Friday, October 10, 2014


To describe NOMA in one word, I would say the experience was sensory.  Your ears experience it first through the resounding warm welcome.  Your eyes, by the immaculately clean spaces and the uncanny plating presentations.  Your nose, through the smell of the different dishes as the servers uncover them right in front of you.  Your taste buds, as you contemplate flavor combinations you've never had in your life.  Your sense of touch, through dishes you must eat with your hands.

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. 

red current and lavender
nordic coconut
moss and cep
cheese cookie, rocket and stems
pickled and smoked eggs
white cabbage and samphire
aebleskiver, lovage and parsley
sea urchin toast
pike head
burnt leek and cod roe
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
plating kitchen
plating kitchen
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. 

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