14 April 2012

Dinner at Noma, Part I

This is one of those experiences that I must share. Last evening, Dan & I plus two visiting friends went to dinner at Noma 'the best restaurant in the world.' It was, without question, the best meal I have ever had, in a lifetime filled with great meals. 

I had not planned on taking photos, so I missed the first element of surprise - on the table was a floral arrangement, and in there were some branches, but the branches were 'malt flatbread and juniper'. After that, I made sure to take photos of (nearly) everything, though I only had my phone with me.

With my companions had a pork starter, they made me a leather of hawthorne and sea rose (above left). Sea rose is a smell from my childhood, so from the very beginning of this meal I was teary.

The next 'snack' (as they called them), came as I was still eating the first one, so I don't know exactly what it was (above right). It might be 'potato & chicken liver', but I am not sure. It was delicious though.

Next up was 'blue mussel & celery'. One removed the top shell, but the bottom shell was edible. Amazing.

Here are 'the freshest shrimp you can eat'(above left). These guys were still wiggling on the ice. We were instructed to pick them up by the tail, dunk them headfirst into the brown butter, and pop them in our mouths. I cannot lie - this one was hard for me. But I closed my eyes, said a prayer, and did it. Pretending I was a fox helped, and it was indeed a glorious experience.

(above right) 'Moss & cep.' My friend Elizabeth nailed it - 'it kinda smells like a Cheeto'. We all agreed, it tasted like one too, in a good way.

Back to back came two of my favorites. First (above left), is 'rye, chicken skin & lumpfish roe'. Salty & sweet & perfect. Next came 'dried carrot & sorrel'. These carrots were slow roasted on a grill for 8 hours, if i remember correctly. They are on a bed of hay ash, and one picked it up and dipped it into a sorrel puree. Have you ever wept while eating a carrot? I can now say a carrot made me cry. 

(above left) 'Cod liver & milk crisp'. At first it was strange for me, as the smell that hit my nose is the same as I get when I am about to take a swig of the oil, which I find quite nauseating. But once that buttery, crispy concoction hit my palate, all was forgiven.

(above right) 'Pickled & smoked quail's egg' arrived steaming on a bed of fresh hay inside a larger egg. They exploded inside the mouth. (I had a 'Tampopo' moment.)

'Neck fibers' (above left), I cannot remember what the little dollop inside is. Crunchy amazing. (Above right), we have the classic 'radish, soil & grass'.

This first one vies for first place. (above left) 'Æbleskiver & muikku'. For those that are not familiar, æbleskiver are similar to beignets, and we eat them at Christmas with powdered sugar & preserves. These were savory, and yet somehow still sweet. Inside was a hot cucumber center. The combination of salty & sweet, ocean & earth, old memory & new experience, I think I got a bit weepy again. 

(Above right)I think this one is 'herb toast & smoked cod roe'. I was still slightly wrecked over the previous dish, so I wasn't wholly listening. I did catch that the top layer is duck fond. Again, delicious.

Two more items of note - a loaf of perfect bread served with three spreads. From the top, counter-wise,is pork fat, goat butter, and the freshest cow butter ever. I believe they had someone churning in the back. Also, we had a juice pairing as well as the wine pairing, it was also very special. 

These were JUST the snacks, not even the appetizers. I will do the rest in another part. And I also have to tell about the service and the atmosphere, which was just as incredible as the food. Stay tuned!

1 comment: