The flavours from Noma, the poster child for destination restaurants, may be coming to a city near you. Next up: London.
The team behind the fabled Copenhagen restaurant is promoting its new business concept, Noma Projects, featuring the restaurant’s fermented condiments and sauces. The first collaboration took place earlier this year in Japan; next month, it’s coming to the UK.
On Sept. 10, a half dozen Noma Project chefs will descend on the modern Mexican restaurant Kol, in Marylebone, for three timed tastings. Customers will be served five Mexican-accented dishes that highlight Noma Projects products, a retail line that launched last year.
The event will be relatively affordable: Tickets for the 1 ½ hour slots cost £95 ($120) and include two drinks as well as two products to take home. There will be 60 tickets for each of the three time slots. For comparison, a meal at the restaurant in Copenhagen costs 3950 Danish kroner ($580).
The project is part of the next iteration of the Noma brand, led by chef Rene Redzepi. Throughout the years, he has continually innovated the restaurant, popping up in cities around the world and re-opening the restaurant in a new location as Noma 2.0; it was immediately crowned No. 1 restaurant in the world in 2021 by the influential World’s 50 Best list.
Earlier this year, Redzepi announced that the restaurant would cease to exist in its current form at the end of 2024, pointing toward a future of experimentation through the company’s test kitchen and lab. The new Noma would be focused around Noma Projects, a series of ventures that would be as tangible as bottled sauces, as well as “new-media endeavors.”
Thomas Frebel, creative director of Noma Projects, says the London pop up is a potential model for what Redzepi has called “Noma 3.0” going forward. “The purpose of Noma Projects is to share the flavors of Noma to a wider audience, so we hope to bring our team and products to more cities in the future,” he says.
Kol’s chef-owner Santiago Lastra is a Noma alum; he was part of the team that operated Noma’s Tulum residency in Mexico in 2017, where he first met Frebel, who was then head of Noma’s research and development team.
The London meal will include dishes that feature products such as Smoked Mushroom Garum, a condiment traditionally based on fermented fish; Cep Oil, made with locally foraged mushrooms; and Dashi RDX, made with the kelp, kombu and sake.
Among the dishes, which will be made with British produce in keeping with Noma’s locavore focus, are a seafood ceviche with seaweed, succulents and Noma Project’s bottled Forager’s Vinaigrette, which is made from their wild rose vinegar and blackcurrant wood oil. There will also be an octopus tostada filled with cabbage and flavored with Noma’s vegan XO sauce, and a dessert of chocolate sorbet flavored with the roasted kelp salt.
A few new products will be featured: Forager’s Vinaigrette and the wild rose vinegar, which go on sale in mid August. London guests will also have access to the Noma Projects’ latest experiment: Corn Yuzu Hot Sauce, which is also not yet released.
Noma Projects earlier this year collaborated with the with the restaurant Locale in Tokyo, coinciding with a full-scale, nine-week restaurant pop-up in Kyoto, Japan.
“We wanted to open ourselves up and have fun engaging with more of our community rather than at a sit-down dinner,” Lastra says. He sees it as an opportunity to interact more closely with guests than a sit-down dinner usually presents, “while showing the possibilities of the products in everyday life.”