Noma, Copenhagen

I believe that I scored the reservation at Noma before booking flights to Copenhagen.  Noma is not only number one on the list of the supposed best restaurants in the world but there has been a variety of chefs who have left Noma and opened up their own restaurants in and around town. Noma has become an education facility for a whole new breed of chefs. 

What is it about Noma that makes it number one?  First of all, the physical restaurant is beautiful.  There is something incredibly serene, down to earth and agrarian in the feel yet elegant at the same time.  It sits on the edge of a pier so the light of the water, the boats seen from the windows sets a tone too. Truly loved the vibe.  Bleached knotty wood beams on the ceiling that look as if they have been hand picked off the beach.  As we walked in for the first seating, at 7pm, people greeted us at the door as if we were there for a special dinner party…and of course we were, ours.

I will run through the multiple courses we had.  The brilliance of these type of restaurants is that it is a sensory experience.  The chef is showing the audience how you can take ingredients and create something so unique that it pushes one to think about food in a completely different way.  It prods the senses.  This is not a restaurant where you walk away saying, "wow that was the best roast chicken I have ever had".  You have to enjoy the show, the science, the extravaganza of it all.

The first half of the meal consists of a variety of tiny portions that are basically one bite.  They come out quickly and many of them have to be consumed the second they hit your table or they will melt.
At the center of the table was a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  They become part of the meal.  The first was a malt flatbread with juniper that is sitting inside the floral presentation.  Almost neutralizes your palette.

Moss and cep.  Crispy and melts in your mouth.

Dried crispy pork skin wrapped in dried black currant.

The top of the mussel comes off and the bottom is made of something that looks like a mussel but isn't.  You just pop it in your mouth.  Wow.  A blue mussels sitting in a sauce of celery.

Dried carrot and sorrel.  Baked, dried and smoked carrot sitting on roasted hay ( yes hay ) and then you are to dip the carrot into a sorrel paste.  It was like eating a piece of candy.

Cheesecracker and herbs
Thin cheese cookies with chopped arugula and herbs over the top.

Shrimp and browned butter.  These shrimp are caught that day.  Not only are they fresh, they are alive.  Take one, dip it in the cream and eat.  Kind of strange but the taste is certainly pure.

Potato and chicken liver
Chicken liver mousse inside crispy potato strings with dried hay sprinkled over the top.  Wow.

Crispy rye crackers on top with a lumpfish roe in the center and crispy chicken skin on the bottom to complete the sandwich.

Frozen codliver and caramelized milk with a ham on top.  Such a weird sensation in your mouth.  You must quickly pop it in your mouth and it is so cold and then it melts and the codliver taste comes out. 

Pickled and smoked quails egg.  Smoking when the top is lifted and you just pop the entire egg in your mouth.  It immediately explodes and the smoke flavor takes on a whole different sensation.

Radishes and carrots that are sitting inside a pot that has soil and a dipping sauce in the bottom.  Kind of like eating vegetables straight ouf or your garden.

Herbtoast with smokedcoderoe
Herb toast and smoked cod roe with crispy skin.

Veal fibers.  This is made out of veal neck.

Danish pastry with fish
An old danish pastry recipe is the basis of these small fluffy balls.  Inside is a piece of gelled celery and a dried fish stuck through the middle.  Sweet, savory and fascinating.

TIny roasted potatoes sitting in fermented butter with dried elderflower on the side.  The elderflower is the salt.  You take one of the greens that has a wooden tip on the bottom and use it as your utensil.

We are now moving into the second half of the menu.  Fresh and fermented peas sitting in an aromatic tea broth that has a gelatin in the bottom.

Dried scallops and beach nuts mixed together with a watercress paste served with dried biodynamic grain chips.

A big bowl with brown crab in the middle.  This crab has never been chilled so the taste is pretty unique.  Served with small egg yolks, pieces of horseradish and herbs.  Tartar, sorrel, juniper and tarragon.

White and green asparagus.  Two white asparagus pieces and the green sauce is made out of green asparagus and pine needles.  The small pine needles on the side are soft and edible too.

Pike perch and cabbages, verbena and dill.  The fish was amazing with melted greens.

Butter and greens
The hen and the egg.  The interactive part of our meal.  Each plate came with a iron pot for us to cook our own egg.  This was the greens and butter.

Hay oil was put in it and then we cracked our own egg into the pan.  They put a timer on the table and when it rang they came back and told us what the next step was. 

We added the butter and sauted our greens and then smushed the long potato chip in the mixture.  Voila. 

Sweetbread and bitter greens with turnips and a mushroom broth.  Incredibly rich.  Tasted like foie gras.

Rhubarb and milk curd.

Hay and chamomille.  Hay was transformed into something like a curdled cream.  Really delicious and the texture was thick and creamy.

Caramels that are set inside bone marrow as the taste is bone marrow caramels.  Weird.

Their own form of mallowmars.

Chocolate covered potato chips with salt.  Can't beat that. 

For our anniversary they brought over this beautiful cake.  Although white it was made of cream and berries.  To cut the cake there was this old knife in a leather pouch.  Kind of cool and fitting.  When we got married and cut the cake we used a sword that I believe is Fred's great grandfather who was a general in the army.  We still have it today.  Amazing.

Quite a spectacular evening.  A 3 hour meal.  It was unique at every turn.  We actually have reservations for Relae and Geranium for the next two nights but have decided that this is something that just needs to sit with us.  We can't go do it again although different in feel both chefs have come from Noma and are creating something unique but in the same vein.  We will leave Relae and Geranimum for our next trip to Copenhagen.  Love this town. 




Comments (Archived):

  1. daryn

    Love reading your dining recap as always, but this time there’s no denying how jealous I am!Glad you’re having a great trip.

    1. Gotham Gal


  2. John Best

    If I won the lottery tomorrow, Noma would definitely be one of my first destinations, and your review has certainly cemented that. 🙂

  3. ellen sing

    I have never seen such an interesting presentation of food as I saw in your pictures of Norma.Just off the charts.

  4. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Fascinating! So, was there a moment when you became a ‘foodie’ and sought out food ‘experiences’ like this? Or is it something that comes with the territory when you get to be a really good cook?Eating like this seems sort of like skydiving to me. It’s like food thrill seeking or something. (In other words, I’m not a really good cook, ha!)

    1. Gotham Gal

      food has always been a big part of my life, even as a kid. there has been such a ground swell in the area of food and i have just taken a ride on the wave.

  5. Lock


  6. Amy

    Love this post – thank you!

  7. skysurfer172

    Absolutely amazing, thank you for sharing your anniversary dinner with us.

  8. Guest

    There’s something to be said about fine food. That said, I am not sure I could stomach some of it. 🙂 I sent this wonderful article to my lady but she wasn’t sold even though we talked about fine dining and food. LOL

  9. Zoidberg

    Zoidberg: Goose liver? Fish eggs? Pah! Where’s the goose? Where’s the fish?Elzar: Hey, that’s what rich people eat. The garbage parts of the food.Zoidberg: I ate garbage yesterday and it didn’t cost me $300! I’m not paying.woop woop woop

  10. CCjudy

    food as art art as food thank you for the experience Judy and happy anniversary

  11. William Mougayar

    That looked spectacular& so fitting for the occasion.