Dining at the new Noma

COPENHAGEN • When chef Rene Redzepi transplanted the Noma restaurant that invented New Nordic cuisine to another site in Copenhagen, every seat was booked through the end of this month.

The second batch of tickets, running through end-September, has not sold out yet.

A table for eight, in particular, is up for grabs on many dates. If you hunger for the experience, here is some information.

Where is it?

The address is Refshalevej 96, 1432 Copenhagen K. The new Noma is in an area called Christiana, where fortified walls were built on a landfill in the 1600s to defend the city.

The area was neglected until it was taken over by residents in 1961, first as a playground, then as the base of Freetown, an experimental anarchist community that proclaimed itself self-governing and self-sufficient.

Does the pioneer heart still beat in Christiana?

Yes, despite continuing conflict over hashish vendors in Pusher Street. The Noma complex, parts of which were still behind plywood early this month, is an island within the island of Christiana.

At the new Noma restaurant, work is carried out in a cluster of "huts" connected by glass-roofed corridors.
At the new Noma restaurant, work is carried out in a cluster of "huts" connected by glass-roofed corridors. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/NOMA

At the edge of the property is a pond where swans, mallards and coots paddle around. It is as if chef Redzepi had found Copenhagen's back door and walked through it, carrying the restaurant with him.

Does Noma look like a restaurant?

Not as the word is commonly understood. With its rooftop garden, cluster of outbuildings and a main structure where work is carried out in a cluster of "huts" linked by glass-roofed corridors, it resembles the campus of a tech firm.

What happens when you arrive?

You may look for a sign. You will not see one, but if you see greenhouses and a long concrete bunker built into a 17th-century earthen rampart, you are in the right place.

When you enter, most of the kitchen and dining-room staff, including chef Redzepi, will be standing inside the door. They will act as if they have been looking forward to your arrival.

How are meals at the new Noma different?

The menus are more tightly focused. The old Noma restricted itself to ingredients that grew in the Nordic countries.

The new one narrows the scope even more, with three major themes a year that stick to what chef Redzepi thinks is best at the time.

The menu in late spring and summer will revolve around plants, though it will not necessarily be vegetarian. "We will have things we think belong, such as ants and snails," chef Redzepi said. "They're there, in the garden."

Foragers and hunters will supply the late-fall and early-winter kitchen with wild mushrooms, nuts, game birds, deer, moose and bear. Every course in the current menu, in effect until late spring, contains something from the ocean.

How many courses are in the tasting menu?

There are about 20 dishes, a few of which come at the same time.

Will you see a menu before you eat?

In a manner of speaking, yes.

You will not see a printed menu until the meal is over, but hanging to the right of the entrance is a framed beachcomber's collage of shells, seaweeds, starfish, seahorses and other salt-water creatures. Nearly every course is represented somewhere.

How much does it cost?

About US$375 (S$497) for lunch or dinner without drinks, paid in advance when you book on the restaurant's website. Wine pairings cost about US$166 and the slate of juices runs about US$133.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2018, with the headline 'Dining at the new Noma'. Print Edition | Subscribe