Whimsical, would also a great way to sum up my experience there. The dishes were incredibly playful for a restaurant with the very serious title of number one in the world. There was the Nordic coconut, hollowed and filled with soup you sipped through a straw; the quirky presentation of an empty tin with two bite-sized blinis; the quail eggs served in a giant egg. The list goes on and on.
Most surprising though, was how incredibly tasty the juice pairing was. Wine pairings you can get anywhere, but the option of a juice pairing was a first. All the juices were homemade and paired perfectly with each of the dishes. If you should find yourself lucky enough to dine at NOMA - get the juice pairing.
Not surprising, is that more than 20 different nationalities are represented among the staff. Our server said that half of the front of the house staff (servers, hosts, etc) were Danes and the other half were international. In the kitchen, it was mostly Americans, with 2 Koreans, 2 Japanese, 2 Germans, 2 Finns, 2 Guatemalans, 1 Indian, 1 Canadian, etc. Since it was such an international staff, meetings were conducted in English so that everyone could understand. In total, about 50 people work there with about 15 chefs in each of the kitchens: plating, prep, and the Nordic food lab. The capacity at NOMA is 45, so you're getting roughly a 1:1 ratio between staff and customer.
|white cabbage and samphire|
|aebleskiver, lovage and parsley|
|apple and kelp|
|shrimp and ramson, radish and yeast|
|milk curd and blueberries, lemon thyme and pine|
|beef tartar and ants|
|beetroot sloe berries and aromatic herbs|
|egg and fresh greens|
|turbot and nasturtium, cream and wood sorrel|
|aronia berries and sol|
|potato and plum|
|caramel, yeast, and skyr|
|danish in the style of noma|
|chocolate covered pork rind|
|staff dining room, prep kitchen, bbq station, dining room|
|herbs in the staff room|
|talented canadian showing us the back of the house; chef redzepi in the test kitchen|
|group photo with the talented and international noma staff|
I doubt I'll ever have an experience like that again and of one thing I am absolutely certain: I am grateful beyond words for having been able to dine there, even once. It was without a doubt, one of the best meals of my life.
How I got the reservation: I had been trying to secure a reservation at NOMA since 2011. Every month on the 6th, I would wait for the online booking to open at 10:00 am, and until 9 months ago, all of those attempts ended in failure. Moral of the story: don't give up! Persistence pays off.