Bacteria, yeast a diner's delight at Denmark's Noma

Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:31am EDT
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By Mette Fraende

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - While ant paste, milk curd and berry preserves make up the "Blueberries and ant" dish at Denmark's restaurant Noma, bacteria and yeast will soon be next for diners at the eatery which has been crowned world's best restaurant for three years.

Located on the ground floor of a renovated listed 18th Century warehouse in the old Christianshavn canal district of Copenhagen, Noma is run by 34-year-old chef Rene Redzepi.

"It changes the chemical composition of food," Redzepi told Reuters of his experiments with bacteria and yeast in the test kitchen. "After many months you get a magic process."

Redzepi is setting up a team of chefs and academics to run the project and is currently working to perfect a dish of grilled leek which has been marinated for 24 hours in fermented yellow split peas, a dark, thick aromatic paste resembling intense soy or bean sauce.

The experiment follows the introduction of three types of ants on the menu about four months ago, which after a rocky start, has been well accepted by diners.

Guests flock to the Copenhagen restaurant from all over the world to get a seat at one of the 11 tables in the restaurant which is furnished to embrace the Nordic spirit and atmosphere with smoked oak, stone, leather, water, glass and light.

Diners pay 4,900 Danish crowns ($850) for a 12-course set menu including appetizers, treats to finish, wine pairing and a tour of the kitchen to meet some of the 50 chefs.

That is, if they are lucky enough to book a table. On Monday at 0800 GMT, Noma will open for January bookings and the two-seater tables are usually snapped up in less than an hour.   Continued...

Rene Redzepi, chef and co-owner of the restaurant Noma, talks with his employees in a test kitchen in his restaurant in Copenhagen October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer