I often wonder which one of my parents i inherited my `ever so slightly` nutty behaviour from.They both deny at times that i`m their son and said i was delivered on the doorstep in a parcel. Apparently our local Milkman showed signs of madness when i was a baby and neither of my parents would ever discuss this with me so i often wonder .I`m also far better looking than they ever were so ive got serious doubts in my old age….So as far as very strange people go, try this one….. I`m lying in my bed , it`s a friday morning at 5.30 am and the alarm clock has just woken me from my dreamy slumber.Time to leave my lovely warm bed behind for another shift at my local Nuclear plant .Suddenly a moment of extreme madness passes through me …Mmnnnnn , should i go to work today …or throw caution to the wind and get the next flight to “somewhere” in Europe ? ….Life`s too short …… live for the moment……this life isn`t a dress rehearsal etc etc……So let`s do it. Computer on….. navigate straight on to flight supermarket , click , click , click and before i know it my bag`s packed and i`ve set off on the three hour drive to Manchester airport and on to a flight to……Copenhagen. Jeez……where the hell did that one come from ? I thought about Barcelona , i thought about Prague , Marrakech, Amsterdam….but Copenhagen ???? it`s in Denmark ….isn`t it ?
To be totally honest here , the one word that implanted itself securely in my sub conscious little brain at 5.30 on that friday morning was a four letter one…N…O…M…A. Here was me thinking i could simply get on a plane , book a hotel , turn up at the reception desk at the Worlds number one restaurant and get a table for one…..How wrong i was.
I arrived in Denmark , checked into the hotel and `first things first`, i enquired with the girls behind my hotel reception desk - “whats the chances of me getting into Noma tonight…tomorrow ? ” The reception staff just laughed , said some strange Hurrrrrdy Gurrrrrrdy Danish words ….laughed again and then said “No chance sir , try booking 6 months in advance sir ” ….. “Okay , erm….thanks, but thanks for nothing ladies, ill do it myself “…. Mmmnnnn so that one didn`t work , i`ll go and phone them from my room. - ” Hi - any chance of a table tonight , tomorrow , next day…I`ve travelled from England just to eat at Noma” ? I`m sure they also laughed quietly…”Sorry sir we are fully booked and cannot even squeeze you into a tiny little corner , we have a very large waiting list also for cancelled tables so i`m sorry to say you must join the end of the queue “…..Ermmmm ok. Now for my emergency back up Master plan…..How to jump to the top of that list in one easy step. I contacted my friend Sandia in London , this was a sure fire way to get a table….Sandia couldn`t fail , after all she was the queen of the `front of house` when she worked at Noma…plus her husband James ( head chef at Marcus Wareing) was top guy in Noma`s kitchen….Here was my `insider` ticket to foodie heaven.I lay on the bed, looking at my phone willing that text to return, which it did shortly after……here we go…..Message from Sandia….. “Sorry Alan , i`ve tried my hardest and a table this weekend is totally impossible”….Ahh….Ohhhh well , to be honest i wasn`t that bothered anyways - i`ll find somewhere better…..onwards and upwards.
I sent a text to my friend Simon Rogan , owner of Lenclume in the UK. I asked Simon where i should eat in Copenhagen as i only knew the one place in the whole of Scandanavia ,His answer was simply this - “You must try The Paul , it`s probably one of the best places to eat over in Denmark “.I quickly got the restaurants number off Google and phoned them up for a table, only to find out very quickly – “Sorry sir ,we are totally full up , no tables available – ever again as we close forever in one weeks time”….”Oh that`s just typical…….Cmon….give me a break” , `im not having much luck here, stuck in Europes most boring city am i ?….i showered….got dressed and went and got drunk on the very expensive Danish beer…..Not happy at all.
Next day i awoke , and decided that i would try `The Paul` again…but this time i would turn up and ask face to face….surely they couldn`t refuse me that way. I set off on a slow walk to The Paul restaurant.Two hours later i arrived outside of Tivoli Gardens , the big amusement park situated in the centre of Copenhagen. To actually get to the restaurant every diner has to pay the 95 dkr ( £11.50 ) entrance fee to the fun park…Unbelievable. So get this – if a party of 10 people decide they all want to eat at The Paul then that`s £115 right away…..just to enter the park and walk straight to the restaurant .Ive never encountered anything so strange before , apparently it`s some old city bye-law.Anyways , long story short , i walked the walk , paid my money , found the restaurant and got a straight “NO….Very sorry we are full with a party today sir “
I wont go into detail, but all i`ll say is that after 5 minutes of very calm negociating and crawling on my bloodied bare knees , they gave in and offered me a table for one….I was a happy guy.
Simple instruction followed….”Just feed me please , no menu and please match the food with some nice wines ….but let me start with a well deserved large glass of cold dark and Malty Erdinger beer “….and let`s get this show on the road…i was really ready at long last for some good high end cooking and wine. I sat and surveyed the restaurant while i was waiting for my beer , trying to figure out the Whacky decor whilst looking out of the window at the kids sailing past on little Pirate boats, …….this was a crazy place .
Chef Paul Cunningham has been cooking here for 7 years and sadly the clock was ticking down to total closure in 6 days from now, i detected a strange feeling in the air, the end of the show, the whole aura was very strange, the restaurant artwork was a little look into chef Pauls world… which seemed nuttier than a fruitcake ( in a nice kinda way ), a Rocking horse was suspended from the ceiling , canvas portraits of the chef and prints from `times gone by` covered the walls and totally obscure prints that Paul had taken himself or collected were hanging everywhere , totally whacky , but i liked it. As for chef Pauls cooking, well it was right up there with Europes very best chefs.A fine pedigree of past restaurants littered Pauls C.V , Chewton glen , Luckham park , Maltsters Arms , Harveys (with Marco pierre white ) Le champignon sauvage and Sollerod Kro….. WOW.
My beer arrived with a few little nibbles , huge crunchy unripe green olives and the most delectable little baby unripe peaches.I googled these peaches as i`ve never seen them anywhere before and couldn`t find them at all on the internet. Please feed me some info if anyone reading this can help me out with a supplier , thanks…and now for the food -
Iberico , Pan con raspberry.
Koffmanns Olive oil and Manitoba malted bread with Aabybro dairy butter.
Lemon sole , Forest fungi , Smoked beef marrow.
Monkfish Mojo , Herbs , Relish Charcuteri.
Dark Berried Pigeon, English Liquorice , Pain d` epice.
Lemon…… “Cream pie”
Hazelnut truffle , Espresso caramel , Earl grey financier.
To view the full set of photos then please click HERE