No reservations required—at least until things go back to normal.

By Jelisa Castrodale
Updated May 26, 2020
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On Friday, the universally acclaimed, Michelin-starred restaurant Noma shared some exciting news on its website and social media accounts. Because Denmark has entered the second phase of its reopening efforts, restaurants and cafés will be allowed to start serving customers next week, and Noma will be among those that will start welcoming guests. 

ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN / Stringer / Getty Images 

But, for now, eating at Noma will be a completely different experience than it was in the Before Times, when its innovative seasonal menus featured everything from cod sperm and Faroese horse mussels to moose leg and reindeer tongue. Starting on Thursday, May 21, Noma will be temporarily opening its on-site gardens as an outdoor wine bar, and it's only serving two options for lunch and dinner: a cheeseburger and a vegetarian burger made from quinoa and tempeh.

"Both are juicy and packed with umami, with a little bit of magic from our fermentation cellar, served on a freshly baked potato bun developed by our friends at [Copenhagen restaurant] Gasoline Grill," the restaurant wrote. 

“We were like, ‘Should we do an ant marinade with raw carrots to have that twist of who we are?’” Noma chef and owner René Redzepi told the Los Angeles Times. “But then I’m like, ‘No, why should we do that right now?’ It’s about being together, it’s not about trying to be innovative.”

The wine bar will be open every Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m., and it will also be offering takeout, for both the wine and the burgers. And, in another departure from the Noma as we've known it, there are no reservations required. "We feel in the first phase of the reopening that we want to be open for all," Noma wrote on Instagram. "We need to heal, so let’s have a glass and a burger, you’re all invited." 

As for when Noma will reopen as a full restaurant, Redzepi isn't sure, but he doesn't think it will be before July. He told the Times that his 85-person staff will need time to adapt to social distancing requirements and to adjust the menu; the period between July and September is typically "Vegetable Season" at the restaurant, and every dish uses plant-based ingredients that can be found "underground, above ground, near the water and in the trees." This year, though, the late-summer offerings might also include some courses that had been designed for the spring "Seafood Season" menu. 

Redzepi says that he expects the restaurant's outdoor wine-and-burger offerings to be popular, and he won't be surprised if Noma serves 500 people every day (although no more than 60 guests will be scattered throughout its gardens at the same time). 

But unless you're already self-isolating somewhere in Copenhagen, you're probably still not going to Noma, even for a cheeseburger. As of this writing, Denmark is still closed to all foreign visitors, and will be until at least June 1.