Dining at a restaurant like Noma is a bucket list experience. Not that many people are going to get to do it. Even when Chef Rene Redzepi opens his Noma 2.0 (hopefully) later this year, it’s still going to be an exclusive, “how did you score that?” spot. Dining at one of Noma’s pop ups — so far in Tokyo and Sydney — is an even rarer get for the intrepid diner. And now there’s another Noma pop up for all of us to drool over and feel twinges of envy about; a mind-blowing culinary experience only a select few will have the honor of partaking in. Sigh.
Noma Mexico had their hard open two nights ago in Tulum on the Yucatan peninsula. Chef Rene Redzepi and Chef Rosio Sanchez (former Noma pastry chef and owner of the best taquería in Europe, Hija de Sanchez) took on Mexico in ways that are both deeply respectful to the bounty of foods and wildly innovative (as we’ve come to expect from chefs on their level). They seem to be relishing all the new toys they have to play with. Chef Redzepi told Vogue recently that “it is the first time that I’ve ever worked with spice, and the first time that Noma has ever been influenced by it.” He continued, “discovering spice is like uncovering a sixth flavor. It works in the same way as umami. So it’s basically all over the menu.”
It’s a whole new world for the Scandinavian chef, who isn’t trying to mimic local cuisine so much as explore it.
The seatings will take place between now and May 28th and tickets are already sold out. However, Chef David Chang points out that this iteration of Noma will have a walk up bar with a small tasting menu that will operate on a first-come/first-serve basis. Here’s a link to Kayak flights in case you want to get to Mexico and walk up to the bar right now.
Before you go, a tasting menu for one in the main restaurant sets ticket holders back $600 each before service charges and tax. So, don’t expect the bar to be a bargain. But Chef Chang did point out that the pork oyster taco he had down there was the “best thing I will taste all year.” And who doesn’t want to try the best taco on earth?
That price tag may seem exorbitant for what is essentially one meal of your life. And given that the average daily wage in the area is $15 it might also seem drastic. Chef Redzepi and Chef Sanchez get that. They’ve created a scholarship fund that will bring Mexican culinary students to Copenhagen as interns to hone their skills in world class kitchens. Noma Mexico will also offer free lunches to local culinary students the last two weeks of its run. Both are great ways to give back and bring up the next generation of chefs from one of the most diverse culinary corners of the world.
The restaurant had a soft opening a while ago, so photos have been pouring out from the lucky few who have snagged a seat and all the chefs working behind the scenes. We’ve gone through and pulled some of our favorite photos of the food. Sure, most of us are never going to get to eat it, but, hey, maybe we’ll get to eat at one of the restaurants by a chef that this pop up is funding through their scholarship program. That’s worth hoping for!