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NOMA Feature RestaurantWords: Stefan Chomka, Photos: Ditte Isager

Noma’s innovative, inventive and – of course – ground-breaking approach to cooking has created a maelstrom in the culinary world.

The restaurant, for example, has taken the tired old concept of the amuse bouche and turned it into a dazzling array of one-bite starters that are alone worth the air fare to Denmark.

Through the use of innovative cooking methods, Rene Redzepi’s former warehouse on the dockside has changed diners’ perceptions of Nordic cuisine.

It is a restaurant of extraordinary pedigree, where passion and honesty is reflected in every mouthful.

Nordic salting, smoking, pickling, drying, grilling – and excelling

A few months ago, René Redzepi posted a photograph on Twitter of himself and his team sticking the finger up “to the people of two different no-show tables last night”. Why anyone would fail to turn up at a restaurant which is criminally hard to get into and where reservations are snapped up months in advance is anyone’s guess, but it shows the kind of place Noma is.

Redzepi may have become a household name across the globe, and his restaurant became the hottest ticket in town, but little has changed since it opened in 2004. From fanatical attention to its culinary heritage and rare, often unheard of, ingredients to its laid-back approach to service, where chefs bring food to the table, it has remained true to its intentions. No amount of plaudits will change Redzepi’s stance, or tame his attitude to people who don’t respect it.

NOMA Feature Restaurant

Thankfully for him, the majority of people adore it. Noma’s success has spawned a new breed of Scandinavian restaurants, each playing the local-sourcing card and busting their crockery budgets to present dishes in the imaginative trademark style of Redzepi and his team. But few go to the same lengths as Noma, devoutly practising what it preaches. Restaurant staff routinely scour the Nordic regions for bounty, whether it be Greenland musk ox or Icelandic skyr curd, and forage for berries and herbs closer to home.

Salting, smoking, pickling, drying and grilling are all carried out in-house and the restaurant produces its own vinegars, eaux de vies and, when the season’s right, its house birch tree sap water. There are no shortcuts, no quick wins and certainly no compromises. All this amounts to a restaurant of extraordinary pedigree, where passion and honesty are reflected in every mouthful. If you are lucky enough to get a table, do go – not just to avoid Redzepi’s wrath, but because the food’s pretty good too.

About Noma

Last year’s position: 1

Years on list: 7

Behind the stove: René Redzepi

Style of food: Seasonal, local, cutting-edge Nordic

Standout dish: Pickled vegetables and bone marrow

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

NOMA Feature Restaurant

About The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Organised by Restaurant magazine and sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, The World's 50 Best Restaurants list is an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of over 800 international restaurant industry experts. What constitutes "best" is left to the judgment of these trusted and well-travelled gourmets.

The results are a simple computation of votes. Given that this well-constructed list is based on personal experiences it can never be definitive, but we believe it is a honourable survey of current tastes and a credible indicator of the best places to eat around the globe.

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