Delving into René Redzepi’s field-to-table philosophy, Nikola Hassan discovers team Noma’s approach to fine dining. I went to Noma with an open mind to consciously enjoy the entire experience. A foodie friend had managed to secure a table on the day after my birthday, and I took it as a sign from the gastronomical universe—I had to go; it was an immediate and resounding “yes”. As the trip neared, it also seemed like the electrifying brand that is René Redzepi was becoming more and more in my culinary radar. I received his latest book set as a gift, including an autographed copy of his published journal—a fan girl was born.
It was a beautiful summer evening when we arrived at Noma’s waterfront location. The humble restaurant and research facilities reside in an old factory. We had the first seating and were trying to control our immediate sense of euphoria. One of the servers approached to bring us in—show time.
Upon entering the restaurant, you realise immediately that the ceilings are low. As you walk through the entrance, the open kitchen immediately greets you. The kitchen crew is huddled to receive you with a warm welcome.
Courses are explained by a member of the team. It’s impressive to see that they all speak the same language. There is also an effortless fluidity to their presentation. Not only have they eaten these dishes, they also truly understand the process of creating each dish and the ingredients that go into them. At Noma, produce is at the forefront of the menu. Locally foraged ingredients make a melodious multi-course dinner that also showcase various cooking techniques through the witty presentations. Dining here was like eating for the first time—you will be fully aware of every flavour, scent, and texture. Every bite was thought provoking and evocative on so many levels.
As I walked out of the restaurant into the star-sprinkled sky that night, I knew right away in my heart that this experience was one for the books. Noma is moving to a new location in 2017. www.noma.dk Chryseis Tan lists her three most memorable truffle experiences at prestigious culinary destinations. ANTICA CORONA REALE, ITALY A true Piedmont classic and a must for all food lovers, especially truffle aficionados. The egg in cocotte with white truffle is a signature—simple but so well-balanced and flavourful. www.anticacoronareale.com
LE CINQ, PARIS Located at Four Seasons George V, Le Cinq is headed by three-Michelin-star chef Christian Le Squer. The restaurant brings classic Parisian cooking into today’s context. The gratinated onions and special spaghetti timbale with truffles are spectacular. Coupled with an exceptional wine list and a to-die-for cheese selection, dinner here is a real standout. www.fourseasons. com/paris/dining/ restaurants/le_cinq
Forest flavours (various herbs) with chocolate and eggnog a n s i h p ea s, r f e s h c h e e, k el p, a n d o r e g a n o fl o w er s
Roasted bone marrow with cabbage and nasturtium flowers
The sea urchin is served fresh in its original shell
Rich, smooth egg custard, elevated with fresh truffle shavings