Reflections on Noma.

Ex-pat living has a lot of benefits – case in point, random travel.  I say ‘random’ because me, Hubs and our friends had plans to journey to Nepal last week when a cyclone and bad weather forced us to take a step back and consider our options.  Aside from some ongoing issues with Qatar Airways, The friends had been to Kathmandu previously and thought that the weather could make for a very interrupted trip.  So, we cancelled the tickets and tried to decide where else we wanted to go.  Top of the list was actually Baku, Azerbaijan, but none of us had visas.  We also tossed around Budapest and Morocco before deciding on Copenhagen.  Within 12 hours, the new tickets were purchased, bags were repacked and a suitable apartment rental was found.  Having dinner together to celebrate our new destination, we got into the spirit of Denmark by watching No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain before our 2AM departure.  He spends most of the episode interacting with the chef and staff from Noma, the top rated restaurant in the world (2011, 2012) and ranked #2 this year.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if we went?”

Spoiler alert – we get to go.

Cut to: me digging out my smartphone and somehow obtaining reservations for Friday evening at 7:30.

Not quite ready to believe this had happened (people make reservations for up to 3 or 4 months in advance), it wasn’t until the restaurant called to get my credit card to hold the booking that I believed we were actually going.  So, in the brisk Fall air, we made way for our culinary journey.

For the record, I am by no means a foodie.  To put this whole meal into perspective – I ate McDonald’s as a snack the afternoon before my dinner at Noma.  The meal following was airplane food on my return flight to Doha.

Here’s the best part – I don’t think they care.  The staff were not pretentious in the least.  They were regular, approachable people, which was good because making a booking at such an esteemed restaurant, I was a bit nervous – would I do or say something wrong?  Would I wear the right thing?  Would I even like the food?

From the moment we were even near the restaurant, all of my anxious energy disappeared.  Literally, one of the wait staff saw us trying to take pictures and stepped right outside to offer his help.  Our jackets were taken and we were shown to our table.  Confirmation that one of our group could not eat gluten or dairy was clarified and we decided on a DELICIOUS celebratory bottle of champagne to start the meal.  As food began appearing in front of us it became clear that each of the staff worked at Noma because of their love of food and hospitality.  Each person we interacted with was genuine in their response to our questions and had nothing but patience as we became more inebriated.  I know that this level of service exists elsewhere, but the combination of food and care made for something truly memorable.

So, why were we really there?  The food of course!  Each course (of which there were 20+) was something completely unique and different, with out of this world presentation.

This is a very simple version of what we were served. The explanations and ingredients were much more involved.

I think my top courses were:  Wild duck (succulent and perfectly cooked), Elbleskiver and greens (the perfect comfort food) and quite honestly – the pork fat butter that came with our bread!  You haven’t lived until you’ve had it.  Props to the amazing gluten free bread as well.

One of the yummy starters.

While the bill at the end did involve some sticker shock, I say, you only live once.  If you can’t enjoy a meal at one of the best restaurants on earth with friends, then what’s the point of travel?  Do I usually spend that much on food?  Of course not.  Would I do something like this again?  Definitely.   And should I ever find myself in Denmark again, another dinner at Noma is top of my list…

And what about you, dear reader, any recent memorable meals to mention?

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