If there is one restaurant that can fill the vacuum created when El Bulli shuttered its doors, it’s an establishment that brazenly stole the title of world’s best restaurant from Ferran Adrià, breaking his four-year streak.
After announcing on August 4 that Noma would be taking reservations for the month of November — the earliest tables are available — 22,000 people logged onto the restaurant’s online booking system for a chance to snare one of just 264 tables, tweeted chef René Redzepi Thursday — a sign, perhaps, that gastronomes are now turning towards the Copenhagen restaurant to fulfill their ultimate culinary fantasy.
“I’m very sorry if we are disappointing you. We have 3 people answering phonecalls, and 22.000 people logged on our online booking system,” he apologized.
Similarly, El Bulli chef Ferran Adrià said they received two million reservation requests a year — only 8,000 guests had the privilege of dining there a year. That meant only 0.4 percent of requests stood a chance.
Like El Bulli, whose fame and mythology rose into a crescendo of noise in the lead-up to its shuttering July 30, Noma in Copenhagen is receiving tens of thousands of reservation requests and struggling to keep up with demand.
In addition to being named the best restaurant in the world this year for the second time runing, Noma stunned the gastro-world when it bumped El Bulli from its perch last year to take the top spot.
It’s no coincidence that Redzepi helms a two Michelin-starred restaurant also built on reinventing the culinary wheel.
Redzepi is a protégé of the El Bulli kitchen, as are many of today’s most successful restaurateurs. Chefs like Grant Achatz, who heads the Alinea and Next kitchens in Chicago; José Andrés, this year’s James Beard award winner for outstanding chef, and Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz also in Spain have all been schooled by Adrià and reunited to help prepare the restaurant’s last supper Saturday.
And while there may be no shortage of restaurants vying to fill Adrià’s monster-sized chef shoes, only Redzepi can boast that he has topped the world’s best restaurant list twice — even surpassing his culinary hero.
Noma pays homage to Nordic cuisine and spotlights wild, foraged foods from the Danish countryside which he and his kitchen staff hunt down regularly.
The restaurant will begin taking reservations for the month of December 2011 on Monday, September 5.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.