I had tried the menu of Noma 2.0 right after its opening, but now I've returned and here is the detailed report of my visit. *
* Even though it sounds weird, I don't regret returning
If you want a good scare.
No week passes by without giving out some gastronomic titles; stars, rosettes, toques
Copenhagen is a fantastic city anyway:
The construction works and the spatial planning are not yet finished (the investment turned out to be quite the enterprise and the freezing cold didn't help either). This is not even expected because we wouldn't want the team to come up with something final, as they are unique for being always on the move, developing continuously and never stopping. They reformed already the way we think about kitchen service, presentation, serving or ingredients of fine dining. And they make it their mission to prove in real life that the latest Noma book title, 'a work in progress' stays valid.
There are many top restaurants in the world, where you have the impression that they are done, they got it, the menu is absolutely fantastic, perfect for one occasion, everything works as it should. But if we return, we have to realize that they are static, constant, only very few things change to make it seasonal, they play safe. There are many like this among the 3 Michelin starred ones. Of course, there's beauty in it and it's completely understandable from a financial point of view but it gets quickly boring for the returning guests. It's mainly beneficial for those who only want to tick it off from their bucket list. But at Noma, the excitement comes exactly from the unknown: nothing is settled, they are not done and hopefully they never will be. Let's see where they are now.
The dishes are spectacular; the ocean menu of Noma is outstanding (you can see here the complete menu) but I would highlight two other aspects
A very important but less visible aspect: the human factor. The team spirit in Noma is legendary. They are all strong personalities but somehow they manage to work together seamlessly as a team, something like FC Barcelona (insert your own favorite football club). And this team is also unique considering its members:.
Some of the team members - and this is far from an exhaustive list:
René Redzepi, the chef
James Spreadbury, restaurant manager, from Adelaide, Australia
David Zilber, the chef in the R&D department, from Canada
Ali Sonko, the dishwasher who is also a shareholder in the new restaurant:
Or Richard Hart, who left his job as the head baker in the legendary Tartine Bakery in San Francisco and moved to Copenhagen (with 4 kids!) when Redzepi called:
Uniquely, even the head chef of the test kitchen is a Michelin starred chef, who left his own successful restaurant, the Studio, and returned to Noma upon René Redzepi's call, to be part of the background once again. Torsten Vildgaard [and I just realized that I don't have any photo of him. I will remedy this the next time - in June.]
The other important factor is the surroundings - the built one and the natural one. Because both are very special. The first one is the work of the BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and evokes the ambiance of Danish farms. The latter one is of course still under construction - the frozen temperatures made the works difficult and maybe the plans were also too ambitious.There's
Stars, prizes, lists
The big chefs all dream of the prizes, titles, and it's even more obvious if they try to deny how much they long for or want to keep those stars, ratings or rankings. Of course, these are important for marketing purposes, no wonder it raised quite some eyebrows when the 3 starred Sebastian Bras requested to be deleted from the next edition of the Michelin guide. Noma managed to withdraw their presence from every guide and list in a much simpler way and they won't even appear in the Michelin guide, nor on the World's 50 best