We dined here an evening in early March 2013. After our first very positive encounter with this novel luxury eatery back in 2004 it was a special excitement to return with all the developments and the hype building up since (we did not know about some recent negative reporting). Anyway, we enjoyed ourselves very much this time again although we were not as totally overwhelmed with the experience as perhaps hoped for. After settling into the very cosy rustic room where not much seems changed in the 9 years (no need to, - except I think the chairs are still only 95% comfortable!) we were offered a stream of interesting dishes pouring in; first a long, fast paced series of small experimental appetizers and starters, gradually more challenging to the palate, not all total delights, but all very interesting and worth having. This series was followed by a couple of more substantial, also elaborately presented dishes arriving at a slower pace; in our case the meal ending with some fine cheeses. The cod liver serving in the first section gets our award for the most brilliant and surprisingly delicious item, within an overall rather overwhelming variety of different tastes and sensory impressions. The amount of food was just right. From a gastronomic point of view I would say Noma is precisely at the level of the two Michelin stars it has, not more not less. I find Noma quite comparable in quantity, quality and whole approach to the Mugaritz in Spain also visited recently, which carries the same Michelin rating and is about same level on that Pellegino's list. An important difference to Mugaritz (and some other top places), though, we felt were the wines. We chose Noma’s recommended pairing but honestly did not quite understand or fully enjoy the selection. Five-six different white wines, most of which were given more intellectual justification and storytelling than they deserved from a smelling and tasting point of view, and one (1) red wine, which was elegant, but for us missing much in terms of the body and grounding that was needed after all the white drops. The sweet desert wine was a pleaser - but, really all in all the feeling was ‘so much wine and so little to sing about’. Anyway, the whole evening was definitely amazing, great fun, and a feast for the senses, and not something to forget or regret despite the high cost. But a moment of truth: Will I exploit the second reservation I was able to make a few weeks from now and go again with a different companion? Probably so, If the food and drink mastery had involved some more extreme tasting pleasures and fewer show offs (decision still pendng). As noted we did not know about the unfortunate experience for some recent visitors when we went. We did not encounter negative issues that we think can be associated with our visit ourselves. This rare bad luck of others would not influence the go/no go again decision.
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