Chef René Redzepi’s restaurant noma displaced El Bulli as Restaurant magazine’s best in the world. The restaurant, located in Copenhagen, Denmark introduced foraging as a fundamental part of the menu. Local ingredients at noma included Icelandic skyr curd, halibut, Greenland musk ox, berries and water with notorious dishes including reindeer heart tartare and deep-fried duck brain served in its own skull.
noma celebrated the traditions of nordic/Scandinavian cooking and became the flagship of a new style of cooking. The restaurant went on to win the Best Restaurant in the World a further four times and remained in the top five through 2016. Redzepi subsequently toured the noma concept to other countries including the UK, Japan, Mexico and, in 2016, Australia. In each case, the cuisine was adapted to take advantage of local ingredients. The website says that the restaurant’s approach is “about achieving gastronomic perfection with a deep respect for the geographical context, that we are situated in”.
In 2017 Redzepi announced a new approach to his menu, dividing the year into seafood season (February through April), vegetable season (early summer to early autumn) and game and forest season (early autumn to January). Of the last, he says “This is the only period of the year when meat will play a starring role at restaurant noma. During this season, we’ll pay homage to the animals and things that grow from the forest: berries, mushrooms, nuts, and wild plants, along with the bounty of the harvest season.”
As of 2020, dinner at noma would set you back around $585 Australian, with a further $320 or so for paired wines. Alternatively you could opt for juice pairings at just $210.
In early 2023, Redzepi announced that noma would be closing at the end of 2024, saying that maintaining the high standards he had set was emotionally and financially unsustainable. He had also been accused by many of his staff of being an abusive boss, ruthlessly exploiting unpaid or underpaid interns. He said the restaurant would give way to a “pioneering test kitchen” to pursue food innovation. What that meant was, at the time of writing, yet to be revealed.