Noma Is Heading To Japan For A Limited Stay

The legendary fine dining restaurant that is Noma made its name with the groundbreaking "New Nordic Cuisine" when it opened in 2003. The Copenhagen-based restaurant's owner René Redzepi and his team are known for their traditional dishes that require them to forage for their own produce, including mosses and ants, as Redzepi told the Washington Post in 2017.

This "wild food" concept calls for three seasonal menus a year: one based on seafood, one based on vegetables, and the third on game meat, as reported by 50 Best. For their efforts, Redzepi and his staff secured World's Best Restaurant in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Noma shut its doors in 2016 and reopened in 2018.

But in February of 2023, Copenhagen will have to do without Noma, as Redzepi packs up the restaurant to head to Kyoto, Japan for a 10-week residency, per Robb Report. Good Food reports that Redzepi and his 70 employees plus their families, including beloved former dishwasher, Ali Sonko, will travel together. Sonko was made a co-owner of the restaurant after working there for 14 years, per The Guardian.

In 2015, Redzepi and his team were based in Tokyo for a two-month-long pop-up, per TimeOut. This time, they will be based at the Ace Hotel. Per The New York Times, they'll be near the centuries-old Nishiki food market which reportedly first opened in 1310, and is known as Kyoto's Kitchen, per Japan Guide.

It took more than two years for the Noma team to prepare for Kyoto

It can take months for the Noma team to line up a seasonal menu in their home city of Copenhagen, per 50 Best, but it has taken Redzepi more time than that to prepare for the residency. He told The New York Times that they've carried out "multiple research trips" collecting ingredients including 250 kilos of dried yuzu peels, salted sansho berries, and vegan dashi made with caramelized pumpkin corn. Robb Report says it's taken the team more than two years to prepare.

In a statement, Redzepi said: "I believe Kyoto to be the birthplace of the western tasting menu, and it remains one of the most important cities through which to understand the fine dining scene today." He adds: "Much of my own journey and inspiration can be boiled down to a handful of important moments, and going to Japan and Kyoto for the first time is one of them. We have always wanted to return and explore this region as a team," per Robb Report.

A visit to Noma's Kyoto experience is not likely easy on the wallet. The meal, including drinks, tax, and service, will cost about 850 euros. That's about $830 and Noma doesn't expect to break even. To ensure the trip stays profitable, they'll be sponsored by American Express, per New York Times.