The Place To proclaim that I booked a flight to Copenhagen from Singapore for Noma is no exaggeration. I secured a reservation at the World’s Number One Restaurant in October 2019, for its Summer 2020 season, before my travel and meal plans were disrupted by something called Covid-19. Fast forward to May 2022, I finally landed at the entrance of the world-famous restaurant, and to me, a foodie’s mecca.
Noma probably needs no further introduction. It previously closed in its original location and reopened in 2018 at the current Refshalevej 96 location. The name of the three-Michelin star restaurant is an abbreviation of Danish words nordisk” (Nordic) and “mad” (food) and serves Nordic Food.
To say that my visit to Noma is a journey is an understatement. I arrived well ahead of my 5:15pm dinner and was ushered into a beautiful glasshouse at the entrance for some tea. It is really a holding area for guests who happen to arrive early, which is a nice gesture as first impression counts.
The surrounding of Noma is gorgeous as it is surrounded by water, with a view of CopenHill. The restaurant occupies a thin strip of land, which makes its location very exclusive and as you can imagine, a destination dining.
The staff tried to make small talk with us, which is nice. You are not allowed to roam around the surrounding, until your turn is called to make your way to the main dining building. The restaurant premise is huge, which houses the main dining building, a research building, and the holding area which I was in upon arrival.
Here comes the exciting part – the walk down the “red carpet” from the glasshouse to the main dining area, which seem to be staggered for every dining group such that they have their exclusive moments walking down, and literally making a grand entrance to the restaurant where upon entry, I was greeted by a stellar line-up of the Noma crew which exclaimed excitedly, “Welcome to Noma”.
I wasn’t quite prepared by that surprise, but it surely made an impression.
The space of Noma is gorgeous beyond words. Firstly, there is the serene surroundings of nature. Secondly, I love neutral tones in interior design, even more so when it is denominated by wooden finishings. It just feels so calm to be here.
Thirdly, the open kitchen is where everyone will walk past to their seats, or to the bathroom. You get to feel the crew’s adrenaline as they prepare each course.
The Food There are three seasons for the menu at Noma throughout the year – seafood in the winter, vegetable in the summer, and game and forest in the autumn. My meal coincides with the last few weeks of the winter menu, and I am not complaining because you really cannot go very wrong with fresh seafood produce, especially at a world’s best restaurant.
The current head chef of Noma since 2021 is Singapore-born head chef, Kenneth Foong, and I was lucky to spot chef Kenneth during my visit.
In terms of wine pairing, you can go for the full wine paring experience, or ask the sommelier for advice if you just want to try a bottle. Unfortunately, there is no wine by the glass option here and I am not surprised.
It is unlikely that what I had in the winter menu will repeat for the next winter menu, but hopefully this review provides a glimpse of what to expect. Here are some of the dishes I had:
Blue Mussel Eye – Danish Blue mussel, with quail egg inside seasoned with chilli oil, fennel, dehydrated mushroom
Scallop Steak – Norwegian Scallop glazed for 30 seconds, marinated with seaweed butter, horseradish paste, scallop roe
Shrimp & Seaweed Salad – seaweed on top of scandia shrimp mousse
Cured Lumpfish Roe & Ramsons – Danish lungfish roe brined with butter, rose oil and roasted yeast
Apple With Oyster – Oyster salad, apple and jasmine tea
Squid Cooked With Koji Spores
Cod Roe Waffle
Sole Souffle – sole fish, smoked pumpkin, baked tomatoes, sauce of mustard seed and barley, cabbage
Eclair With Fish Roe – watercrass/oyster glazed topped with caviar
Whole Cooked Langoustine – seasoned with pined salt, sauce with mussels and butter
Quince Amazake & Oyster Salt – Ice cream, smoked pumpkin, honey, amazake gelatin
Sugar Kelp Sandwich – crispy seaweed filled with yogurt mousse, like a sandwich
Sweet Mushroom Pie – cream shell, berries, pumpkin, caramelised sugar
Overall, there is finesse in each course where the ingredients are executed creatively. It is also interesting for me as being based in Singapore, there is limited opportunities to be exposed to Nordic ingredients and I enjoy exploring new flavours after journaling food all these years.
Rants The service feels a little like an orchestra at the end of the meal – notes were beautifully played from the moment you enter the restaurant to the explanation of each course – to the extent it feels a little too mechanical. Perhaps, a little more personal touches will make it perfect. Afterall, everyone comes to Noma with a very high expectation.
Will I Return Again? Another excuse to head to Copenhagen, why not? Travelling aside, it is a very good meal at Noma. I love the space, the journey through the meal, and the fact that I do not know what I am going to eat is a surprise in itself. There are no boundaries in the dishes, which in itself is an amazing feat.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 5/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
Refshalevej 96, 1432 København K, Denmark
Wednesday to Saturday: 12pm to 4:30pm; 6pm to 12am
Closed on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday
Ranted by The Ranter