COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's Noma won one of the restaurant world's highest accolades for the second consecutive year on Monday with a menu that remains deeply committed to an innovative Nordic cuisine.
Noma's 33-year-old chef Rene Redzepi, whose restaurant topped the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list released late on Monday, has created a menu that includes sea urchin and dill, potatoes and milk skin, beef cheek and pear.
Redzepi, an ambassador for the New Nordic Food program set up by the Nordic Council of Ministers, has headed the restaurant since its 2003 opening.
The Noma approach to cooking is concentrated on obtaining the best raw materials from the Nordic region such as Icelandic skyr curd, halibut, Greenland musk ox and berries.
"Noma is not about olive oil, foie gras, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives. On the contrary, we've been busy exploring the Nordic regions discovering outstanding foods and bringing them back to Denmark," Noma said on its website.
"This goes for very costly ingredients but also for more disregarded, modest ingredients such as grains and pulses, which you'll taste here in new and unexpected contexts," it said.
The two Michelin star restaurant does its own smoking, salting, pickling, drying, grilling, and baking, prepares its own vinegars and concocts its own distilled spirits such as its own eaux de vies.
Noma makes systematic use of beers and ales, fruit juices and fruit-based vinegars for its sauces and soups rather than wine, and allows vegetables, herbs, spices and wild plants in season to play a prominent role in its cooking.
"We feel that the cooking at Noma is fairly ambitious but then again, Nordic cuisine must possess a certain purity," Noma said.
Located on the ground floor of a renovated listed 18th Century warehouse in the old Christianshavn district of Copenhagen, the restaurant's fittings and furnishings also embrace the Nordic spirit and atmosphere with smoked oak, stone, leather, water, glass and light.
Its menu also offers the "Noma nassaaq," whose dishes are described only as "Noma's classics and new inventions."
The 12 courses Noma nassaaq "experience" lasts more than four hours, is served to all guests at a table and has to be ordered before eight in the evening. Nassaaq is Greenlandic and means "voyage of discovery."
The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list, produced by Britain's Restaurant Magazine, was unveiled in London after voting by a panel of more than 800 chefs, restaurateurs, journalists and food experts who rated innovative gastronomy over haute cuisine.
Failing to receive its third Michelin star in March this year though widely expected, Redzepi said he dreamed of receiving a third star in the future.
Noma beat other European favorites such as British chef Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck this year and last year pushed Spain's elBulli restaurant -- where Redzepi once worked -- off the top perch after four consecutive years.
Writing by Mette Fraende, Editing by Paul Casciato