THE NEW NOMA

THE WORLD’S BEST RESTAU­RANT IS DEAD – LONG LIVE ITS HEIR, WHERE GUESTS ARE IM­MERSED IN NA­TURE AND THE SEA­SONS, BUT SHOULD FEEL COM­FORT­ABLE ENOUGH TO GO BARE­FOOT.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - MOTORING - JENI PORTER

Copen­hagen was blan­keted with snow within a week of René Redzepi open­ing his new Noma restau­rant in a se­ries of farm-like build­ings clus­tered at the edge of a lake on the out­skirts of town. He’d built what he calls Noma 2.0 on the premise of its be­ing in and of na­ture, phys­i­cally and also con­cep­tu­ally with a menu based around what he says are the three dis­tinct Nordic sea­sons. Although the restau­rant is only 2km from the city cen­tre – at the north­ern tip of Copen­hagen’s counter-cul­ture hub of Chris­tia­nia – he had talked ex­cit­edly about be­ing in “wild na­ture”. Mother Na­ture sur­passed even his ex­pec­ta­tions with an Arc­tic chill that froze the lake and turned his lit­tle snow-en­veloped vil­lage of wooden and brick huts into a win­ter won­der­land.

“The days when ev­ery­thing is cov­ered in snow, it’s been magic,” he says. “The other night a fox came jump­ing out of the grass with a duck in his mouth. It was like some­thing out of a movie, the whole restau­rant froze with forks half­way to their mouths and they’re like, ‘What hap­pened?’”

The fox and its prey were about six months too early for Noma’s game and for­est menu, the fi­nal act of a three-parter, which started with the bounty of the cold seas and will segue to veg­eta­bles in the sunny grow­ing sea­son. To kick off his new culi­nary ad­ven­ture Redzepi pre­sented an open­ing menu that started with a sea snail bouil­lon and ended some 16 cour­ses later with a flu­o­res­cent green plank­ton cake. Although cooked with the same cre­ativ­ity and rigour, many of the dishes seem sim­pler than those of the game-chang­ing orig­i­nal Noma. But the chef says the sim­plic­ity of a dish such as king crab steamed in sea­weed is an il­lu­sion. “There’s much more in the back­ground, we spend more hours prep­ping for it to come out look­ing as if very few things have hap­pened.”

It’s a good anal­ogy for Noma 2.0, where a mon­u­men­tal amount of ef­fort and ex­pense has gone into cre­at­ing a restau­rant so un­der­stated it could be called plain. Redzepi wanted it to feel raw, or the sort of raw you get when you bring to­gether the best ar­chi­tects

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