Waitlist of 27,000 as world-famous Noma restaurant hits Barangaroo, Sydney
Abalone schnitzel, fermented kangaroo and Kakadu plum dust. Noma, arguably the world's leading restaurant, has hit Sydney.
With a waiting list of 27,000, the waterfront pop-up restaurant at Barangaroo in the city was fully booked for its first sitting on Australia Day – and will be for the next 10 weeks.
The roughly 100 guests were given a much anticipated peek into the fiercely-guarded menu, which has been kept a secret until this week. Social media pictures quickly revealed that lemon myrtle ice cream with bush limes and fennel flowers, snow crab in fermented kangaroo, crocodile-fat shards, wattle porridge, and scallop pie with lantana flowers were among the dishes in the 10-to-12-course $485 menu. "It was a 10/10, " said one patron.
Noma, four times declared the best eatery in the world, is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Chef and co-owner Rene Redzepi is known for cuisine drawing on the regional landscape and culture. Last year, he chose Sydney for what he calls a "prolonged team-building exercise".
"I'm amazed with this city. Sydney is a high speed train. Either you jump on ... If you don't Sydney just keeps moving." Barangaroo itself, on the western harbour of the city, was also an inspiration for the famous chef.
"The story of Barangaroo as a neighbourhood is something that entices me as a chef," Mr Redzepi said.
Barangaroo, a stubborn fisherwoman
"The fact that it is named after a stubborn fisherwoman and that people used to come to this area to eat mussels, shells, cockles, oysters ... it's been a big inspiration."
The Noma Sydney initiative is sponsored by Tourism Australia, Barangaroo developer Lendlease and Singapore Airlines. It took six months of designing and building, several foraging trips across Australia, and many trips back and forth from Denmark in preparation for the opening. Lendlease fitted out the restaurant and is not taking rent from Noma.
"Lendlease invested in the space and in return we launched Barangaroo's new dining precinct with the best restaurant in the world," Lendlease head of retail Gary Horwitz said.
"This is a partnership with mutual benefit. What a wonderful way to show Sydneysiders something they can be proud of and something that will put Barangaroo on the global food map."
The first day had been beyond expectations, Mr Horwitz said. "It has gone really well and there are incredible reviews and photos coming in on social media."
And the benefit for Noma? "To travel together, to learn, to explore; this is one of the best things you can do as a team," Mr Redzepi said.
But a pop-up can be a challenge and requires cutting down to the bare essentials.
"You have to be very creative ... with features that are affordable, fast, easy to change around without having to do big damage. [Noma Sydney] has been done with that sort of thinking, which is a good exercise."
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