The legendary Noma restaurant in Copenhagen has been back in the news since it reopened at the start of 2018. It is still a flagship for New Nordic Cuisine. However, to get a table, you either need the right connections, or you have to be online the minute reservations open in order to secure your table. At the nearby Amass restaurant, making a reservation is somewhat easier. Noma’s former head chef, Matthew Orlando, has been in charge here for the past five years. What he has created is probably one of the most convincing fine-dining concepts I have ever experienced. That applies first and foremost to the food, but the philosophy that the American-born chef puts into practice also achieves the highest levels of perfection.
Matthew Orlando is synonymous with organic food, which he switched to more three years ago. And he thinks about the details: tap water instead of bottled water, but served in beautiful glasses. A wonderful garden that supplies vegetables to the kitchen. “Have you seen this? We’ve got a new greenhouse with fish,” he tells me proudly during my visit. The tomatoes are fertilized with the water used for the fish. Orlando has a flair for creating flavoursome jewels from the vegetables grown in the garden. For example, he serves a chilled, bright green fennel soup with fennel blossom, seasoned with caraway oil, that is far superior to any gazpacho. Or a dish made of roasted beetroot. “We ferment the leaves and stalks, then dry them,” explains Orlando. Then they are ground and blended with oil. Served with blackcurrants and redcurrants from the garden, the beetroot has a depth and freshness I have seldom come across in a vegetable dish.
There is also meat on the menu, but in small quantities. One example is dried lamb heart grated over broad beans. And chicken that simply tastes great. What else did we notice? The service staff are extremely pleasant and friendly. The waterside restaurant has a stylish industrial charm without being over-styled. What’s more, Matthew Orlando constantly adds new details to his menu as part of his aim to tackle food waste. For example, the aperitif was accompanied by light crackers made from the previous day’s bread, dusted with powdered fennel leaves, served with a spicy dip made from potato peel. I could write for hours about the virtues of Amass. But nothing can beat experiencing it for yourself. Sometimes tables are available at short notice. So there’s nothing to stop you from making a gourmet trip to Copenhagen, even if Noma is fully booked.