SHO Shaun Hergatt

The last time I was in New York, we were going to have dinner at SHO Shaun Hergatt, one of the handful of two-michelin starred restaurants in the city. I was very pleased to see that the financial crisis and the downturn in the economy had yet to close this restaurant, although I was slightly suspicious when I found I could book a dinner for two quite easily in the next couple of days. Nevertheless, we headed on downtown to Wall Street to try it out. The location of SHO is odd, on an entire second floor building, not even inside a hotel right in the middle of the financial district.

Given the high cost of their rent, I’m surprised that their tasting menu was a reasonable US$85 for five courses (without tax, tip, supplements or wine). What they have done with the place is very chic – it’s almost very oriental in feeling and the high ceilings contribute to the air of spaciousness to the entire dining room. The tables are extremely well set apart for a NY restaurant, although it did feel like the dining table itself was pretty wide to begin with.

There was an open kitchen, and we could see the large number of chefs bustling about preparing and finalising all the intricate components for each dish, although I was sat along the wall, slightly behind a case so missed out on most of the view for the evening. A few lucky tables (I believe reserved for people on special occasions like an anniversary, etc) were seated right next to the kitchen when I believe the view would have been excellent.

Before even deciding on which five courses we wanted, a series of amuse bouches arrived. This one was a light, airy apple foam with some creamy cheese concoction, and then topped with a sprig of dill. Tiny apple cubes sat suspended in the middle of the foam, providing a nice crunchy contrast to the otherwise smooth dish.

The next arrived in a huge conch shell, effectively small balls of mashed potato with black squid ink encasing foie gras and rolled in breadcrumbs then fried. Each bite had a great amount of flavour, and contrast but each small enough for a bite full just enough to enjoy and start the appetite.

Next up were the mussels although other than being fresh, can’t remember what they were served with. Nice but obviously not particularly memorable.

Bread is generally always enjoyable in places like this. Each table received a small fresh loaf of, I’m guessing, some sort of sourdough bread. The crust was crunchy, the insides bouncy although I do think it was slightly overbaked. I could forgive this when they gave us three types of butter (truffle, classic french and a sage). My favourite of course, being the umami-rich truffle butter. The sage butter was very subtle and was overpowered by the crust of the bread.

For each course, you get to choose one of three different dishes. The first, Hudson Valley Foie Gras Sandwich with pain d’Epice Wafers, Banyuls Reduction, Sicilian Pistachios is the one that I didn’t order so can’t really comment on the flavour.

I selected the Chef’s Garden Beets with Hibiscus Tuile, Vermont Creamery Goat Cheese Pave’, Beet Dust, a classic combination of sweet and salty that was beautifully presented and even more delightfully tasty. The pave, like a small cheesecake was the perfect size to accompany the red beet, the crisp tuile working to contrast the soft textures.

The next dish that I didn’t personally order was the Griggstown Farm Coxcomb with Veal Tounge Ribbons, Chicken Skin, Autumn Mushroom Pave’. We had no idea what a coxcomb was before ordering this dish (it’s the fleshy bit on top of a rooster’s head, for example), let alone that you could eat it. I tried a little bit of this one and was surprised at how tender it was. No comment on the other elements.

Instead, for my next course, I ordered the Satur Farms Celeriac Espuma with Crispy Potato Curls, Black Truffle Powder, Truffle Creme. They brought the bowl to the table where you could see all the small tiny components, before they carefully spooned the celeriac espuma (foam) on to the plate where it settled down into a rich, creamy sauce. The balances in this dish were fine – truffle flavours rising to the top with each spoonful, a rich velvety and tasty foam with three, tiny but perfectly crisp potato curls floating around. I could have had a whole bowlful of that celeriac foam.

Next up was the East Coast Flounder with Langoustine, Black Truffle Cauliflower Puree, Romanesco, once again not my dish.

I had gone for the Nova Scotia Lobster with Garlic Chives, African Basil Seeds, Chilli, Coconut. This tasted a lot more like a rich, red curry sauce (chilli and coconut), though it was a perfect combination with the sweet lobster flesh. It definitely had some kick to it, but more of that type that gets going as soon as it touches the tongue, leaving a lingering impression for a good time to follow. Also, not listed was the crispy rice balls that helped provide additional contrast.

Next up, the Three Day Beef Cheek with Baby Leek, Potato Parchment, Perigourdine Sauce (not my dish).

Instead I went for the Upstate New York Guinea Hen with Caramelised Salsify, Quinoa, Garlic Cream, Rillette. The quinoa was much smaller than I anticipated, and though slightly more like oatmeal in appearance, was a much better size for the dish. Crispy skin perched atop the perfectly round rillettes and the meat was amazing soft and gorgeous, no doubt cooked sous vide to keep all that juiciness in. They did well to reduce the sauce to a really thick concentrated texture that literally stuck to the meat as we wiped it through. Delicious.

I didn’t order the Satur Farms Candided Yam with Canadian Maple Mallow, Cranberry, Burnt Milk but the dish certainly looked impressive.

Instead I went for the Blue Cheese Roulade with White Wine, Quince Puree, Walnut, Celery, something a little bit different. There wasn’t a huge amount of cheese, instead this dish was perfectly balanced with all the components you would assemble yourself, but much more lovingly arranged.

I ordered some fresh mint tea to finish off the evening and the petite fours arrived. Fresh, tiny cinnamon donuts (no bigger than a thumbnail) and deceivingly big in the picture below. Fresh, light and airy.

Accompanying them were freshly made hazelnut macaroons that I’m sure the French would be very happy to eat. I don’t claim to be an expert in these delicate bites, but this one was definitely great – not too sweet, light and flavourful.

Finishing off the trio was a black sesame truffle, the earthy elements almost hidden away by the bitter cocoa dust surrounding them. A great way to finish off the meal.

Whilst not the cheapest of dinners, I was very impressed by the entire experience. Service was impeccable – topping up tap water without us even realising it, dishes being whisked away not too quickly, but not too slowly and we even noticed the small details like having two staff put down the plates at almost the same time. In a place like this, there is definitely the slight airy of pompousness – napkins appear refolded on the dining table when you return from the restrooms although I’m pleased they didn’t go to the extent of replacing them entirely. There was no pressure to drink if you didn’t want to and the food, most importantly was a wonder to enjoy. The only thing to note if you go is the supplements they add on if you order the dishes with more expensive ingredients (fair enough). Total for two of us with tax and tip (no alcoholic drinks was US$306).

Name: SHO Shaun Hergatt
Found at: 40 Broad St, New York, New York

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester

My sister and I have this agreement when it comes to any event where presents are involved: Don’t buy me anything I don’t really need. The consequences of this mean that often we spend time buying each other experiences, rather than material goods that will often go unused. When it came to my birthday this year, she suggested that we dine at the 3-starred, Alain Ducasse in the Dorchester.

I’ve been past here, plenty of times before although normally it’s on the the top floor of the double decker buses that zoom around Hyde Park as you admire the fancy cars that sit in their driveway. Not tonight! This time, all suited up to go (apparently a “highly” recommended dress code of at least a jacket) and enter the hotel we are.

Being the first time in this hotel, I notice how the doormen manually revolve the revolving doors as you enter the building, and arriving for our 6:30pm (early I know!) booking, are greeting by no more than four or five different people in the lobby all decadently dressed up, as one would expect for such a well known British hotel.

We move into the stretched hallway, lined with gilded statues, overly ornate furnishings that shine in constrast to the dark streets we just stepped out of. Families celebrating birthdays, and obviously special events sit in comfy lounges entertained by a talented pianist and celebrate with a late afternoon tea. We walk amongst them as we move towards the entrance to Alain Ducasse.

Slightly early for our booking, we perch at the bar for a drink. The prices are sharp contrast to the cheap berlin bars I’m used to frequenting. Even when we went to Tausend to “splash out” on ‚Ǩ10 cocktails in Berlin, the ¬£20 equivalents here I’m sure are to be good. I opt for a simple classic Martini Bianco with a lemon slice as it seems to be my current apertif of choice.

The restaurant opens and slowly but surely we’re seen into the cavernous dining room. We are shown into one of the comfy corners. There’s plenty of space, and the drapes around make it feel a lot more intimate than waht the space realistically is. I note three two-person dining tables in our area, a couple already present against one side, we are seated against the opposite. Already able to overhear the furtherest table, I’m thankful the middle table remains unoccupied for the rest of the evening.

As we peruse the menu, a mountain of gruyere profiteroles arrives, freshly made, warm salty and ever so light. It’s tempting to continue snacking on them as we consider the two menus but I’m conscious we’ll be trying the tasting menu up ahead of us.

There are actually two different menus to choose from. A reasonable seven course menu that is listed on the website, and another using more in-season ingredients that comes in at almost double. We opt for the first and the menus are whisked away.

It’s not long until the bread basket lies. We have a choice from many breads. Not quite the same selection that Tom Aikens offers that requires a push-cart for just the bread itself, but good nevertheless. An interesting range from bread with bacon, an olive bread, sourdough, plain white roll and a baguette. Not super warm, but the winner for me is the small baguette, crispy on the outside and definitely freshly made.

It comes served with creamed cheese, and a pat of salted french butter shaped into what looks like a giant Chinese dumpling, or maybe more approrpiately, a bulb of garlic.

It’s not long before the first course arrives, a Spicy crab and broccoletti dish. The streak of red is some sort of spicy salt that definitely gives the dish zing. The foam on top suspending luscious amounts of crab, and a warmed jelly like seafood concoction that is as velvety as a very smooth foie gras. It’s a good start to the meal, a generous heaping of seafood and packed full of flavour.

In what seems like a trend to come, it seems almost as soon as we’ve finished one course, our plates are whisked away and another soon replaces them. I’m still uncertain as to whether or not they were rushing us (they weren’t really doing another sitting) or this was some aspect to the service that gets them that second or third star.

Anyway, the second dish arrives, Crispy raw and cooked vegetable tart served with a fresh herb condiment. This dish was not only spectacular to look at, but also an wonderful confusing mix of flavours and textures. Raw vegetables give the dish a fresh crunch that contrasts against the stewed vegetables that sit in a circle at the bottom of the dish. I break the flaky pastry dish, destroying the beautiful masterpiece, but eagerly using it to soak up all the amazing flavours that make up this dish. I almost think that my vegetarian friends would be amazed at finding this dish in a french restaurant, but a part of me suspects some of the strength of flavour from the sauces must come from a basis of animal stock. Not that I care as I scrape the last bits from the dish.

Our waiter presents, the next dish, apparently a very signature dish of Mr Ducasse, a “Saute gourmand”of lobtser, and truffled chicken quenelles. Exquisite, luciscious and no wonder Ducasse’s customers demanded for this dish to be brought back on the menu. Huge chunks of lobster sit amongst freshly made, perfectly Italian al-dente pasta, made even more divine by the chicken dumplings flavoured generiously with truffle. Strongly aromatic and a sauce so gorgeous that I cannot help but soak up some of the left over sauce with the remnants of my baguette. Probably breaking lots of ettiquette, but hey, I’m appreciating the food right?

Visually bland, at least in contrast to the previous dish, we start on the Simmered halibut, celeriac, shellfish and squid. I can only imagine how much butter (it’s French cooking, mmm-kay) went into the velvety sauce that surrounds the fish. A good meaty fish that flakes easily with a fork, with “tears” of celeriac dotting the plate. Shellfish came in the form of tiny cockels that provided pepper-like contrast to the dish.

We finish with the seafood course and then arrives our main meat course, Saddle of venison, grand-veneur, pumpkin, beetroot and quince. It’s a good thing too because it’s a sizable chunk. I take a sip of the Rioja wine that I enjoy even more having actually went against the sommerlier’s recommendation for a merlot, it’s strength of flavour matching well and not outpowered by the venison hung for only two weeks. He seemed to want to recommend all the most expensive glasses of wine which I’m sure were good, but my wine pallette’s not that refined. I take a slice of the venison, swoosh it around in the rich dark sauce, perfectly balanced with background notes of dark chocolate and enjoy the dish very slowly as the amount of food consumed starts to kick in.

Fortunately that was our last main course, with the cheese platter to arrive next. It’s spectuculalrly laid out with four different cheeses. A goat’s cheese accompanied by a red-pepper paste (very good!), a camembert with apple chutney, a hard cheese (can’t remember which) with a mushroom and macadamia paste (didn’t really do it for me) and my favourite of the evening, a roquefort blue cheese with quince chutney with a slight kick provided by mustard.

I found it a bit strange but they served it with a side salad topped with blanched almonds.

And more appropriately a walnut and sultana bread. Of course there were crackers as well.

Amazing the petite fours arrive without even being asked for tea and coffe and we’re both struggling to put away more of the food. There were six(!) macaroons. Flavours we think included strawberry, lemon and coconut.

The truffles were also very good – a hazelnut with crispy rice crackers remindining me of my favourite Finish chocolate brand, Geisha, and a more classic chocolate truffle.

My sister wans’t particularly thrilled by the sound of our last dish on the menu, and they substituted for her, the raspberry almond dish that looked delightful and appropriately red for my birthday (Chinese tradition says it’s good luck to be wearing red on your birthday).

Still not excited by the prospect, what arrived was definitely a good surprise in my book for the exoctic fruits dessert containing two different sorbets (vanilla and lime, mango and passion fruit), light puffs in the form of coconut meringue chunks of fruit and finished off by a warm mango passionfruit sauce. My only complaint was that it was a bit sweet for me (but I think that’s just me more than anything).

Thinking that we were completly finished, we were then shocked to have a whole dessert trolley roll up to us including many sweets, biscuits adn extra pastry cakes for us to choose from. We could have any and all although at this time, only opted for a small caramel and a pistachio pastry to split between the two of us.

They even gave my sister a nice “breakfast” take-away dish to go.

Everything about the evening was pretty good, as one would expect from a 3-starred Michelin place. I found the dishes coming a little bit too fast for my liking, but maybe that’s part of the service that is required for a place like this. Food was amazing, and some of the flavours really refined and divine.

Name: Alian Ducasse at the Dorchester
Found at: The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London W1K 1QA

Assortment of four french cheeses (goat’s cheese, blue, camembert)
Exotic fruits – coconut meringue, vanilla lime sorbet, mango passionfruit.

Almont raspberry


Before Stef left our project, we decided to hit one of Berlin’s handful of Michelin-starred restaurants. Opting for the one located in one of our most favourite neighbourhoods, Kreuzburg, a number of other people couldn’t believe a Michelin-starred restaurant could exist in the neighbourhood that invited the Döner Kebab.

Everything started off wonderfully – we were shown to our tables before being offered the menu choice and an aperitif to start. The menu errs a bit more on the slightly causal side of a restaurant, though I will note that service was extremely good throughout. Our menu differed slightly from the what was on the website, a good indicator the menu changes based on availability of ingredients.

We opted for the 5 course tasting menu and instead of the matching wines, opted for two different types of bottle of wines to share for the rest of the meal.

Shortly after deciding, a small amuse bouche arrived, fishcake with fresh apple and mango sauce (or at least I think it was – my memory is getting worse as times passes). I remember everyone being very impressed by the starter – fresh ingredients, delicate textures and a strong balance of flavours that worked remarkably.

We also got two types of bread – nothing particularly to write home about, but both came along with two different spreads – a tantalising light mayonnaise with garlic and herbs, and the other, fresh cheese curds mixed with some sort of green herb. Dare I say waldmeister (woodruff) that Germans seem to enjoy.

Here’s a picture of the Poached Saint Pierre in laurel milk with calameretti, confit tomato and dry olives. I can’t really comment on the dish since I didn’t order it, but others reported it was very nice. It also came with an ink sauce.

My first dish was the crayfish with eel jelly, baby artichoke, Granny smith and pancetta. For me, this was an amazing dish – the little jelly cube packed with eel flavour, the crisp salty pancetta balancing out sweet crayfish, with neither excessively dominating and apple and a scoop of apple-infused ice cream doing wonders to balance it out. No wonder these guys got an award for great food.

Next up was our Seabass with grilled asparagus, pea and tarragon gnocchis. A hearty piece of piece served with perfectly crisp skin, in season white asparagus (it’s everywhere at the moment), and a hearty handful of the potato pasta infused with the peas and herbs. Another winner.

When our dish of Braised and pan seared venison with brioche dumplings, yellow chanterelles and spinach arrived, we all commented on how wonderful it looked. Not content to have venison one way, we had it twice – but showing off the great flavours. Being a sucker for stewed meats, I particularly savoured the deep flavours developed by the braised version but both tasted amazing. The brioche dumpling also provided a nice textural counterbalance to the dish.

Finally on to our dessert rounds. Up first was the Cheese selection from Maitre Affineur Waltmann. It was a French selection, and although I’m not the biggest fan of cheese for dessert, it impressed everyone else – good selection from strong to soft, and of different textures. They provided more bread at this stage as well.

Here’s a quick picture of the dining room.

And well laid out cutlery throughout the meal.

Our final dessert for the evening, the Baked chocolate with cherry and ice cream made out of sour cream. The cherry came in three forms (fresh, glaced, and then served in a triangle form, effectively a mousse). The sharpness of the cherries naturally provided a great complement to the rich chocolate slice, and more counter balanced by the sour cream ice cream that worked to cleanse the pallette with every mouthful.

Not to be overly done, they also served a dish of petite fours (indeed various cakes, chocolates and bites to delight).

Hartmann’s is gold. Service was particularly great throughout the evening, warm and friendly at the same time without getting in the way. It’s strange location makes it even better. I reckon it’s also one of the best valued restaurants I’ve been to for some time (for the quality of food such as this).

Name: Hartmann’s
Found at: Fichtestrasse 31, Kreuzberg, Berlin 10967

Tom Aikens Take Two

One of the problems about not writing up a food entry at a complicated tasting course is that you start to forget all of the various elements. Last year, I got another voucher to eat at Tom Aikens at almost a 40%. Given they had a special Christmas menu on as well, it was definitely worthwhile. This was my second visit to Tom Aikens (first review here), and the service and food still consistently as good. The descriptions are going to brief and this post is more of a reminder as to what I ate there than anything.

Here’s the first bread I ate, an onion bread of sorts.

An amuse bouche including a mushroom/truffle soup, cheese bite and a dish that was sort sort of jelly (that I can’t remember now).

Look at all that bread! This is exactly what I referred to when I talked about American restaurants didn’t seem to care so much about their bread. This is definitely a bit of overkill though.

I think the next dish was aubergine and foie gras. Can’t really remember this one either.

And a more seasonal addition, pickled reindeer with various beetroots and leaves. Poor rudolph!

Followed up by some roast squab. I’m glad to remember that this squab wasn’t very chewy and was extremely easy to cut and eat. Tasty too.

Next up. Desserts! First, this raspberry concoction including a fizzy raspbery sorbet and raspberry filled white chocolate “cigar” as they called it.

Finally the other seasonal touch, the pumkin dessert that served it four fives ways (pumpkin pie, ice cream, cream, cake and truffle). A pretty subtle flavour that works well.

Of course, they finish off with their wide selection of freshly baked madelines

And their just as diverse selection of chocolates (petite fours)

Another fantastic meal at Tom Aikens.

Name: Tom Aikens
Found at: 43 Elystan Street, London SW3 3NT

Eleven Madison Park

My sister and I had definitely splurged on food this trip to New York. I count myself fortunate to dine at these places and enjoy them all. Our final, and definitely the most impressive, fine dining place this trip was Eleven Madison Park. We figured it’d be worthwhile tasting their great valued four course meal for only US$74. Given the quality of the food to come, I still look at as a culinary experience bargain and highly recommend it.

Eleven Madison Park is easily found by following the trail of their four-leaf motif. It’s embossed into the door head and one of the lamp-posts in the park has the name and same four-leaf motif at the bottom of one of their hanging banisters. We were amongst the first to arrive for the lunch service arriving just before noon. I didn’t really want to wander too long to kill time considering how cold and windy that day was. Things already looked good when one of the maître de’s started spinning the rotating doors to help us get in. Taking our coats from us, it wasn’t long before we sat down at our table, fortunate enough to both be facing outwards into the grandiose setting, and soon to be, banquet room.

The restaurant certainly has some style. Describing the room with tall ceilings doesn’t really do justice to just how far the roof from us was away. To our left, long bright windows let plenty of natural sunlight in. Facing forward, we could see a number of tables and they set them plenty away from each other to avoid pretending not to overhear conversations. Further forward, we see a raised floor where even more tables sit and all the way to the right, the bar where we notice people welcomed to dine as well.

As a frequently travelling solo diner, I was also happy to note a rather poised lady dining by herself (food critic perhaps?) on the other side facing towards us. She seemed to be treated just as well as everyone else. Now, on to the meal. We found the tasting menu hidden underneath our dining napkin. Our waitress explained it very simply, “You may choose three courses or four courses. You effectively get to compose your own tasting menu based on key ingredients with the final accompaniments changing with availability of food. Each one will be fully explained on arrival. The first row are all cold dishes, the second and third all hot and the final one dessert elements. You may choose to even skip some of the dishes and, for example, go for another hot dish instead of a cold one.”

Whilst deciding on what to eat from the menu, the first thing to appear were these light gruyere puffs. Probably slightly bigger than a thumbful, these bite-sized morsels really started the appetite going.

When my sister and I dine, we don’t normally drink wine. Matching wine sessions are out of the question when dealing with tasting menus – there would be simply too much alcohol for our poor little Asian systems to deal with. Nevertheless, my sister picked a non-alcoholic drink and I, intrigued by numerous selections decided for a Hot buttered rum with the help from one of the waiters. As he put it, “This is the perfect winter drink. This is a classic drink that is resurfacing and will help you warm up.” It took some time for the drinks as they made it fresh and it was so good I’ve decided to try to replicate the recipe at home while the winter months are still upon us. It came in a wonderful beer-stein like container for the glass.

Here’s the first non-alcoholic drink, an Orange Julius.

And then the amazing tasting hot buttered rum. It reminded me a little bit slightly of those butter menthol sweets you suck on when you have a cold but only in the good way (they are just too tasty to have just one).

Our amuse bouche soon arrived. Here was a lightly toasted brioche with truffle butter and chives. I have to admit the truffle flavour wasn’t the strongest in the butter (it never is) although I could tell some earthy undertones separate to the chives. This went with the next dish.

A small tea cup of chicken soup. They even poured the lusciously creamy chicken soup out of a tea-pot like construct. The soup had everything you could ever want in a chicken soup. It was creamy. Packed full of flavour. Perfectly seasoned. I just wanted more.

Soon after that dish came an American Sturgeon Custard. It arrived in these immaculately cut and cleaned eggs where we used tiny spoons to pull out spoonfuls of flavoured custard. I have no idea how they cut the eggs so clean. It almost looked like they used a laser, or sanded down the top to get a consistent edge. I almost thought they weren’t really when they first arrived.

Continuing the theme of small bites for appetisers, a small glass bowl soon arrived. Explained as “poached egg with truffles”, they explained the slowly poached egg sat with the truffles to absorb their flavours and then they topped the cooked egg with a truffle infused sauce. Imagine a luxurious version of an eggs benedict (minus the ham and English muffin) and this pretty much captured the essence.

With all of these small plates brought out, they finally brought out the bread and butter. Here you can see the disc of butter etched with their signature four-leaf motif. This small round was the standard American butter that we cut into for our bread. This butter looked much more yellow than what I’d seen most American butters to be but I still think the English or French butter is the best so far.

One butter isn’t enough for this place. They also had to serve a Goat’s Milk Butter. Whilst my sister didn’t like the distinctive goat’s milk flavour, I liked it better for its strength of taste compared to the rather bland American stuff. Using the goat’s milk butter helped me avoid putting [fleur de sol] salt when using the other one. They don’t really stop at just two butters if you really want. We heard the table next to us explain a whole list of food allergies (poor them!) and/or food dislikes. We saw the attendants bring olive oil to the table instead of butter.

Compared to a number of the restaurants in the UK, bread doesn’t tend to play a strong part in many American restaurants we ate in. Eleven Madison Park did two types, that they brought to the table, one being some sort of olive bread, and another sort of white bread. Both served freshly warmed but nothing to write home about.

Here is where it starts to get complicated where I’ll tell you about the parts of the dishes that I can remember but when you’re having so much good food, it’s hard to note down all the elements. My sister ordered the turbot to start off with, accompanied by some soy beans, shaves of fennel and I think it was sun dried tomatoes. Pretty good from what she said.

She’s not really a fan of cold food so she skipped the first line. I decided to take one dish from each line and I’m really glad I went for the Foie Gras dish. Served in two parts, the first was a creamy foie gras terrine served with pearl onions and pineapple. Very similar to our dinner at WD-50, the chefs knew about cutting through the richness of the foie gras with a slightly tart fruit sauce and it worked really well.

The second part to the dish was definitely one of the best dishes, made up of a toasted brioche and foie gras brulee. It sounds a bit strange but here, they somehow made a savoury brulee that worked amazingly well. The caramelised top gave away hints of bitterness that worked well instead of being too sweet and the natural creaminess of the foie gras fooled the mind into thinking about the perfect set custard. I enjoyed every last spoonful of this dish and, after talking to our attendants, it was one of their most popular dishes.

Here’s the lobster dish served with walnut and squash.

My second dish, the crab with fresh Meyer lemon juice and fresh Tagliatelle pasta. At first glance, it seemed like a simple dish but I could tell immediately the pasta had been freshly made, and they were extremely generous with the amount of crab throughout. I wasn’t left twirling pasta without any crab by the end of the dish. I did find two small pieces of crab shells but that’s a risk I’m happy to take with any seafood dish.

For round three, my sister got the pork three ways. The belly part, fatty as usual, had the perfect crisp top, and the loin still moist with each bite.

It seems like Americans are getting more of a taste for lamb which is why I wondered how they might prepare it. My dish was a lamb collar with garlic, apple and crispy bits and some sort of green and lamb jus. I can’t remember exactly what the crispy bits were but they tasted like toasted garlic mixed with some other nuts. Whatever it was, it went with the lamb very well. I thought the apple seemed a bit strange with this dish but overall a very nice one.

It seems like Americans like their lamb not excessively rare. Whilst still juicy and slightly pink, I do think that the lamb was slightly overcooked.

On to desserts, and the first was a pre-dessert of champagne foam a top a number of other elements including crushed meringue and a raspberry sorbet. I tend to dislike the trend with playing with “foam” but I have to say, this one really worked. It seemed a bit closer to almost a thick creamy whip than a foam but what worked really well is they kept the champagne flavour and they somehow kept its fizz. The fizz and the tart sorbet worked to prepare our palates for the upcoming dessert.

My sister got the coconut dish made up of toasted coconut, coconut ice cream, pineapple and chunks. All elements tasted great and it almost seemed tropical for a moment.

I ordered the dessert based on lemon. To be honest, I though it as the most disappointing dish. Good but just not wondrous. They had a lemon curd, lemon sorbet, light flakes of lemon and poppy seed shortbread and lemon cake crumbs. Looking back, they had enough textures to make it interesting. I think what took it away from me were the cake crumbs that seemed to blur into every bite.

Post dessert, they still had more things to come including a peanut brittle, and a chocolate covered milk ice cream lollipop. Both very small bites and both very good.

We asked for the bill and when we opened their four-leaf motif covered folder we discovered…

An impressively hand written bill. Simple and elegant, just like everything else that we experienced that day.

Just as we asked for the bill, our waitress seemed a bit thrown off because she had planned to take us for another treat. She asked us if we had time for another course and a tour of the kitchen to which we both replied almost immediately in unison, “Of course!” It really came as a surprise and definitely made it the highlight of our, already wonderful, meal and trip. We paid the bill and then followed her past the streams of people coming out of the kitchen to arrive at a high table covered in a white table clothed tucked against an inset in the wall. From this vantage point, we could see the whole workings of the kitchen. Although Noma boasts an open kitchen where many of the dishes are finished, here we also got to witness all the chefs preparing for the dinner service. Two things struck me immediately. Firstly, there were a lot of people in the kitchen. At a good guess, I would say almost a hundred people, each one working on some small element for each dish. Secondly, I can’t believe how immaculately clean everything was. Now, I’ve watched a lot of cooking shows, many of which go behind the scenes of kitchens but this one looked almost impeccable. Even though there was lots of action going on, the kitchen almost looked like it was in a unused state, waiting to kick off for another day. Very impressive.

The person who walked us through explained each of the different stations and the hourly roster, answering many questions that we had. I’m still humbled from the experience but that wasn’t all. In front of our high table sat another work station, this time for their pastry chef to make another dessert. Using liquid nitrogen, she made our final dish of the meal.

Raspberry meringue, popping candy and sorbet. I’m sure they told us more details about the ingredients but there was so much to take in I just decided to sit back and enjoy this one. This rounded off an already perfect meal.

This restaurant made it on San Pellegrino’s Top 50 restaurants in the world list to which I’d easily agree to. From what I can tell, they have at least one Michelin star, but I really do think they deserve two. From what I understand about the guide, the second star is often about the service, and I have to say that Eleven Madison Park did a great job. Water constantly topped up, people constantly attending to you but not excessively so, and everyone was polite, helpful and friendly. It seems like I’m not the only one that thinks they deserve more.

Name: Eleven Madison Park
Found at: 11 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10010

A Meh Visit to Momofuku Ssam

I subscribe to a number of food blogs that cover New York and David Chang seems to get rave reviews for his Momofuku set of restaurants. My cousins took us to the Momofuku Ssam restaurant where his dishes, are frankly, vegetarian unfriendly. Except for the pickled vegetables (see below), everything else has some sort of meat or seafood in it. Oh, and no, I don’t count seafood-eating vegetarians as vegetarian. The correct term is pescatarian and seafood are animals too.

We got there a little early, so we did a bit of a walk around the block. Here’s the outside of Momofuku Ssam (conveniently with their address picture perfect too!) We waited in their milk bar next door (where we later had desserts) whilst we waited for a table.

You can only really book if you go for this special Bo-Ssam (pork butt) that you need at least 6 people (my cousin tells me from experience you need much more). Unfortunately we were Bo-Ssam’ed out by two other parties dining so just turned up. Even with a group of six, you can’t make a reservation. In true Chinese style, we shared everything we had though. We started with the pickled vegetables and then their “famous” pork buns. Here is their traditional one made with pork belly, more pickles and some hoisin sauce. Whilst good, it seemed all a little bit too squishy and could have done with some more texture.

Fortunately they had another bun on special, this time made with a crispy pork belly, different pickles and avocado. I think what the other pork bun lacked, this one definitely made up for.

We then tried the short rib sandwich. I liked the sound of it. It arrived on a crispy bun, different to the white fluffy steamed rolls although this time, my cousin Kathleen tried to split it up between the six of us with only a bread knife. What are we? On a plane?

My other cousin, Penny hadn’t had a chance to try sweetbreads. She missed it at Gramercy Tavern where it was found on the tavern side menu, and nowhere to be seen on the restaurant side. Fried crisp, this one tasted just like fried chicken. I’m not quite sure what the white mayonnaise-like spread on the bottom was but all it seemed to add was creaminess, not necessarily that much flavour.

We asked if they had any Bo-Ssam left (as on the menu it still said to ask). Our waitress checked with the open plan kitchen not more than fifteen metres from us and came back with a disappointing no. Instead, she recommended the rib eye which would be plenty to share amount us all. As you can see, it was immaculately cooked – juicy and pink on the inside. They served it accompanied with some “juice” – i.e. drippings. Whilst very tasty, I was a little disappointed it didn’t seem to have any other signature flavours or spices that made it something else, other than a very well cooked rib eye.

They did serve it with this anti-Atkins diet potato filled ravioli. The starch with starch combo seemed a little bit weird and once again, very well executed. The portion size definitely doesn’t go with the size of the rib eye though.

With all of that out of the way, we then moved into the milk bar portion where they had cookies, pies, whole cakes (pictured below), soft serve, milkshakes and “adult” milkshakes (i.e. concoctions with alcohol). I really wanted a slice of cake but they only sold them whole, or rolled up into what they called truffles – imagine cake crumb mashed into a ball and you get the idea. Probably quite tasty but not for me even though a bargain at 3 for US$3. I went for their “Old Fashioned Donut” soft serve after having a taste. Light flavours of cinnamon and slight hints of jelly without being excessively overpowering. Delicious.

I enjoyed the food and the evening. Service was pretty reasonable and considering the lack of space, they did pretty well. I like the fact you can see into their open kitchen as you walk between the restaurant to the milk bar and I don’t think we ever felt rushed. I did tweet later that it didn’t quite live up to all the expectations of the “David Chang” empire but I hear his noodle place is the much better place to go. I don’t think it really has a place up in the San Pellegrino Top 50 restaurants in the world list.

Name: Momofuku Ssam
Found at: 207 2nd Ave. (Corner of 13th + 2nd), NY, NY 10003

Lunch at Gramercy Tavern

I count myself extremely thankful to be able to dine at some of the places that we do on our trips. I have to admit this trip to New York has been one of our most decadent. My sister and I took our cousins out to lunch at the Gramercy Tavern, a combined restaurant and tavern awarded a one-michelin star for the past six years. Impressive!

Here’s a picture of their menu.

All of their plates and dishes had the same logo.

They provided butter and salt.

To go with a sourdough bread or the brown roll (which I went). Unfortunately we wanted more but the bread guy wasn’t around. This probably explains why the old man at the table next to us distracted the bread man when he came to our table.

This is the Cauliflower, red quinoa, prunes and peanuts dish.

Then the Red King Crab, Sunchokes and apples

Then the Calamari & Carrot Salad, Toasted Pine Nuts and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

It was still really cold outside from the blizzard and I needed something to warm me up so for my appetiser, I chose Red Krui Squash Soup, Brussels Sprouts, and Apples. On first taste, the soup simply blew me away. It was everything a think hearty soup should be, perfectly seasoned (not in the way the Brits like) and the brussels sprouts centred in the soup with additional leaves topping it off. The toasted squash seeds added plenty of crunch and the drizzle of, what I’m guessing as, pumpkin seed oil deepening the flavours.

For mains, there was the Roasted Hanger Steak, Fingerling Potatoes, Russian Kale and Bourbon Sauce.

As well as the Red Snapper, Toasted Green Wheat, Kale, Trout Roe, and Squash Sauce

In addition to the Pork Croquette, Red Cabbage, Aji Dulce Pepers and Spiced Port Sauce

And finally my dish, Braised Lamb Shoulder, Heirloom Beans, Wild Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts. Lamb seemed to appear on many menus, much more than I remembered than ever before in the US. I hoped for a rich, deep, soft lamb minus all the fat and I got it in this umami-rich dish. I counted at least four different types of mushrooms and there was plenty of beans and sauce to go with the dish. I may have been the last to finish, savouring each mouthful.

On to desserts! Here’s the Dried Cherry Cheesecake, Black Pepper Cookie and Cherry Lemon Sorbet. Reports had it the black pepper didn’t really come through.

Next up, the Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with Cocao Nib Ice Cream.

And apparently, a slightly disappointing Sticky Toffee Fig Cake with Coffee Ice Cream. It apparently didn’t have the toffee flavour it should have had with not much sauce. It does look rather dry doesn’t it?

Finally here was my dessert, Peanut Butter Semifreddo with a chocolate macaroon. Americans obsess about peanut butter, much to most Europeans distaste. I don’t mind it, so I always like to try it in different things. In this dessert it worked really well. You can see the semifreddo served atop half a macaroon and then complemented by yet another one on the side. It was also served with some lightly caramelised hazelnuts.

And finally, some petite fours with yet another macaroon and tiny orange chocolate tart.

I have to say, this place really earns its food. Despite the outward appearance of simple ingredients, each dish really came alive and other than a few misses on the desserts, everyone raved about each of their meals. They have a slightly more casual, dining tavern but I’d be pretty happy going back regardless.

Name: Gramercy Tavern
Found at:

Second Trip to WD-50

After cancelling plans at Daniel NYC due to the snow (they had a very limited menu based on deliveries not making it), we looked around at a few other options. I had previously eaten at WD-50 before, but my sister hadn’t so I called up and found that they had a table free for an early dinner at 6:30pm.

You can see from their fairly plain entrance that it doesn’t look that special from the outside. In fact, that small glowing neon light (their name) makes it fit into the rest of the neighbourhood. I remember walking past it last time in the heavy rain, so watch the street numbers at the same time.

We got a table that looked out on all the other ones. I felt it worked quite well until someone sat at the table directly next to us and fortunately they sat down as we were on our dessert courses. There’s some booths to the left as well that are kept for larger groups.

Mmmm. Here’s the menu. Not sure who’s lips they are. Maybe they should have had them licking their lips for what was about to come.

Here’s the wafer thin bread they brought for us to snack on. Covered in nutty toasted sesame seeds, it was a nice way to start the snack whilst waiting.

Our first dish, striped bass, gingerbread, plum and pickled ramp played around with a sweet and sour combination with earthy tones provided by the gingerbread sauce on the plate.

Next up was their playful take on a classic dish, the everything bagel, smoked salmon threads, crispy cream cheese. WD-50 is well known for taking classic ingredients and transforming them into things you’d recognise but not quite in the same way. Here, the tiny bagel is actually a small bit of ice cream. We wondered how they got it to look “toasted”. I wasn’t a big fan of the smoked salmon threads by itself, going much better combined with the other ingredients.

Next up, Foie gras, passionfruit, chinese celery. Here, they cleverly stuffed the foie gras with a passionfruit sauce, helping to cut through the richness of the dish.

Here’s another shot after opening the foie gras.

Another strange dish was the scrambled egg ravioli, charred avocado, kindai kampachi. On the side were tiny bits of crispy potato, all looking cut to the same perfection and toasted to a crisp shell. The scrambled egg “ravioli” looked like it’d been shaped in a mold. It wasn’t stuffed with anything though.

When asked about the next dish by our waiter, I told him the truth, that I wasn’t a big fan of the cold fried chicken, buttermilk-ricotta, tobasco honey sauce, and caviar. I really liked certain elements to the dish such as the tobasco honey sauce which I could have eaten all day. It had a kick to it like normal tobasco wouldn’t. The chicken, whilst tasting delicious, didn’t have the crispness you’d hope for a fried chicken. I think the small bits of crispy chicken skin were supposed to make up for it. I guess that’s the thing about experimental food – some things work, others don’t.

This dish was a bit harder to see, bay scallops, bone marrow, parsnip and black sesame. I’m a huge fan of black sesame. In fact, you could almost call me addicted. Here the black sesame formed a paste/sauce on the bottom with the scallops and parsnips on top and the gooey bone marrow grated on top before the whole bowl was heated under a grill. The result was a rich and soft dish with deep meaty flavours.

I think we both agreed our next dish turned out as one of the best, the beef and bernaise. Inverting the textures you’d expect, here we have a deep flavoured beef consomme, surrounding three bernaise dumplings. I savoured each moment slicing a small part of the dumpling that almost oozed as a rich bernaise sauce would as you cut through it. Mmmm.

I’m guessing our next dish was a take on the seasonal offerings, squab breast, cheese pumpkin, corn bread and pickled cranberries. We didn’t have the sharpest knife to cut into the squab. It really needed it too being surprisingly chewy and had to slice.

Desserts next! First up, White beer ice cream, quince, caramel and caraway. Here, the flavours of the beer really came through though well tempered with both sharp and sweet flavours from the quince and caramel.

Curds win me over all the time, so this next dessert turned out my favourite. Here we ate grapefruit curd, campari, hibiscus and sorrel The grapefruit curd is the solid, almost jelly like substance in the middle. Sorrel came in the form of a delicious ice cream with the sheets of hibiscus those rice-paper thin sheets. A mixture of hazelnuts and other crunchy stuff provided the addition of texture.

Almost done, I think the cocoa nibs won my sister over with soft chocolate, beets, long pepper and ricotta ice cream.

Finally as we had our coffee and tea, they finished up with cocoa packets and a milk ice cream coated in chocolate shortbread. The latter tasted like a small ball of cookie and cream, which I guess it is whilst the cocoa packets contained a powder-like crunchy substance that reminded me of milo.

Looking back at the meal, I think we did the best thing by going for the tasting menu. We sampled lots of different combinations and although I think some of the ingredients appealed to me more on the a la carte menu, it’s hard to really guess how a place like WD-50 delivers them. Next time, I would go back to the a la carte and then try the dessert tasting menu.

Name: WD-50
Found at:50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

Era Ora

When my sister heard that I was going to be near Copenhagen for a holiday, she wanted to go and visit the city once again to dine in the one of its many Michelin-starred restaurants. We tried going to Tivoli’s Nimb but it was all booked out so we looked for reservations for our next most preferred, the Italian focused restaurant Era Ora.

Era Ora’s entrance is very discrete, located off a small side street near Christianshavn. We almost walked by it, if not for peering in at the lightly veiled windows to see the soft glowing lights of a restaurant. We dropped off our coat and sat down to the small tables – much less cramped together than many other restaurants. A giant napkin twirled and crossing the, just as equally, giant silver platters on which they sat. I quickly untwirled mine and cast it on my lap to avoid the awkwardness of waiters reaching across me. Fortunately our friendly waiter didn’t try to get there before I did.

Like many other diners that evening, we opted for the tasting menu – something that apparently that Era Ora was made famous for being the first to introduce a series of small dishes to delight the diner. Our first brought out a lovely seared scallop sitting with apple, fried leeks and froth.

When we sat down for our dinner at 7pm, only two other tables filled the dining room. It filled up by the time we left though. Here’s another view of the restaurant before it filled up.

A very wonderfully plated dish of lobster salad with filo pastry and beans

And then a pumpkin lasagne over fried Monte Veronese cheese.

And the plate of trio finished with plaice rolled on swiss chard, potato, sun-dried tomato and Jerusalem artichoke.

Another trio of dishes arrive as the second round of appetisers including Veal tartar in love with crunchy cracker and foam of soya.

A Castagnaccio with orange ricotta, banana chip and honey caramel

Below a stunning venison meatball in beans sauce with deep fried spring onion

All of course very beautifully presented.

Past the trio arrived a herbal risotto in scent of liquorice topped with roasted quails.

Followed by a pasta dish home made trofie pasta rolled in venison ragout and red onion. Italians would enjoy how perfectly aldente the pasta was and the strong reduced flavours in the ragout.

We then had a roasted lamb fillet with eggplant composition and fried tomato.

Our first round of dessert started with a refreshing prune sorbet served with a couple of cheeses (Monte Veronese and Ubriacone), light and palette cleansing.

And then Cream of white chocolate with lemon scents served with fennel and lemon coffee cream, cookie crumbs, dark chocolate caviar and milk sorbet

With our tea and coffee, some petite fours.

And a picture of the very stylish teapot.

And cup.

Not forgetting at least, the pyramid teabag.

Name: Era Ora
Found at: Overgaden Neden Vandet 33, 1414 Copenhagen, Denmark

Second Visit to Noma

I count myself amazingly fortunate to dine at the places that I do. When my sister asked if I wanted to return to Noma, of course I said, even if it meant flying overseas to Copenhagen for a weekend break. Last year, Noma had been voted on San Pellegrino’s Top 50 as number 3 only to move up to number one this year.

I have no idea how long it took but we did manage to get a booking for a leisurely Saturday lunch in October. Since they focus on seasonal produce, this journey was a great test to compare how different or similar the dining experiences.

If our first dish was anything to go by, the entire meal was going to be something completely different. Our first dish, Nasturtiums and Snails brought in a flower vase brought edible flowers for us to eat with the small snail. Already deshelled, the snail provided a soft, slightly chewy texture to contrast with the fresh flavours of the flower both providing very subtle hints to the overall dish.

Our next dish arrived on their standard gray plate made up of Sea Buckthorn Leather and Pickled Hip Roses. It reminded me very much of those flavoured fruit strips you might have eaten as a child, slightly chewy, slightly sweet with the hint of sourness provided by the pickling.

Up next was a savory cookie served with blackcurrant paste, “speck” and a spring of pine”. The cookie had salt instead of sugar that served to intensify the Danish cured pork fat sitting on top. I expected the spring to be excessively chewy but surprised me at its softness – much more like a herb than a plant.

Here’s a closer view of the dish:

Next was a dish I remember from last time, and looking at a number of blogs seems to be a signature Noma “classic” whose filling changes depending on the seasons. Served once again on their gray plate, this dish is crispy rye bread, crispy chicken skin filled with a light paste. You end up with some interesting textures in the mouth with each bite and the skin and filling adds saltiness to enhance the strongly flavoured ingredients.

Our next dish was new to me, made with very simple ingredients and lots of technique they presented Fried leek with garlic. Only the very bottom of the leek had been fried so you had the mellow earthy tones with your first bite with the rest of the leek providing a natural handle for the dish. I’m guessing their garlic was precooked and rolled into a small ball since its flavour tasted so mellow.

Another Noma signature dish arrived in its extravagant shell, pickled and smoked quail egg. It’s still amazing to see the egg open and get the whiff of smoke wafting off the hay and its flavours impacted on the tiny, perfectly cooked eggs.

For me, the next dish, radish and carrot with soil and herbs tasted better for me. Firstly I knew much more how to eat the dish, using the vegetable to better scoop up the yogurt base and catch more of that tantalising crunchy roasted malt “dirt”. Secondly I think the carrot added another dimension of slight sweetness to the overall dish.

A real heart-winner this dish including its presentation and flavours.

Our next dish, aebleskiver, Danish pancakes with a sardine was intriguing upon first glance. Seeing those tiny fish encased in, what looked like, a small donut first looked amusing and then seemed a bit of a strange combination. Just like all the things here at Noma, it definitely worked as well with the sardine not being overpoweringly salty or fishy.

Our next snack was a sandwich that seemed very close to our previous rye bread/chicken skin dish. This blog describes the dish in much better detail than I can, though I certainly enjoyed every single little bite.

By now, all of the dishes that arrived were all the appetisers that had our outstanding meal off to a good start. Then the bread arrived, this time served with butter and pork fat. I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of the pork fat since its flavour was too strong for my liking and perhaps just not quite accustomed to smearing it on my bread.

The bread, on the other hand, I couldn’t stop eating. The sourdough bread arrived in tiny blanket to keep its warmth and with its perfect crunchy crust kept us going back for just “a bit more”. Thankfully other dishes soon arrived that distracted me from gorging too much on the bread.

Next up came Roasted lettuce blended with blanched, flaked almonds. I didn’t think lettuce had that much flavour and so they surprised me by how intense the lettuce flavour tasted when roasted and blended down into such a richly green concentrate. The light almonds added a slightly different dimension and much welcome change in texture to this this.

Looking at our next dish, Dried Scallops, Watercress with Biodynamic Cereals and Hazel Nut looked very impressive though I couldn’t help think that that dried scallops looked much more like uncooked prawn crackers than anything else. Drying the scallops intensified their flavours which went well with the other elements to the dish without being excessively overpowering.

Our chefs made a slight mistake bringing the next dish, The Oyster and the Sea out before we’d finished our next dish. I hadn’t appreciated how much effort it took to time this dish, so when it did arrive I better understood they probably had to make our dishes from scratch again. For this dish, the chefs theatrically arrive at the same time, surrounding the table before they descend with a small, heated pot that they uncover at the table to the sight of wilting seaweeds and a fresh oyster half steamed from the fresh sea scents on top.

Next came a dish showcasing onions of many different textures. On the menu it listed this dish as ‘Læsø’ onion, onion cress and thyme + tapioca + onion broth.

Our next dish got us involved in cooking in and was a really fun experience involving very simply but interesting ingredients. We started off with Hay Oil, some herbs and a small pat of herbed butter.

They then brought a Heated plate to the table.

This dish, labelled, The Hen and the Egg had us frying our own eggs for exactly one and a half minutes. Our chef squirted on the hay oil to each of our plates, letting it heat up. We then cracked our egg, letting it fry, before adding the thyme butter with lovage and spinach to wilt slightly. The chef returned a little later to finish the dish throwing herbs, flowers and little potato strands before leaving us to enjoy our own creations. Note that no one was hurt in this cooking process.

Transitioning into our final course for the tasting menu, we had Deer and Wild Thyme, Red Beets and Red Fruit. Accompanied by a rather oversized traditional-looking knife, the deer was so soft we didn’t really need it after all.

Our first dessert course started with Hay and Chamomile Ice with Sorrel and Wild Herbs . It worked really surprisingly well and tasted much better than it looks on the plate.

Our final dessert, “Gammel Dansk”, Ice Cream, Milk and Woodsorrel provided a light way to finish off the tasting menu. If you’ve ever tried the terrible Gammel Dansk (Danes have much fun serving it to foreigners), I was surprised to have its strong flavour infused rather modestly into the ice cream. The light, white milk wafers that you see also ended up being very light and added that lovely crispy dimension.

Finishing the meal, with our peppermint tea, we started on the petite fours that followed – definitely worthwhile getting.

First our waiters arrived with some interesting packages and tins.

Inside laid their justifiably famous bone marrow caramel. It’s a strange caramel that has a strong meat flavour and even served in the rounded bone. Not for the faint hearted and wasn’t exactly everyone’s favourite. I really enjoyed this dish though.

Next up was a bitter chocolate covered potato chip sprinkled with fennel seeds. The fennel provided a savoury contrast to the chocolate and the potato chip adding the crunchy dimension.

We finished off the petite fours with the classic Danish Marshmallow coated in chocolate and sat on a small biscuit base. Fortunately not as big as the ones you see around town since they tend to be excessively sweet.

For my second visit to this restaurant, Noma continued to impress. The waiters, who I think also act as chefs finishing off the various dishes buzzed around and helped make us feel really welcome. In fact, when they found out when we were Australian, they went out of their way to make sure every Aussie chef came to say hello (and there were quite a few).

The fire alarm went off just before the end of our meal and so we rushed outside like any good person. Almost immediately, a staff member arrived with a plate full of champagne flutes, ensuring that we were as comfortable as we could be on the windy dock. The waiters and chefs continually chatted to us as we stood around outside waiting for the firemen to make sure the building was safe for us to return (fortunately it was). For me, this is just yet another reason Noma rates so highly for service and its reputation.

Name: Noma
Found at: Strandgade 93, Copenhagen, Denmark