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REVIEW: A first look at Noma Australia

Noma Australia is at Barangaroo in Sydney. Photo: Roberta Muir.

Noma in Copenhagen has been declared the best restaurant in the world four times and now Rene Redzepi, considered one of the most thoughtful and provocative chefs in the world, has brought Noma to Australia as a 10-week “pop up” restaurant at the Barangaroo development on the edge of Sydney’s CBD, in a collaboration with Tourism Australia and developer Lendlease.

Sydney Seafood School manager and Business Insider contributor Roberta Muir was among the lucky few to get an online booking at Noma Australia, which sold out in 90 seconds, when they opened in October.

Here are her impressions of the 12-course meal from the very first service.

Despite a high level of determination and a quick trigger finger when the online bookings opened, I was still pretty damned excited when I succeeded in scoring one of the 56 seats at Noma Australia’s opening day lunch on Australia Day.

And after grazing my way through the below menu – and seeing the brigade of chefs and floor staff it took to bring it all together – the $485 price tag for the food alone seemed like fair value and as it turned out the matched wines for an additional $195 were a steal too – possibly the best wine matches of any degustation I’ve ever had!

If you don’t already have a reservation, join the thousands on the waitlist now and keep your fingers crossed!

Noma Australia

Rene Redzepi brought his entire team from Copenhagen to Australia.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

The Noma team includes a number of Australians, including restaurant manager James Spreadbury, so don't be surprised by the accents.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

Slivers of raw macadamia nuts in clear spanner crab broth: 'The sensation in the mouth reminds me of crunching through the thin ice sheet on top of just frozen snow,' says Redzepi.

.Photo: Roberta Muir

Wild native berries (muntries, riberries and more) in seaweed oil with powdered kakadu plum (gubinje).

Photo: Roberta Muir.

Porridge of golden and desert oak wattle seeds (cooked for 12 hours) wrapped in saltbush with native lime. 'One of the first native ingredients you’re offered in Australia is wattle seeds, but always as a seasoning,' Redzepi said. 'I thought why not take them and use them as a main ingredient, like any other grain.'

Photo: Roberta Muir.

Seafood platter - pipi, blue mussel, blood cockle, flame cockle and oyster topped with shards of dehydrated crocodile fat.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

Western Australian deep-sea snow crab, mixed with egg yolk that had been cured in fermented kangaroo. 'The best (and most expensive) crab I've ever had,' said Redzepi.

What's Australia without a pie? This one's made of dried scallops and served with lantana flowers.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

Who knew you could eat the flowers of a noxious weed like lantana? 'Best not eat the stems, they're 'mildly poisonous,' explains our waitress.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

Barbecued milk ‘dumpling’ of marron.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

The marron is wrapped in a pancake made from the skin of burnt milk, presented in a woven banana leaf basket - with minced nasturtium on the side.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

Sea urchin and Tasmanian tomato dried with pepper berries .

Photo: Roberta Muir.

The final savoury dish: Abalone schnitzel and 'bush condiments' including mat rush, finger lime, sea lettuce, bunya nut, sea grape, kelp and a bouquet of native herbs, with an umami-rich mushroom dipping sauce.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

Desserts include 'petits fours' of mango ice cream sandwich, pineapple in dehydrated hibiscus and compressed watermelon.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

The was my favourite course - rum lamington, a super-light aerated rum cake with shavings of dried milk replacing the traditional coconut, with tangy native tamarind.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

The final dish - the Noma 'Baytime', which looked more like a Magnum, of peanut ice cream with caramel centre coated in a freekah glaze on a lemon myrtle stick.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

The menu, signed by the chef.

Photo: Roberta Muir.

* Roberta Muir publishes the website Food Wine Travel, where she shares her favourite food, wine and travel discoveries. You can sign up here to receive her regular email of her top 5 favourite things.

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