This is a repeat visit to Noma and while the food seemed better this time it felt like there was even less of it. There are only about 12 tables and most are filled with 2 persons, some of which will be paying for 4 guests as those tables are “seen” for 4 by Noma. It is a very strange situation. Reservations are hard to come by and are way more frequently available for 4 persons than 2. They suggest taking a 4 top and trying to find someone to sit with you which is difficult if you don’t live in Copenhagen. You can find some people looking to hook up on Chowhound but why the restaurant doesn’t offer a Shared Table, as they used to, for all of us 2 top travelers is beyond me.
Last visit they were able to “move” us to a 2-top reservation and so we didn’t have to pay for empty chairs but this time we did. It would have then made sense to offer us seconds on any items we’d like as we were already paying for them. I don’t know how many were affected by this but I know there were 7 of the 12 tables occupied by 2 persons and one by 3. Anyway the restaurant offers only one tasting menu (which can be adapted for allergies) to all attending and also offers wine and/juice pairings to go with the menu. There are lots of servers who do a lot of table saucing and presenting of food yet to be prepared. Everyone we interacted with spoke excellent English. They also had a printed menu of the meal to take with you when you leave.
The meal started with balls of apple presented in its own juice mixed with verbena and over-ripe apple in the bottom. It was a beautiful presentation, the apple crisp, sweet and tasty.
Next was a plate of 4 items. The nasturtium was tart, stuffed black currant and just okay in taste. The plum was wrapped in kelp and accented with rosemary salt. Another okay on this one. The rosehip was filled with berries and herbs, another okay. The big leafy looking thing is a thin fried flatbread that is decorated with ants. Visually interesting and probably the best tasting of the group.
The radish pie was another dish of beauty and offered the nice spiciness of radish to be highlighted.
The grilled baby ear of corn was served in tact with the corn having been carved out and grilled on its own, wrapped in the cob and grilled again. It was accented with horseradish cream. It had a good grill taste and was a tasty few bites.
The bread service is a course of its own. The sourdough is made from a 13 year of starter that began when the restaurant did. It was warm and nice, served with Norwegian butter that was very tasty.
Tomatoes are new to their menu as they’ve been working on how to prepare them to give intensity to their taste. They did this through drying them in a low temperature oven and glazing with elderflower oil. They were served with a fresh milk curd and a sauce of white currant berries. The tomatoes tasted more sweet than I expected and were pretty good; the curd was really nice and was a good accompaniment.
The Faroe Island sea urchin was wrapped in cabbage which was a nice companion taste to the urchin.
The langoustine had been poached in butter and was served with grilled onions and rose and lavender vinaigrette. They are cooked to order and done perfectly. You can really taste the lavender in this nice dish. After the body part you are served the rest of the langoustine which is accented with thyme and lavender flowers. The bits you can get are tasty but it is a ton of work to get much.
The Danish artichoke is sliced thinly after being grilled with beechnuts. It had a wonderful nutty taste and still had a good texture. It rated a Yum!
The king crab was from “Finmark” and was served with a smoked butter and egg yolk sauce. The crab was nice but awkward to eat the way the strands were cut and the egg yolk could have been left off so the subtle taste of the crab would have been more evident.
The summer greens and herbs are placed around the plate, all having been grilled over charcoal. Some were quite good and others fairly bitter. An interesting plate.
The teal duck had been presented whole before it is taken in back and cut up for serving. They warn you to be careful about shot that could still be in the meat, but I found none. This is a small wild duck and you are served the head, neck, breast and leg with a plum sauce and cabbage leaves. They suggest that you put some meat and sauce in the leaf and roll it up to eat. I tried one and the cabbage was too tough to bite through and didn’t seem to enhance the duck at all. The breast meat is cooked rare and is very tender. The different parts did have different tastes and textures. I liked the neck, once you pulled out the spine bone and trachea, it was chewy and had a great flavor.
The first dessert was a sheep’s milk yogurt with fennel and anise powders along with ant paste on top and sorrel juice around it. It was sweet and tart at the same time. The ant paste was possibly responsible for the gritty textures but overall it was fun and felt very Scandinavian.
Next was an ice cream bar presented in a folded over napkin, as a surprise. It was coated with konini grain and topped with flowers. It was a cool, refreshing bite that was not to sweet. The grain’s texture kept making me think it was caramel but it didn’t have that taste at all.
You finished with 3 desserts 2 of which are presented on a bowl of heaped living plant material. The Reindeer moss had been sprayed with chocolate and was dry on the finish. It came with a dip of creme fraiche and kelp which just melted the moss and made a mess. The moss was tasty but messy enough on its own. The cep mushrooms had also been dipped in chocolate. They were chewy and had really lost the earthy taste of the mushroom – not as good as you’d hope. The last component was Elderflower eggnog. It was thick and very herbed up. It was an unpleasant finish.