The Danish chef and four-time winner of the World's Best Restaurant for Noma, in Copenhagen, Denmark, opened his eagerly awaited pop-up restaurant in Sydney, Australia, on Jan 26. The menu is testimony to Redzepi's skill in getting the best out of local produce, with a host of dishes largely inspired by Aboriginal culture. Here's a closer look at what's cooking at Noma Australia.
For 10 weeks only, Rene Redzepi will be in the kitchen of a pop-up Australian restaurant, borrowing its name from his world-famous Copenhagen eatery. But the menu at Noma Australia couldn't be more different from the original Strandgade address, with Redzepi's locavore cuisine proving inevitably respectful of his new surroundings and the seasons. Over the last few months, the Danish chef has dipped into Australia's finest culinary resources to build a menu which – consciously or unconsciously – pays homage to the country's vast gastronomic diversity.
A taste of the outback
Rene Redzepi has delved deep into Australian tradition, borrowing ingredients from Aboriginal culture. Lucky diners who've managed to bag a table at Noma's antipodean outpost are in for a one-way ticket to the outback. The first stop on this culinary voyage takes taste buds to the famous Kakadu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory. The park – more than half of which is Aboriginal land – is home to some incredible fauna, attracting thousands of tourists each year. Here, Redzepi discovered the local Kakadu plum, also known as the "Gubinge". This small green fruit contains high levels of vitamin C and anti-oxidants, and is cooked at Noma with wild berries.
Rene Redzepi then serves up a porridge made with seeds from the bush and flavoured with desert herbs. Foodies who've flown to Sydney especially to discover Redzepi's Australian fare won't be disappointed, as the menu offers all manner of exotic ingredients that are a world away from European cuisine. Crocodile fat, for example, brings added bite to a seafood platter. The chef has even cooked the magpie goose, a black and white feathered water bird found in Northern Australia. The meat is served in a kind of milk pancake and grilled on the barbecue.
For dessert, green ants pepper a mango sorbet sandwich served alongside a chunk of pineapple in a hibiscus flower and plum-marinated watermelon. The ants are another nod to tradition here, as they've always been top bush tucker for Australia's Aboriginal people. More precisely, Aboriginal people tend to eat the larvae found in the ants' leafy nests, which have a flavour close to lemon.
Ode to the sea
Rene Redzepi also stays true to his reputation by serving up plenty of local seafood. The Danish chef was bound to take to Australia, as with over 80% of the country's population living less than 50km from the sea, fish and seafood play a key part in daily life.
For the Noma pop-up, Redzepi cooks two types of Australian crab – the spanner crab and the snow crab, a large crustacean fished off Western Australia. Other ocean fare includes sea urchins and abalone, plus scallops served in a tart.
The Noma Australia pop-up will be open until April 2, 2016. It serves lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. The restaurant is already fully booked, with a waiting list of no less than 27,000 hopeful diners. – AFP Relaxnews
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