"Noma is best known for its fanatical approach to foraging but there is much more to this ground-breaking restaurant than the mere picking of Mother Nature's pocket. It's entire package, from its ingredient ingenuity to flawless execution, that makes it a beacon of excellence and which leads to an emotive, intense, liberating way of eating, unlike any other. Many have copied chef Rene Redzepi's approach, most have failed. For the best in class, Noma really is the number one place to go" - From 'The World's 50 best Restaurants'
The kitchen noma offers a personal rendition of Nordic gourmet cuisine with an innovative gastronomic take on traditional cooking methods, fine Nordic produce and the legacy of our shared food heritage. Moreover, they regard it as a personal challenge to help bring about a revival of Nordic cuisine and let its distinctive flavours and particular regional character brighten up the world.
Noma is not about olive oil, foie gras, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives. On the contrary, they have been busy exploring the Nordic regions discovering outstanding foods and bringing them back to Denmark: Icelandic skyr curd, halibut, Greenland musk ox, berries and water. In much the same fashion, they continue to look out for new sources of inspiration in Denmark – and in the rest of the Nordic countries as well – to ensure reliable sources of top-quality produce. This goes for very costly ingredients but also for more disregarded, modest ingredients such as grains and pulses, which you’ll taste here in new and unexpected contexts. Above all, they want to be thorough in all that they do, paying careful attention to the qualities of their culinary heritage, while also aiming to create something brand new. We want to explore the potential of milk and cream in modern cuisine and develop new takes on well-known and less well known types of cereal grains. We comb the countryside for berries and herbs that others would not bother with and work with foods that aren’t part of any system of formalised cultivation and consequently cannot be obtained through ordinary channels of distribution.
Noma do their own salting, smoking, pickling, drying and grilling. They also prepare their own vinegars and make their own eaux de vies. They use state-of-the-art kitchen appliances and techniques, of course, since they are just as concerned with the textures of their food as any other world-class restaurant.
Where others use wine in their sauces and soups, noma, consistently use beers and ales, fruit juices and fruit vinegars for freshness and flavour. When in season, fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and wild plants play a prominent role in dishes. Consequently, greens take up more room on the plate than is common at gourmet restaurants.
We feel that the cooking at noma is fairly ambitious but then again, Nordic cuisine must possess a certain purity, an essential simplicity, and we firmly believe that the Nordic cuisine has significant health benefits to offer as well. All these values are reflected in their menus, in the composition and presentation of each dish and in the planning and preparation that underlies it all.
Noma is located on the ground floor of a newly renovated 18th Century warehouse in the old Christianshavn district of Copenhagen. The building has one of the best locations in the city: the very end of a quay in the Copenhagen Harbour, straight across from Nyhavn.
Like its gastronomic vision, noma's interior attempts to reflect the encounter between the traditional and the contemporary. Consequently, the restaurant is characterised by simplicity with its crisp, clean and uncluttered lines that reflect the Nordic spirit and atmosphere. The interior of the listed 18th Century warehouse is at once stark and poetic: wood floors, visible wooden beams and deep, rounded window recesses. The fittings and furnishings complement the room itself: smoked oak, stone, leather, water, glass and light all add to the atmosphere. With her discreet yet powerful design and her careful selection of furniture, architect Signe Bindslev Henriksen has managed to add a modern dimension to the classic rooms and create the perfect backdrop for a ground-breaking, modern Nordic restaurant rooted in a long tradition of fine craftsmanship and quality: Rene Redzepi has re-invented the Nordic kitchen via his restaurant noma, and is currently one of the most influential and quoted persons on the gastronomic scene worldwide.Rene is a chef, a skilled craftsman who happens to be one of Denmark's finest culinary artists. Rene opened noma after having served as sous chef at Kong Haus restaurant in Copenhagen. Before that, Rene has worked for extended stints at some of the world's most highly esteemed 3-star Michelin restaurants - e.g French Laundry and El Builli. www.noma.dk
Photography: Ditte Isager