First Noma Australia diners share their verdicts

Noma Australia: first diners share their verdicts

Crab, marron, seaweed and delicious green ants. They were challenged, but the first customers of Noma Australia give it a resounding thumbs-up.

Did the famed Danish restaurant's Sydney pop-up live up to the hype and $485 per person price-tag?

We asked the first group of diners for their impressions.

"It has taken a Danish person to come show us how to cook Australian ingredients," said Janni Kyritsis, former head chef at the Sydney Opera House and Berowra Waters Inn.  

Kyritsis (also winner of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2016 Vittoria Coffee legend award)  was speaking of his Australia Day dining experience at the first service of the 10-week long residency of Danish restaurant Noma at Barangaroo, Sydney.

Noma is the four-time winner of the The World's 50 Best Restaurants and its chef, Rene Redzepi, along with 100 staff, have relocated to Sydney for the high-end pop-up's duration.

The cost of the menu was $485 (taken at the time of booking) and every seat at the restaurant was snapped up almost immediately when the booking website opened. The response from all diners goodfood.com.au spoke to after the first service was overwhelmingly positive.

Kyritsis was a lunch guest of Sydney Seafood School manager Roberta Muir and photographer and food writer Franz Scheurer

"In all my years of reviewing restaurants, this the first ever 10 out of 10," said Scheurer. "Absolutely stunning."

 

Scallop tarte and lantanaflowers #nomaaustralia

A photo posted by Thomas Laursen (@wildfooding) on Jan 25, 2016 at 9:55pm PST

The majority of the more than 12-courses were seafood or plant-based and no red meat was served. For a menu launched on Australia Day, it fittingly featured many nods to Oz favourites too.

A "lamington" on paper, for instance, was actually an aerated rum cake with dried milk and native tamarind. The country's love of pies manifested itself into a pie of dried scallops with lantana flowers and a play on the Golden Gaytime (the "Baytime") saw raw peanut milk ice-cream finished with a caramel and freekeh glaze and threaded on a lemon myrtle stick.

There was even an Noma riff on Vegemite ("Nomamite") served with an abalone schnitzel, native nuts and local seaweeds.

Sydney city resident Melissa Yusuf described the experience as "outstanding". She travelled a lot less today than one couple who flew from Melbourne to eat at the waterside restaurant. 

"I've been wanting to eat at Noma since forever and this was a lot easier than travelling to Copenhagen," Yusuf said.

Laura Peregrine of Manly said although she was surprised there was no red meat served, it was a fantastic experience with incredible matching wine and completely worth the $485 price tag. "The staff were incredible. Very hospitable. Very Australian-esque," she said.

"Just amazing" is how Sydneysider Chris Illias described the meal.

"Whatever the cost, the experience alone was worth it," he said.

"There's certain things in life that you pay a lot of money for - be it a grand final or what have you - and everyone says 'oh, that's expensive'. Because we're mad Rabbitohs fans we went to the grand final and it cost us $400 a ticket and this [experience] is just as good. This will last forever."

Unfortunately, Noma Australia won't last forever. The last service is dinner on Saturday April 2, although it's not available for bookings. Not because it's already booked out, but because, as the website says, the team is "working on something very special." Rumour has it that "something special" will be something all of Sydney can take part in. Stay tuned.