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A Taste of Noma at Claridges Review

August 8, 2012
  • Restaurant: Noma
  • Chef: Rene Redzepi (@ReneRedzepiNoma)
  • Location: Claridges, London
  • Menu: Secret 5-course Testing Menu + wine flight
  • Price: £325/person (including wine & service)
  • Zagat Food Score: 28/30
  • Jelly Good Food Score: 10/10

Simply put, Noma, is a Danish, double Michelin Starred and worlds best restaurant, and has been voted so, for the last three consecutive years. It’s in such a league of its own, that Rene Redzepi – the “greatest chef on earth” & “International Chef of the Year” (2008) – is even listed in the Times 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Rene Redzepi

Getting a table at the Noma pop-up was difficult.  During their two-week stint in London,  the pop-up can serve a total of 3,600 people.  Noma operated on a pre-registering scheme, so that a few of the tables could be bought by enthusiasts, with the rest going to the general public a few days later. Within an hour of pre-registration opening all 3,600 seats were gone. (It’s at this point that I should give kudos to the cool Claridges staff on twitter, since I didn’t receive the opening email as quick as some, and they manually sent it directly to me).

The room was transformed into a Nordic wonderland:  dusky gray/purple palette, wishbone chairs, raw wood.

First up was a set of amuse bouches. To begin with, Vegetables & Soil. Everything (apart from the pot) is edible – you eat the grass, the soil, the vegetables – it all!

Vegetables & Soil

Vegetables & Soil

Next up: Ants (living). Cabbage with creme fraiches, with specially imported living Danish ants on. The ants taste very strongly of lemongrass!

Noma – Ants with Cabbage

Final (and by far my favorite) amuse bouche was a twist on English Afternoon Tea. Plain scones with clotted cream and caviar. The tea was an earl grey and raspberry.

Noma – Afternoon Tea with Caviar

Raspberry Tea

Blanched oyster with samphire & sea…

Noma Cooked Oyster

Steak tartar. A dish that has been served for a long time by Noma. No cutlery, pick up the beef and dip it in the rest of the ingredients.

Tartar & Sorrel, Juniper & Tarragon

Then my favorite course of all, the cooked celeriac with truffle reduction…

Celeriac with Truffle

Followed by lamb neck and fermented pea fresh cheese…

Lambs Neck

Noma Fresh Cheese

Dessert: A fantastic combination of flavours & texture – from liquid nitrogen ice cream, to powdered, yet clumped nuts. Fantastic.

Walnut & Dried Berries

Potato Crisps

Potato Crisps

I’ve seen a few mediocre or even negative reviews of A Taste of Noma at Claridges, however Jelly’s experience was entirely different to the negative points I’ve seen raised. Some reviewers claimed that the converted ballroom was “cacophonous”, whereas I found it typically Danish and very suiting to the restaurant. Others found the service rushed or “discourteous” – again the complete opposite to what we experienced. Our set of waiters and “informants” were polite, efficient and even very funny.  There was also a Danish lady from Noma who would come over and explain all the fascinating details about the food, including the recommended way of eating some of the dishes.  In particular I’ve seen some criticism of the celeriac dish, with some stating that this dish was just too simple for this kind of restaurant. However, nobody seems to be aware that the celeriac was extremely hard to source – each and every one was precisely 150g in weight before cooking – a strict requirement from Rene in order for the flavour of the goats milk they were cooked in to penetrate the precise amount. The explanation of this course alone took a minute or so – fascinating stuff and an insight to all the work that I know goes on behind the scenes to take ingredients of such a high quality, up to something that no one else on the planet is currently able to do.

Map of Noma Ingredients

A Taste of Noma at Claridges Menu

JellyGoodFood Bottom line:

Quite simply the best chef & the best restaurant in the known universe…

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1 Comment

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