Yumminess, attitude and pitch perfect pairings
Claim to fame: Noma + Bistro = Boom!
Reason to go: Iconic New Nordic dishes served bistro-style in a laid back setting.
To look out for: The deeply comforting and addictive wrap of caramelized milk skins, filled with braised pork and crispy greens.
It goes without saying that 108, Noma’s first foray into casual dining territory was booked solid months before it even opened. Just a wee bit of pressure and lots to live up to for head chef Kristiann Baumann. He stepped up to the plate however, and does not disappoint, 108 is every foodie’s dream bistro blending inventive gastronomy, comfort food and plain old yummy in equal parts, adding a pinch of punk, for good measure.
The brand new bridge that connects Nyhavn to Christianshavn is a godsend for 108 – connecting it directly to the vibe of downtown Copenhagen. The setting is beautiful, with water, views and varnished old warehouses, the shabby-not-so-chic harbor area directly across just adds to the thrill. Spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows and a semi-open, action-packed kitchen complements 108’s industrial-style concrete dining room. Korean-born, Danish-raised Baumann spices up the Nordic game by discreetly hinting at his Asian heritage; pickled shiso garnishes an intense lamb tartar, wasabina leaves brighten a braised pork belly wrapped in to-die-for crispy-sweet-savory milkskins, just dive in and eat the lovely mess with your hands. As this is a Noma endeavor, you will of course find the prerequisite foraged and fermented elements, there are even designer (or at least experimental) vegetables grown in collaboration with organic farm Aarstiderne. It’s leaf to root dining at it’s finest, elegantly demonstrated by the crispy romaine salad creation where the stems grab centre stage, letting the leaves take a backseat topped with dried and grated turbot roe. The celery vinegar pickled raw mackerel also plays an Asian vibe, although quite local in origin. But that topping – is it grated ginger? Nope, it’s fermented, finely chopped gooseberries with an extremely well balanced pine wood oil adding extra tannic punch. Don’t cheat yourself out of dessert! We still can’t decide if the adorable mini sourdough cones with roasted barley ice cream, hazelnuts and freeze dried blackcurrants are better than the forest fresh wild blueberries with ale-boosted double cream.
And since you asked: no, 108 is not remotely as expensive as Noma, the smallish dishes (you need three) range from DKK 95 to 180. Service is extremely attentive and international, the beverage pairings are both fun (the house beer “I don’t like lager” is served with the comment: if you don’t like it I’ll pay for it) and well conceived. Go on, cross that bridge to candy mountain!