme. I loved it (i think i was the only one but not sure).

Turbot and water cresss, « Kodrivere » and ramsonion

Savennières « Les Genêts », Domaine Laureau, Loire, 2004

Salsify and milk skin, rape seed oil and truffle from Gotland

NV Le Mesnil sur Oger « Blanc de blancs », Pascal Doquet, Champagne

This was for me, beside the classic dishes, the best dish of the menu. For 2 reasons : the dish itself is a wonderful piece of art : never had such truffle taste so concentrated, not strong, but so pure. The sweeteness of the salsifis and milk offers a fantastic combination. And the second reason is about the wine. For the second time in the same day, we have a champagne paired with a dish in the middle of menu. And again, as we experienced it at Geranium a few hours before (sounds weird to say that… i agree), we were totally convinced and enjoyed a lovely wine pairing with this Blanc de Blancs on one of the most fantastic dish of the year to me.

Sweetbreads and seaweed, stems of vegetables and red currant wine

Riesling Spatlese « Wallufer Walkenberg », J.B. Becker, Rheingau, 1988

Was not really convinced by the cooking of the sweetbread, pure personal taste. Guillaume was totally under the charm of this sensual dish (from a picture perspective i mean, we stayed quiet at table).

Musk ox and beets, pickled elderly berries and bone marrow

Grange des Pères, Domaine de la Grange des Pères, Languedoc, 2001

For the main meat course, i asked to change the italian wine planned in the wine menu by this Grange des Pères. Trine heard about this wine but had never tasted it before. It was a nice opportunity, and instead of 4 glasses, we were offered the whole bottle. Great initiative we totally honored.

Garden sorrel and glazed sheep milk yogurt, anise and rapeseed oil

« Cuvée noble », Chateau Richard, Saussignac, 2003

Dried berries and dried cream, walnuts and dust of walnuts

Grüner Vetliner Eiswein, Nigl, Kremstal, 2006

While we are reaching the end of our menu, we have a look from our table to the kitchen where Heston and Rene are talking together. Some minutes later, in a quite sudden way, Rene is bringing Heston at our table introducing us. Wow, my friends, this was unexpected and surprising (i later realized that as Trine is a little bit at home here, Rene knew that it would please her to meet Heston… great initiative). We are shaking hands and Trine immediately starts to talk with Heston, asking how he found his menu. And here we go for a 15 min chat with Heston and the four us. Unique. When Heston starts to greeting us for leaving, i’m asking for a picture together with René and us… and they both accepted very kindly.


I don’t need to mention who Trine is…

We warmly thanked Heston and returned to our seats a little bit shocked by what happened. A few seconds later and here comes the next dessert :

Rhubard and wood ruff, yoghourt and beetroots

Grüner Vetliner Eiswein, Nigl, Kremstal, 2006

After this last course, we moved to the lounge room where a very nice and sweet appel liquor is offered to us. René is joining us with a glass too and we’ll spend 30min, 1hour maybe, talking together, discussing about Noma, food, gastronomy, France. I didn’t get this opportunity during my first visit to discuss like this with René. Thanks to Trine, this was feasible now and we really enjoyed it. We have discovered someone really accessible, friendly, simple, with great sense of humor, a little bit at the image of the whole Noma staff.

1:30 am. We are leaving Noma and are driven to our hotel by Klaus and Trine. We thanked them a lot for the wonderful evening we had, hoping to meet again each other soon, in France, Belgium or … why not Denmark – it’s a small small world… and foodies are capable of great things 🙂

Once in our hotel, we were too much excited by this evening for going in bed directly. We decided for a last glass at the bar (molecular cocktail …. ooops, have no clue of what we drinked there).

A small hour later and we were in our beds, no time to step in than Guillaume is already sleeping… no comment. I can’t be that fast and need some time to recover from my dinner… a wonderful dinner, closing an unforgettable day.

For sure one of the best of foodie day of my life. Thanks again Trine. Thank you also René for your time and talent. Simply unique.

Laurent V


Lunch, Wednesday May 21, 2008

After our wonderful trip to Bordeaux two weeks before, we were again on the road with Guillaume by this sunny wednesday for another food trip : to Denmark this time, a 24h trip for 3 meals.

Thanks to Trine, we had a great opportunity to book a table at noma for dinner, and we took advantage of this to book 2 lunches : one at Geranium, the second at The Paul on thursday.

The timing today is tight : leaving Paris at 11:00 am, landing in Copenhagen at 13:00, we had 1h to reach our restaurant located in the city centre. But everything went perfecly well : we arrived at Geranium around 13:45 and were relieved to enter the place on time. We’ll be 3 for this lunch as Trine will join us a couple of minutes later, a pleasure to meet her again after our first meal at Pierre Gagnaire.

Immediately, Guillaume and myself are feeling impressed by the place and the atmosphere at Geranium : design furniture, luminous dining room, wonderful view of the park (the king’s garden) : peaceful and lovely place…

The table is nicely dressed and i’m flashing on the bread served on a small wood plate with a wood knife. Nice…

In order to enjoy and discover the food served here by a duo of chefs (getting their first Michelin star this year), we’ll go for a 4 courses menu.


This is a very delicate and fresh appetizer including small shrimps and green strawberries, matching perfectly well with a glass of champagne.

This gives already the tempo of what will be a terrific lunch.

Smoke, embers & ashes

2005, Riesling Spatlese, Lorcher Pfaffenwines, Graf von Kanitz, Rheingau

Wow, it’s just the second dish we get since we arrived in Denmark and it will be probably be one of the dish of the year to me.

Before the plate being served, the chef himself is bringing small pots with ashes inside,  then open them and this enables the smoke to parfume the table.

Then arrive the dish itself. Great tastes, the textures are just amazing : raddish, fish eggs, .. you can’t almost describe what’s in your plate. Surprising and very tasty dish, working well with the smoke parfume and completely disturbing you but in a positive way.

White asparagus, turbot, foamy browned butter, stonecrop & wild onions

1999, Entre Ciel et Terre, Francoise Bedel, Vallée de la Marne

Quite original and probably the first time that we received a glass of champagne in the middle of a wine menu (after dry wines i mean). When smelling it, i immediately announce it smells « asparagus »… i saw Guillaume and Trine a little bit confused… ok, i realized it was a little bit strange. But then arrive the dish with the asparagus inside… hmm, then we must admit that the wine smell was indeed about asparagus.

The turbot was perfectly cooked : fresh and tasty, it was a great pairing with both the asparagus and the champagne.

The Kings Herbgarden

2005, Anjou, Les Fourchardes, Domaine de la Sansonnière, Loire

This is again something fantastic. It’s not just about cooking, it’s also about art here. Visually, this is simply wonderful. And from a taste perspective, it’s just awesome.

Some herbs and vegetables are fresh and sweet, some others are stronger and crispy. The consommé topping the herbs is very well done too. Another excellent dish…

Happy Chicken, morrels & sweet woodruff and potatopeels

2001, Campo Quadro, Bararesco, Punset, Piedmonte

This main course is another wonderful picture. And the products are matching here again, even it’s less surprising then the previous dishes we had, but the tastes are again excellent, a smooth dish, with sweet and soft tastes, very pleasant.

The red italian wine was superb, kinda wine we like : rich, long, well balanced and with a fantastic nose.


2006, Riesling Auslese, « Pyramide » Weingut Rita & Rudolf Trossen, Mosel

What a great dessert ! Very creative again. But well done and hitting the target in the heart. Milk in different textures even in crispy leafs served by the waiter on top on a paco-jetted ice… Getting a great wine pairing was not obvious. But this Mosel wine was so good, one of the best i could drink with a dessert. 

After such a great meal, it was important for us to congratulate the chefs for the quality and creativity of the menu. We used to opportunity to introduce Guillaume’s friend Paco Jet to Trine and moved to the kitchen where we met Rasmus, one of the owner chef.

We have a nice chat with him while Trine again is shooting all what she can (it remember me something… :o). For the coffee/tea, we are moving to the terrasse in the park. The air is getting fresh but we enjoy the place and keep relaxing near the trees. In 3 hours now, we’ll have our dinner at noma. But too early for preparing it now, we want to enjoy our lunch.

Geranium is certainly the raising star of Copenhagen. A real must, as Noma, for any food addict wanting to discover danish gastronomy and progressive cuisine. The service is young but efficient and knowledgeable. The beautiful dining room is small but this gives easily all intimacy needed. The wine list is (as for most of top danish restaurant) just fantastic : for instance i saw they had Cedric Bouchard Blanc de Noir Roses de Jeanne champagne on their wine list… this is a good indicator.

And last but not least, the food is just fantastic, meeting our customer expectations when talking about contemporary cuisine while keeping a real and own identity.

Thanks to the Geranium team for this great lunch (and thanks again Trine for organizing it and sharing the kitchen pic :o).

Laurent V


Dîner du samedi 15 septembre 2007

Après moult hésitations, le choix du 2ème restaurant visité lors de ce (fabuleux) week-end à Copenhague – le premier étant Noma, voir post précédent – se porta finalement sur le restaurant Paustian, « rising » star 2007 du Michelin.

Le choix était pourtant assez vaste avec des adresses confirmées comme MR, Formel B ou les récents Geranium ou Nouveau – la ville semble compter plusieurs adresses d’excellente réputation et parmi elles pas moins de 8 restaurants étoilés.

Mais après avoir lu que Paustian et son chef Bo Bech revendiquait – entre autres – l’adjectif moléculaire pour décrire sa cuisine, je ne pus m’empêcher de tenter l’expérience.

Le restaurant se situe à une distance plus éloignée du centre, bien caché dans les méandres portuaires au Nord de la ville.

La salle est très agréable et assez originale, ambiance discrète et tamisée, grandes tables rondes, très espacées, très grande hauteur sous plafond, le blanc est dominant (murs, nappes) à l’exception de 2 pans de murs dont la moitié haute est peinte dans un concept plutôt décalé par rapport à l’endroit.

Confortablement installés, et prêts à repartir pour un nouveau voyage culinaire, nous optons pour le menu « Alchimiste » et son menu Vins associé.

Chose intéressante à souligner : la cuisine est scindée en 2, la partie cuisson où officie le chef étant totalement ouverte sur la salle. Intéressant mais pas non plus révolutionnaire car de nos jours de plus en plus de restaurants veulent jouer la transparence et l’ouverture sur leur cuisine.
Avec les amuse-bouches, on entre de plein pied dans le vif du sujet.

Du croquant, du moelleux, du piquant, du doux, des goûts vifs, précis : une première rafale de micro amuse-bouches qui donne le ton : difficile de savoir ce que l’on va manger à la simple vue de ce qui nous sera servi… l’explication de texte s’impose. Pour accompagner ces amuse-bouches, nous choisissons l’apéritif maison : infusion de thé et mousseux blanc italien (dont j’oublierai malheureusement le nom) : belle fraîcheur, acidité, léger dosage en sucre.

On apporte ensuite ce qui s’avérera comme la grosse sensation de ce repas : le pain.

Quelques tranches « classiques » de pain de différentes sortes : plutôt normal. On nous présente également 2 sortes de beurre : salé pour le premier, grillé pour le second. En effet, un beurre noisette reconstruit et ensuite frit pour obtenir cette sorte d’ «œuf » d’un point de vue visuel mais qui n’est que du beurre noisette, onctueux à souhait. Autant vous dire qu’avec l’excellent pain servi, c’est un vrai régal. Mais la sensation viendra de cet étui brun posé sur la table. Contrairement aux apparences, il ne s’agit pas d’un étui en tissu brun dans lequel seraient rangés quelques gressins… (on distingue pourtant bien ce qui pourrait ressembler à des « coutures » sur les arrêtes), non il s’agit d’une réelle croûte de pain reconstituée en une pièce. C’est évidemment creux à l’intérieur et on nous invite à la briser franchement, le service étant habitué à gérer l’émiettage inévitable sur la table. Pour le plaisir des oreilles – on ne voit malheureusement pas grand chose … écoutez ce croquant :

Nous entamons ensuite le menu :

Caramellised cauliflower
J’adore le chou-fleur, je suis gâté. On en a plein la bouche, le croquant des amandes fraîches s’associe bien à la douceur du chou-fleur dans cette texture onctueuse.
Baked celeriac with monkfish and pear
2005 Pouilly Fumé, Guy Saget, Loire, France
Le meilleur plat du menu. Sur le poisson repose une large rondelle de céleri (froide et légèrement cuite) sur laquelle repose des «écailles » en lamelles de poire (moelleuses et tièdes).
La qualité et cuisson du poisson est parfaite. A l’entame de ce plat, l’association avec le poisson, le céleri et la poire interpelle, limite dérange. Ce plat offre aux premières bouchées des goûts, températures et textures qui s’entrechoquent … Au final, c’est vraiment une réussite : plus on en déguste, plus on en raffole et on constate avec regret que l’assiette se vide petit à petit…
Danish Lobster with forgotten roots and berries
2004 Chardonnay, Yerring station, Victoria Valley, Australie

Le visuel est excellent… C’est bon, chaque aliment dans l’assiette est proposé dans des différences de goûts et températures : on joue (encore) sur le cru/cuit, sur le vinaigré/sucré, qui fonctionne plutôt pas mal. Seul bémol concernant le homard qui est perdu dans tout cela et n’apporte finalement rien à ce plat qui se suffit à lui-même. Très belle association avec le vin.
Pour le plat suivant, ma douce n’aimant pas les viandes rouges, nos routes gastronomiques se sépareront :

Pour elle : Potatoes, black truffels, egg at 63°C
2005 Pinot Noir, Dog Point, Marlborough, Nouvelle-Zélande

Un plat esthétiquement joli, mais trop fade en goût… nécessitait d’avantage d’assaisonnement pour en exprimer réellement les saveurs.

Pour moi : Potatoes with mushrooms and duck wings
2005 Pinot Noir, Dog Point, Marlborough, Nouvelle-Zélande

Plat assez neutre, c’est bon mais ne propose rien d’extraordinaire du tout. On passe.

Bitter almond -195,8 celsius

Toujours spectaculaire de se faire servir une dégustation à l’azote liquide. On est bien d’accord, cela n’a gastronomiquement que peu d’intérêt, on entre ici dans le côté ludique de la gastronomie mais cela peut parfois faire des merveilles quand un plat sert à éveiller votre palais et vous apporter de nouvelles sensations gustatives (ex. The Fat Duck ou L’Air du Temps où ces dégustations ludiques ont vraiment leur sens et leur place dans le menu).

On est dans le même registre ici, c’est évidemment frais, ça rafraîchit le palais et le prépare au plat suivant. L’originalité réside ici dans la texture et la manière de manger ce plat : pas question de la simili « meringue » déjà goûtée ailleurs, non, ici, on brise la glace et on mange ce plat à la cuiller … pas en une bouchée, non, plusieurs… . C’est original et évidemment spectaculaire quand la fumée ressort de votre bouche ou « pire » par vos narines. Dans certains restos, on crierait au fou ou on trouvera çà « too much », ici ça passe plutôt bien, les clients savent où ils mettent les pieds et jouent le jeu…

Pour elle : Mackerel and mushrooms
2001 Babera d´Alba, Edorado Sobrino, Piemont, Italie

Le produit est d’une qualité exceptionnelle assurément. On va dire qu’ils n’ont aucun mérite etc etc.. ce n’est que du maquereau certes , mais un poisson bleu de telle fraîcheur, cuit avec précision, qui s’offre à vous dans son plus simple appareil, ça vaut les produits les plus nobles du monde.

Pour moi : Pigeon with chestnuts, endive and horseradish
2001 Babera d´Alba, Edorado Sobrino, Piemont, Italie

Sur ce pigeon, on est sur des goûts et associations plus classiques, cuisson parfaite comme je les aime : saignant mais pas sanguinolant. Très bon. Le vin du Piémont soutient très bien l’ensemble du plat, bel accord.

On enchaîne avec 2 desserts de très bon niveau :

Caramellised carrot with buck torn and coconuts
2005 Eiswein, Rudolf Payer, Autriche
Original, frais, l’association carotte – coco marche assez bien.
White chocolate with banana/olive oil
2005 Eiswein, Rudolf Payer, Autriche

Le meilleur dessert ! N’étant pourtant pas fan de banane (du tout même…), je me suis fait violence et que ce fut judicieux ! : cette glace était tout simplement extraordinaire, l’huile d’olive apportant ce côté vert, fruité associé au goût assez doux de la banane, le tout dans une structure glacée se mariant avec bonheur avec les grumeaux de chocolat et le caramel coulant… une belle gourmandise !

Quelques mignardises ensuite, dont une délicieuse barbe à papa aromatisée à l’orange, annoncant la fin de repas, nous ont été servies. Parlant du service : jeune, efficace mais assez distant au final, pas de défaut particulier mais rien d’inoubliable non plus à noter.

Revenons quelques instants sur les vins servis. Ils furent tous d’un bon niveau, notamment sur les rouges. Maintenant, côté rapport qualité prix, on est clairement limite, 100 euros le menu vin pour ce qui a été bu et servi, c’est exagéré… et quand on croise le même Pouilly fumé du même producteur et du même millésime le lendemain au free tax shop de l’aéroport à 5 euros la bouteille… on se dit certes que c’est une bonne affaire à se procurer pour sa cave perso mais que là le rapport avec le tarif pratiqué au restaurant est trop grand. C’est évidemment le risque pris dans ce genre de menu. On peut s’en sortir avec satisfaction comme se faire littéralement voler.

Mais passons sur ce point, Paustian s’est avéré une très belle adresse… totalement différente de Noma qui est bien entendu unique en son genre. Mais il n’était pas facile de succéder à la cuisine de Rene Rezepi : la cuisine moderne et high tech de Bo Bech a relevé le challenge plus que correctement. Une cuisine suscitant les sens, explosive, volontairement provocatrice. Heureusement, elle ne se la joue pas uniquement ludique et cherche aussi à délivrer de vrais plats (racines, pigeon, maquereau), mettant clairement en avant le produit. Les amateurs de moléculaire y trouveront donc leur bonheur même si je m’attendais à une cuisine plus sophistiquée, plus surprenante, plus engagée dans le moléculaire. Ce menu offre un bon compromis, la carte doit probablement réserver d’avantage de surprises et d’émotions.

J’y retournerai je pense volontiers pour une nouvelle dégustation … mais après avoir découvert les autres adresses gastronomiques que cache la ville de la petite sirène … (qui est vraiment petite).

Laurent V

In love with… Noma

Dinner, September 14, 2007
Noma is not the name of my new girlfriend (I’m married :o)…
Noma is not the name of my new domestic animal…
Noma is not the name of my new Japanese car…
Noma is just the name of a fantastic restaurant in Copenhagen where I had a dinner last Friday.
For the first time, I’ll write a review in English, not that I’ve suddenly decided to add complexity in my review exercise (it’s already difficult enough to express things in French), but simply in homage to the great Noma team led by its chef Rene Redzepi.Restaurant Noma (No for Nordic, Ma for Mad = “food” in Danish) has been ranked this year 15th best restaurant of the world. Not a guarantee of great experience but looking to the restaurant philosophy described on their website and thanks to the contribution of several blogs (let me mention again Trine for the remarkable work she’s doing on her blog) I was highly confident that I would enjoy a great moment there… the question being : will it be a breathtaking experience that you can only live a couple of times in a life or will it be just another very good dinner in a 2 Michelin stars restaurant ?

I was therefore really excited, but without too high expectations (lessons learnt…), when I entered the restaurant around 8 pm after a short taxi drive from the city centre. The restaurant is located in a warehouse, in front of the water, with a view on the city and more particularly on Nyhavn, small harbour nested near the city centre.

When you enter the place, you feel immediately like being transported out of time : candle lights, darkness, natural wood almost everywhere, animal furs on seats and in front of you, the kitchen, modern, semi-opened on the restaurant, you see the chef and his team preparing the dishes.

We were suggested to have an aperitif in the small lounge next to the bar. After a first glass of champagne (Blanc de Blanc, Agrapart) and first appetizers (natural crispy chips revealing unexpected but very good tastes), the chef itself came to us bringing the second appetizer : a smoked quail egg : intense, great texture, tasty.

While doing this, he announced us he had prepared a specific “surprise” menu for us … we were of course pleased – I guess we can even say “excited” – by this nice announcement.

After this second appetizer, we moved to our round table, placed in the centre of the dining room, with a nice view on the kitchen and we felt ready to start this tasting menu !

Oyster jelly and cucumber, Nasturtion and ryebread
Wine : Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Granite Magnum, Domaine L’Ecu (Guy Brossard), 2005

It was not only visually beautiful, it was perfect in mouth as well. Fresh opening dish for this menu, the oyster jelly is perfectly balanced (not too strong but present enough). We liked it.

Raw shrimps and green gooseberries, Fresh cream and dill
Wine : Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Granite Magnum, Domaine L’Ecu (Guy Brossard), 2005

High quality products, it works well. The texture of the gooseberries is interesting (lightly frozen) and brings a nice contrast with the shrimps. At the end, this dish will appear to be the most “common” one to me, the one that surprised me the less.

Tartar and wood sorrel, Creamed tarragon and juniper
Wine : Riesling “Klaus”, Weingut Prager, Wachau, 2005

Now we are entering in another world, another dimension…
This dish is just fantastic. The quality of the tartar is exceptional, the wood sorrel brings a vegetal touch in perfect adequacy with the tartar, the tarragon cream and juniper crispy powder. On top of that : no fork, no knive, you eat it with your fingers ! A top experience, the more you eat this dish, the best it is… you almost hope it never ends…

Shoots and malt, Potato puree
Wine : Sylvaner “Nature”, Julien Meyer, Alsace, 2005

With this dish, we were almost knocked out ! On a warm basalt stone, they are serving vegetables and soil (crispy roasted and crushed seeds) : a small piece of nature in a plate. The vegetables are tasty, perfectly cooked, supported by a smooth potato puree and well completed by this “natural soil”. Just amazing…

King crab and mussel stok, ashes and leek
Wine : Wiesseburgunder Spatlese trocken, Schlos Sommerhausen, Franken, 2005

Wow. I thought I had eaten king crab before…. I need to talk to my fisherman again.
Probably one of my favourite course of the dinner. The leeks are ashed and are fitting perfectly well with the king crab. The mussel emulsion brings sweetness and a light creamy taste. It looks so easy when you see it in you plate, but the quality of each product, the perfectly cooking of each element are making of this dish something close to perfection.

Warm lobster salad, red current wine and beach herbs
Wine : Anjou “La Lune”, Marc Angeli, Loire, 2005

Well, at this stage we had no words to express our feelings as the sequence of dishes we received was so amazing. And we have to agree that this lobster dish is reaching the same quality level than the previous courses. Flavours exploding in your palate, the quantity of each ingredient is perfectly measured, this is a very well balanced course, again should I say.

Sweetbreads and dust of thyme, hazelnuts and mushrooms
Wine : Gevrey-Chambertin, Charlopin Parizot, Bourgogne, 2003

I’m not fan of sweetbreads but I must admit these were very good. The dust of thyme is interesting as it brings another texture feeling in the palate. Not too strong and enhancing the whole dish savours.

Musk ox and chanterelles, browned butter and black berries
Wine : Saumur Champigny “Les Poyeux”, Clos Rogeard, Loire, 2003

I thought I was arrived to the end of my surprises, not really.
The meat cooking is here perfect and of course tasty as you unfortunately can’t find easily at your own butchery. But the biggest surprise of this dish was the wine pairing…: a Saumur Champigny … so strong, so rich, perfectly fitting the meat and chanterelles… I thought the wine would have been too light after the Charlopin on the previous dish, but no, absolutely not… what a pairing !

Selection of Nordic cheese (no picture)
Wine : Clivi Galea, Ferdinando Zanuzzo, Friuli, 1997

As for the rest of the menu, we were presenting specific Danish products… and these cheeses were kinda cheese you love or hate. I’m in the middle (as often :o) : I really enjoyed most of them while a few were really too strong (was a little bit shocked when my Danish friend said he was eating such cheese for the breakfast !! … that’s maybe one of the biggest difference between Denmark and France / Belgium :o)))

Raspberries and beet roots, marinated rose hips
Wine : Anthos Matteo Corregia, Piemonte

Nice first dessert, fruity, light, fresh, exactly what we could expect as first dessert after such tasting session. And again, what a wine : this Italian sweet red wine was absolutely fabulous.

“Ollebrod” and skysorbet, rye and milk
Wine : Coteaux du Layon (couldn’t get the references as it changed from the wine menu)

No picture here (completely forgot it) for this typical Danish dessert. I must admit this one was too much for me. Intense, heavy, you must be used to it I guess, or at least prepared and have eaten less than I did tonight … (now, I’m the only who couldn’t finish this dessert, should I need some training on dessert ? :o)

5 hours later, we reached the end of this dinner and I must say it has been for me a wonderful experience. I’ll not come back on the food : best products, perfect cooking method, wonderful visual in each plate, clever pairing. There is a little of Michel Bras at Noma : focused on local products with a unique goal to bring them to the light, in a creative and personal way.

Now, I would like to outline a couple of things I’ve found fantastic at Noma :

– Atmosphere : even it’s a little bit noisy, I enjoyed so much the place. They wanna make you feel you are in Denmark… typical (but designed) furniture, wood everywhere, darkness, candles, and more then anything else the view on the kitchen. It’s a relaxed place, you feel almost like at home (a pity I don’t have the same kitchen and cook …:o). With my friends, we enjoyed a wonderful time together (thanks to them again !)

– Service : Top service (don’t expect a 5*Palace service, expect a professional but human one). What a generosity, so talented ! They are transmitting to you the pleasure they have to serve you, to be the link between the chef and yourself. And when it’s not someone from the service team that serves you a dish, it is the chef itself or one of its cooks… They were so excited to bring the dish at our table and explained us each ingredient… I loved it.

– Wine : the sommelier is a key people of this spectacular scene. With a great sense of humor (private joke : cheese, not tee…), he takes a real pleasure to describe each wine. The wine menu itself was of a very good level, probably better than the average for such menu in such tasting session in similar restaurants. Amongst the wines we got, some wonders : Riesling Klaus, Sylvaner Nature, Gevrey Charlopin, Anjou Angeli, Anthos,…

At the end, I have to say it has been probably one of my 3 or 4 best dinner ever, maybe even my best one with the Fat Duck. And now I enter into the more personal part of my review, the one totally subjective :

I love Noma because it’s a “human” restaurant, contacts between people are natural, direct, simple here… it’s a small heaven out of time, where I’ve felt serenity and happiness.

I love Noma because you feel the kitchen breathing. Quietly seated at your table, you feel they are giving the very best of themselves. I perceived it as they were risking their life on each dish coming out of the kitchen. I felt touched by such involvement… really.

I love Noma because the restaurant and the chef are fully assuming what they do. They don’t try to copy with the risk to give pale imitations. They’ve chosen to build their restaurant on Nordic food and they are precisely famous for that.

I love Noma for the exceptional dishes delivered. It’s pure. It’s one of the most personal and honest cuisine I’ve met.

How to end such review ? … maybe by answering the question already mentioned above : “Will it be a breathtaking experience that you can only live a couple of times in a life or will it be just another very good dinner in a 2 Michelin stars restaurant ?”…

I guess I have the answer now.

Laurent V