Chef/foraging enthusiast René Redzepi's hotly anticipated Noma Tokyo pop-up is finally under way at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The chef told Saveur that he's "dreamt of something like this for years." He adds,"Much has been written about the range and beauty and complexity of Japanese cuisine. But there's still so much for all of us, cooks and eaters, to learn from its examples. That's why we're in Japan now."
Over the past few months, there has been much speculation about what the menu would look like, especially because Redzepi is known for using obscure ingredients in avant-garde ways.The chef hinted to the Wall Street Journal in November that the menu would be kept "primarily vegetarian" but he was thinking of serving horse meat, venison tongue, and possibly even farm-raised turtle. Redzepi also revealed that the dishes would make use of atypical but local ingredients like larvae from lethal hornets, Japanese ants, and wild kiwis.
Ramen maestro Ivan Orkin attended the first night of the pop-up — last night — and Instagrammed his entire meal. Some of the aforementioned ingredients — namely the ants — made it on to the menu, alongside a labor intensive clam tart ("45 clams per tart, 13 people shucking for 8 hours"), chocolate-dipped mushrooms, rice ice cream, and more. Below, a look at Noma Japan and its menu (so far):
Jan 6, This is it!! Let me introduce you to the Team of #nomajapan #nomatokyo We had our group picture taken today. Everyone is excited about this project, every dish is delicious and the products are well sourced. Wild baby kiwis from the forest of Nagano is insanely delicious, salted cherry blossom are delicious as well. I could talk about it for days, so I'll stop here ;p find me if you can. I'm so lucky and blessed to be a part of this team, they are truly the #1 team in the world #dinnerbykear #nomajapan #nomatokyo #creativity #inspiration #chef #cheflife #la #lafoodie #mandarinorientaltokyo #Tokyo #food #foodie #forage #foodporn #finedining #美味しい #マンダリンオリエンタル #ノーマ #humble #love
Jan 9, 2015. The day when the #1 restaurant in the world "noma" made HISTORY. I keep saying this but I'm just way to lucky and blessed to be a part of this team. ALL the young chefs here at noma and the front staff... Just everyone in general are very professional, no bullshit, everyone carries on the vision of chef Rene with high standard. So this noma you can enjoy the "#1 view" in the world Mt Fuji & a beautiful sunset. Great service chefs!!!! Ja Tak. #dinnerbykear #nomajapan #nomatokyo #creativity #inspiration #chef #cheflife #la #lafoodie #mandarinorientaltokyo #Tokyo #food #foodie #forage #foodporn #finedining #美味しい #マンダリンオリエンタル #ノーマ #humble #love
"First course just killed and still moving super fresh acidic notes from the ants."
"Under ripe strawberries how to convince the best strawberry farmer to harvest perfectly under ripe strawberries! Awesome!"
"Assorted citrus, Okinawa chili peppers."
"Shaved ankimo toast."
"Cuttlefish 'noodles' wild rose petal broth."
"Scallops. Can't explain, just delicious."
"Clam tart. 45 clams per tart, 13 people shucking for 8 hours. Worth it!"
"Tofu, shaved walnuts. Best tofu dish, ever?!"
"Squash and dried salted ume. Sublime."
"Fermented black garlic leather. Grown up candy."
"Things from under the ground."
"How to incorporate rice into the meal? Dessert, rice ice cream and crisps."
"Sweet potato slow cooked in raw sugar comes molten to the table. Wild kiwi dipping sauce."
"Finale: cepes dipped in chocolate cinnamon dipped in sugar probably didn't describe everything correctly, great meal fabulous experience and only first day! Hats off."