Even though I don’t want to think about leaving Australia yet, my upcoming trip to Noma’s pop-up restaurant in Japan makes it a lot more bearable! Thinking about our visit to Noma Copenhagen last summer gets me extra excited for our lunch in Tokyo in three weeks.
The excitement I used to have as a kid before my birthday is equal to the excitement I have now going to visit Redzepi and his crew in Tokyo where they will seek to apply the Noma philosophy to Japanese ingredients.
But first, last summer.
The moment we stepped into the restaurant in Copenhagen, we were part of the Noma magic. Being welcomed by the entire floor staff as if we were old friends was pleasantly overwhelming. There are a lot of young, international, passionate and easy going people working there who made the atmosphere during our lunch fun and relaxed, yet they worked very effective. There was not a single flaw and still service was completely unpretentious, contrary to some fine dining places.
When you’re eating at the ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ your expectations are high and Noma surpassed everything and gave us more we could have expected. Rene Redzeppi has an approach to food that’s not merely delicious or seasonal but it’s the very essence of place.
It’s making the very best of what nature gives us. The team at Noma is constantly combining, mixing, and testing new ingredients and cooking methods. Old techniques like curing, smoking and fermenting often find their way back to the menu as well.
We were invited for a tour through the kitchen, fermentation cells, test kitchen, office and crew-area by pastry chef Rosio Sanchez. With her Mexican roots she and Rene Redzepi will soon be opening a taqueria in Copenhagen. Can’t wait for that!
In the kitchen above the restaurant there were another 30 chefs working. We watched 10 of them making the rhubarb roses we had for dessert and had a little talk with Rene himself who gave us some tips for places to go visit in Copenhagen.
It’s amazing how a restaurant like Noma which is fully booked months in advance still barely breaks even. The 45 seat restaurant employs 68 staff members which we found quite impressive. I could write pages about all the dishes we had but I won’t. I recommend everyone who sees art in this piece of craftsmanship to try and visit this restaurant, as long as it’s still here.
My top 4 of the dishes:
4: Beef tartare with pickled ants
3: Cured egg yolk, potato and elderflower
2: Pickled and smoked quail egg
1: Raspberries with double cream and rye. The staff noticed we liked it so much we got an extra can of the cream! Yum..
Total price for 2 persons including winejuice pairing: about € 750.
Complete menu 14th August 2014:
Fresh berries and lemon thyme
Peas and radishes
Beef tartare and ants
Pickled and smoked quails egg
Cucumber and scallop
White cabbage and samphire
Caramelized milk and cod liver
Burnt onion and walnut
Squid and fennel
Mulberries and turbot roe
Cured egg yolk, patato and elderflower
Turbot and nasturtium
Cream and wood sorrel
Rhubarb, creme fraiche and sorrel
Raspberries, double cream and rye
Friandises: Danish seaweed snegl and pork skin with chocolate
Being in Australia doesn’t make me forget about my recent trip to In de Wulf. After the 12 amazing courses we already enjoyed we were invited to come to the wood oven in the garden where Kobe himself would prepare an extra dish just for us. His version of the Northern French flammekueche accompanied by a nice home brewed beer called Mirabelle, named after his daughter. Both were really good again (of course) but the best thing is we had a chance to talk to the chef himself. Someone I respect very much for the things he’s doing at In de Wulf, De Superette and probably at (on my still ‘to visit’ list) De Vitrine as well.
It’s been more than a week already since my visit to Michelin starred restaurant In de Wulf and I still have no idea where to start. The 18 course menu? The beautiful location in the southern part of Belgium? Late night snacking with all of the staff? The breakfast the next day? Or the warm personality of Kobe Desramaults that shines through in everything? Which I already noticed visiting The Superette a few weeks ago.
Though you might not expect to read this much on a photography blog, I would recommend the foodies to stay tuned.
Kobe wants to take the whole process of cooking from beginning to end into his own hands by collaborating with local breeders and farmers and by foraging intensively. There are a lot of fields, dunes, and forests around Dranouter (where In de Wulf is located) where he and his entire team collect herbs, sea buckthorn, seaweed, mushrooms, poppies, meadow sweat, flowers… you name it. Because of this, and because of working seasonally, the menu changes daily.
So much happened in the 24 hours I spend there and I will share all of it with you but it’s too much for one post so I’ll start where I started: lunch. Entering the restaurant with a warm welcoming we were offered a tour through the kitchen right away before we got to our table.
We started our lunch with beet with a crumble of rye and lemon verbena followed by a crispy pork skin cracker with aioli, dusted with mustard powder. A very good start but it got even better with the arrival of the whelk clams with bay leaves vinaigrette, accompanied by a tartar of mussels from the North Sea. The smoked mackerel that arrived after that was in my opinion the best looking dish with smoke still coming out of the curry plant. But all the following dishes were very beautiful presented, well balanced and very tasteful as well. A poached egg yolk with radish flowers, Judas’s ear mushrooms with celeriac butter juice (!), asian style squid, smoked oyster on pine branches, raw scallop from Duinkerk with raw chestnut and fermented leak juice, smoked potato with a buttermilk potato espuma and a roasted root vegetable salad with topinambur and carrot. The 6 months riped and short roasted milk cow with red onion looked (and tasted) so delicious I even forgot to make a picture. Or maybe that was because I was quite impressed by mr. Desramaults serving this dish himself. They saved the best for last: the boudin noir (blood sausage) with a beetroot sauce and caramelized baby onions. Next to that a crispy pork head snack served on a pig’s skull. Normally I’m not a big fan of blood sausage and eating pig brains didn’t sound too appealing to me at first but in the end this was the best dish I had that day.
After this we had an extra course, specially made for us by Kobe himself in his wood oven outside but I’ll share pictures of this later.
We ended our meal with 3 desserts. The first one with beetroot, rose hip and yoghurt was my favorite, though I’m normally a bigger fan of heavy chocolate desserts. The second one was a new interpretation of the carrot cake with caramelized white chocolate and fermented carrot. The last one a mousse and a granita of apple.
The drip coffee was served with beignets, a meadow sweat cheese tart, a chocolate bar filled with caramel and a jelly of sea buckthorn with a verbena powder. This lunch accompanied by good wines and home-made juices was almost perfect but I told you it was a 24 hour lasting experience so keep posted for more on In de Wulf!
Heuvelland (Dranouter), Belgium