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After years of waiting, we finally got a booking for a group table at Noma, so popped over to Copenhagen for a few days. Here is our review:
Noma- The restaurant space is incredible, probably the most beautiful restaurant space I have ever been in. And the kitchen… as someone who likes to cook, walking through that kitchen gave me goosebumps. The group seating, which is all we could get, was not ideal for us. You end up getting your courses all at the same time, which was fine in terms of pacing, but meant probably less explanation of the dishes than I would have liked, and less engagement with the wait staff. I think the group seating likely colored my view of the meal, but here is my overall- some of the bites were incredibly delicious, and almost all were incredibly interesting. I think the food at Noma is highly conceptual, which made me feel like a lot more explanation of some of the dishes and each ingredient were needed in order for me to have appreciated every bite, especially because some of the bites weren’t yummy but again were very interesting and slightly (or in one case very) challenging. We went in seafood season, and they chose to weave rose flavor into many of the dishes which I thought worked well and added real intrigue to some of the bites. The wine pairing was excellent. Was it the best meal of my life? No, definitely not. Was it very good? Yes. And maybe if we had been seated alone, I might add an extra very in there, though I am not sure. It is worth noting that there were two people at our group table who had been there 1 time and 6 times before. Both of them said they thought it was not as good as it used to be.
Geranium- This is hands down the most beautiful meal I have ever had, besides at Ryugin and Narisawa in Tokyo. The level of beauty of each dish practically overwhelms you. Excellent wine pairing (they offer 4 options depending on your budget and we went for the cheapest one which was still stellar). Almost every course was spectacular in flavor, with the exception of one or two dishes which were very interesting, but not my flavor. A fantastic, fantastic meal in a bright and lovely place. Really blew me out of the water, since I was expecting Noma to be the one knock-out meal.
Restaurant Barr- this is the restaurant at Noma’s old location, which they have turned into a sort of German beer hall. The beers were incredible, and I say this as someone who rarely is excited by beer- I had one infused with seaweed which was awesome. We had a stunning beet appetizer, and then a choux pastry with fish roe that was nice. For the main we went for the schnitzel which I thought was really yummy, but my husband, as an Austrian was offended by, given the saltiness of the breading and the thickness of the pork. Then we had two desserts, one which tasted totally burnt to us though it said ‘charred’ on the menu and is indeed meant to taste burnt according to our waitress, and an apple strudel that was really yummy. I wish we had gone for the salmon, which many other tables were having, and which looked incredible.
Atelier September- We went here for a light lunch, and I have to admit, the avocado toast was truly delicious.
Lille Bakery- The jelly donuts are delicious, and perhaps counterintuitively the unfilled ones are even better.
Empirical Spirits- If you are interested in new-age Noma-style creativity applied to alcohol, you really should really request an appointment to do a tasting here. If you happen to be in town on a day they are closed, message them on Instagram and they likely will be willing to open up for you and give you a tour and tasting. I think what they are doing is truly intriguing, and left our visit with 4 new bottles for my bar, as well as a cooking glaze and hot sauce. I was unlucky that their shoyu and miso paste were not available when I went, or I would have bought those too.
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