Gastronomical success

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Noma, a two star Michelin restaurant serving up gastronomical delights in a warehouse on a quayside in Copenhagen, has secured the prestigious ‘World’s Best Restaurant’ for the fourth time, knocking Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca off the highly acclaimed top spot.

For over 200 years, an old warehouse located on the waterfront of Christianshavn in Copenhagen stored whale oils, salted herrings and dry fish ready for export to European markets. Today, this warehouse is home to the World’s Best Restaurant: Noma. Located in the heart of Denmark, this 45-seater restaurant has an overwhelming 20,000 calls a month from diners eager to make a reservation to taste the experimental two Michelin star cuisine.

In April of this year, Noma reclaimed this most coveted accolade, awarded by Restaurant Magazine, once more after Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca triumphed winning the top spot in 2013. Head Chef, René Redzepi and Claus Meyer founded Noma in 2003 and just seven years later in 2010, the restaurant first won World’s Best Restaurant. This winning streak continued as Noma won the award for the next two successive years.

Noma, a culmination of the two Danish words: “nordisk” (Nordic) and “mad” (food) deliver a menu that reinvents and interprets Nordic cuisine. Heavily influenced by molecular gastronomy, Noma hopes to spread this movement of new Nordic cuisine to diners through its world famous dishes, including, The Hen and The Egg, which sees pickled and smoked quail eggs served on a bed of hay in a decorative egg.

With a set course lunch here costing upwards of £280 per person, Redzepi and his team of chefs ensure experimentation and creativity is always on the menu at Noma, from a dish of grilled onions, fermented pears and a salt made out of wood ants to an array of vegetable dishes all locally foraged along the Danish coastline and within woodlands. Most of the meat and vegetables are sourced from local farms and Redzepi even has a food lab to test and experiment with fermented, aged and dried foods including five year old roses and bee lava.

The World’s Best Restaurant award, established by the Restaurant Magazine in 2002, has seen only five restaurants hold this highly esteemed title, including The French Laundry in California, El Bulli in Spain and Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in England. This year, El Celler de Can Roca dropped to second place, Osteria Francescana in Italy secured third place, the USA’s Eleven Madison Park in fourth and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in England came in fifth place. Gaggan, an Indian restaurant located in Bangkok had the highest entry at 17th place and Lima’s Central became the highest climber moving from 50th in 2013 up to 15th this year. 29 of the 50 awards went to restaurants within Europe, securing its status as a truly exceptional culinary continent.

In the summer of 2012, Noma set up a pop-up shop in London, hosted by Claridge’s in Mayfair, whilst the restaurant in Demark underwent renovation. For 10 days, dishes that reinvented and captured true British classics were served to diners, including Lancashire Hotpot and scones served with clotted cream and caviar. At £195-a-head and selling out in less than two hours, diners were treated to a true gastronomical dish of live ants, anesthetized and bursting with flavours of lemongrass, served in a plant pot with radishes and crème fraiche.

Over the past three years, Noma has released two books; most recently, ‘A Work in Progress’ captures an intimate account of a year in the life of the world’s best restaurant, including diary entries from René Redzepi, recipes and photos. It documents the discoveries, struggles and methods of the restaurant and of the chefs. The second book, ‘Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine’, released in 2010, is an account of the first seven years of Noma, introducing the people, places and ingredients which have placed Noma on such an untouchable pedestal of gastronomy.

Looking forward to an increasingly bright and delicious future for Noma, the restaurant will be relocating to Japan at the beginning of 2015 for two months.

“Although our entire staff will move to Tokyo, we’ll leave our ingredients at home. Rather we’ll bring our mindset and sensibilities to the best of pristine winter produce from all over Japan.

“The whole staff is exhilarated, like myself, by this opportunity and we believe that the wealth of knowledge from the journey will enrich our own restaurant and cooking when we return to Copenhagen” Redzepi said in a statement.

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