Restaurant 108, the other noma
What do you do when you can’t get a table at the impossible to eat at noma? Go to the sister restaurant Restaurant 108 of course. Still quite busy but a few days notice will usually get you a table, or at least a seat at their dining bar.
If none of the stars align you can at least get some drinks and snacks at the attached bar and chat with their friendly bartenders. Also a good place to come back to in the early morning for their pastries that sell out by late morning.
The star of the show - milk skin crepe
I had only heard of their most instagrammed dish - milk skin crepe with pork. But it was enough to lure me in. Since I had arrived early for my reservation I got a glass of wine at the bar next door. I asked Marc, a knowledgeable bartender from Scotland, for something unique and he handed me muddy brown Valpolicello in a large rounded glass. Strange color, I thought, but the first sip revealed a depth of flavor and almost caramel stickiness that was delicious.
To my left were two gents from Canada and a couple from France on my right. Each group had their own snacks but the Canadian guys were enviously eyeing the cracklings sitting in front of the French couple. Being the brash American, I negotiated a trade and they were able to try the cracklings. I had just been poured my second glass when my table was called and I said goodbye to my new friends.
Cured mackerel in olive oil. The metallic sheen of mackerel glistening in a thin pool of oil. Each piece full of mackerel flavor but gently subdued as to not overwhelm. And while mackerel can often have a dark sediment flavor along with the strong fish essence, this was quite clean and bright. The chefs here tend to favor symmetry and the results are always quite beautiful. Bleak roe (articles featured photo). A subtle and delicately hued dish of pink, orange, red. Meticulously plated and tweezered. I usually shy away from dishes that require tweezers to plate but somehow the chefs here are able to achieve something almost homey even if it requires tweezers. This was my first experience with bleak roe but it's a relatively popular ingredient in Scandinavian countries. The roe's pearls are firm and salty but not overpowering, letting it pair nicely or stand on its own. A dish I would order again.
Scandinavian food at its best
Caramelized milk skin crepe. It may be step too far to call it genius, but what an amazing idea. We've all seen the skin that forms on a cooling cup of hot chocolate but to make a crepe from it is a step most of us have not dared to dream of.
The tender and crispy pork belly mixed in a bed of greens (cress and wasabina) and light dressing with hints of cumin strongly reminiscent of a dish at La Shuk in Tel Aviv (the Mosahen made with chicken). Nowhere nearing plagiarism but the similarities in presentation and flavors are very evident. The Valpolicello worked perfectly with this dish, each reinforcing and amplifying the subtle caramel flavors.
Pineapple weed parfait. An exlosion of red. A nice end to the meal but the most visually focused and least flavor focused. The control of the color palette while never losing sight of the flavor in every dish was impressive. Expertly executed but without feeling overfussed and overwrought.
A good value for the quality of ingredients and the skills of the chefs. Truly one of my favorite restaurants in the world and a must visit when in Copenhagen. If I never make it to noma now I won't feel so disappointed.