As Copenhagen’s Noma Departs, a Welcome Arrival


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Caramelized milk skin with grilled pork belly and watercress.

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Hannah Grant

Ever since René Redzepi announced that he’d be closing what’s been possibly the most celebrated restaurant in the world, the only thing harder to find at Noma than out-of-season vegetables are reservations. Fortunately, there’s a workaround. Just a summer plum’s toss from Noma’s back door, Mr. Redzepi has opened 108, a stylishly casual alternative that’s a third of the price, yet far more than half as good. Prep cooks run ingredients back and forth between the two kitchens, but a Noma alumnus, Kristian Baumann, is firmly at the helm.

Chef stalkers will find Noma staffers starting their mornings at 108, where an adjacent venue called the Corner doubles as a top-flight coffee shop with tea and pastries by day and a modern enoteca with beer and snacks by night. “It’s a friendly vibe,” Mr. Baumann said. “I wanted people to relax and have fun with family or a group of friends.”

Although 108 officially opened on July 27, it began as a 13-week pop-up at Noma while Mr. Redzepi and company were off cooking in Australia. The kitchen is already in practiced rhythm, and the first dish, like many on the menu, had the hallmarks of Noma’s creative perfectionism: a raft of crisp steamed romaine stems marinated in a paste made from the leaves, served with aged turbot roe and adorned with marigold petals. Highly Instagrammable, it’s also delicious. The restaurant’s bright, no-fustiness-allowed atmosphere makes you want to eat it with your hands — help there arrives with the bread, a sourdough rye that is satisfyingly crusty outside and chewy soft inside.

The menu is in Danish; instead of the bucket-listers who frequented Noma, 108 hopes to woo locals. “We call 108 a Copenhagen kitchen,” Mr. Baumann said. “Foraging, fermentation and collaborating closely with farmers are the pillars of our kitchen.”

Take the cured mackerel that invigorates a national staple with fresh touches: salted gooseberries, spruce oil and six sharp skin-on triangles of fish. Or the caramelized milk skin (its texture like a tender tortilla) filled with grilled pork belly and watercress. To call it a burrito would undermine its elegance, but you’ll still want to roll it up and eat it like one. For bigger appetites, there is a section titled Livretter (Danish for favorite dishes) with family-style servings of lamb shoulder, monkfish or grilled greens.

Go any time of day. Pair a sunrise over the scenic Nyhavn waterfront with a cup of single-origin micro-roasted cortado and a sticky wild blueberry danish. Afternoon strolls and evening bike rides call for patio-side rosé in the shadows of drawbridges on the canal.

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