René Redzepi reveals the latest on the soon-to-open Noma reboot.
The long-awaited second iteration of four-time World's Best Restaurant winner Noma is nearly here. But if you're awaiting actually going there, take a moment to go mark your calendars, as the next batch of instantly-selling-out reservations will be made available on January 18 at 4 p.m. Despite the pre-opening, packed-house potential though, head chef/founder René Redzepi told Bloomberg today that "everything is at stake" with the new Noma.
That may seem like an odd attitude for a chef who's pop-up restaurants amassed five-figure waiting lists, but given what he also revealed about Noma 2.0, the feeling of risk makes a bit more sense. Redzepi has already announced that the restaurant will shift seasonally between seafood, vegetaria, and game menus, but today he added more detail about the first, with which Noma will open.
After a year of traveling the Nordic region and discovering seaweeds, crustaceans and fish that not even his specialist team had ever seen, "from weird plants to shells to the eyeball of a fish,” the seafood menu from Redzepi's staff of 80 people will be as creative as ever. While nothing on the menu is confirmed, Redzepi says he's figured out a way to cook sea cucumber and use the more standard cod (which is traditional in Danish dishes) in what could end up the most unusual dish of all.
Taking what Redzepi calls "a king of fish," the Noma team has been working with every part of cod, including "the inside of it, the face of it, the swim bladder, the stomach, the roe," and, you read this right, "the sperm." With cod sperm potentially on the yet-to-be-finalized menu, the squeeze Redzepi says he's feeling from the already-delayed opening, which he says must happen on Feb. 15 "or else it is over," is understandable, even if the large, seven-room restaurant will only seat 40 people in its main room and eight to 16 in its private room despite having space for many more.
With glass roof panels connecting the rooms and letting in natural light, a nearby rooftop greenhouse, a meat room, a fish room, a room for fermentation, a prep kitchen, a barbecue, staff quarters and land on the property reaching a lake, the new Noma could seem to be a (literally) big risk, except for one small factor: as Redzepi and team's menu research shows, it's still very much Noma.