René Redzepi is the exalted chef behind Noma in Copenhagen, universally known as one of the best restaurants in the world with two Michelin stars and the number one spot on the S. Pellagrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants List.
And now Redzepi and his acclaimed food have arrived in Tokyo.
From January 9 until February 14, the famous chef and his entire 50-staff team will be serving guests at Tokyo’s Mandarin Oriental.
The pop-up Noma restaurant seats just 56 people for lunch and dinner with each meal spanning 20-courses with local ingredients and fresh produce, per Redzepi’s signature style.
Reservations for the experience had to be made all the way back in June of 2014. Lunch costs ¥39,000 or about $US381 without tip. The dinner package includes a one-night stay for two people at the Madarin Oriental and costs ¥149,500, or about $US1,462 before service charge, according to the Mandarin Oriental.
The Guardian reported that more than 60,000 people applied for a chance to dine at the event with only a small percentage making the cut.
One of the lucky diners was Ivan Orkin, the New York chef behind Ivan Ramen. He documented his amazing lunch on his Instagram @ramenjunkie and gave Business Insider permission to run his photos. Keep reading to see the incredible menu at Noma Tokyo.
“And so it begins! Fuji in the background is an excellent omen!”
The first course was a freshly-killed langoustine topped with ants. Orkin described it as “still moving [and] super fresh [with] acidic notes from the ants.”
Next were under-ripe strawberries, a signature of Redzepi. They were topped by what appear to be thin slices of cheese and sea salt to balance out the acidity. Orkin called this dish “Awesome!”
“Assorted citrus, Okinawa chilli peppers,” Orkin explained of this dish. A nice palate cleanser.
Next came “Shaved ankimo toast.” Ankimo is a delicacy in Japan made with monkfish liver rubbed with salt and rinsed with sake. Instead of serving it traditionally, Redzepi shaved it into tiny pieces and put on toast.
“Cuttlefish ‘noodles’ [in a] wild rose petal broth.” Served on ice.
This next dish was scallops, but it appeared to be prepared in some unknown way. Commenters suggested it was freeze-dried or magic, but Orkin simply says, “Can’t explain, just delicious.”
Next came a clam tart. Orkin broke it down into numbers: “45 clams per tart, 13 people shucking for 8 hours. Worth it!”
“Tofu, shaved walnuts. Best tofu dish, ever?!”
“Squash and dried salted ume. Sublime.” Ume are similar to apricots and are often salted and pickled in Japanese cuisine.
“Fermented black garlic leather. Grown up candy.” Black garlic is a kind of caramelized garlic delicacy that tastes sweet or syrupy with a hint of balsamic vinegar. It’s made by roasting a whole head of garlic for weeks at a time.
“Things from under the ground.”
“Wild duck.” Plated and served like only Noma can.
“Roasted Turnip” in some kind of green sauce.
“How to incorporate rice into the meal? Dessert, rice ice cream and crisps.”
“Sweet potato slow cooked in raw sugar comes molten to the table. Wild kiwi dipping sauce.”
“Finale: cepes dipped in chocolate cinnamon dipped in sugar.” Wow.
Orkin says the meal was definitely worthwhile. “Probably didn’t describe everything correctly,” he wrote on Instagram. “Great meal, fabulous experience, and only first day! Hats off.”
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