Scoop: Noma to open its first branch in Delhi

The best restaurant in the world today announced plans to open a branch in Delhi, the ‘culinary capital of the world’.
Chef rene redzepi is bringing noma to delhi 'really soon'.
Chef Rene Redzepi is bringing Noma to Delhi ‘really soon’.

It looks like Delhi is finally set to take its rightful place on the world culinary stage. Noma, whose second iteration was recently declared the best restaurant in the world, today announced plans to open its first branch ever in the Indian capital. Although an opening date has not been announced, the restaurant is likely to open just before Diwali. Storied French biskoot-maker and chai-room, Laduree, had adopted a similar strategy last year and made a killing with its affordably priced Diwali hampers.

An emotional Chef Rene Redzepi said, “Delhi is the undisputed culinary capital of the world now. I like a little competition and that’s why we looked no further when scouting for a location for our second outpost.”

Expect some unusual flavours at noma's delhi outpost. Image: shutterstock.
Expect some unusual flavours at Noma’s Delhi outpost. Image: Shutterstock.

The location has not been announced but our sources tell us it’s likely to be a rural setting on the outskirts of the capital, where the distance from farm to fork will be, quite literally, reduced to zero. It’s a revolutionary new brunch-with-the-buffaloes concept. Speaking of zero, the restaurant will charge its guests—you guessed it, zero, nil, nothing, nada—for the first 100 days of operations. Guess it was high time to acknowledge India’s contribution to the world in a proper way.

Only a single, 16-course tasting menu will be offered, priced reasonably at INR 1,00,001 per person (taxes extra, no service charge levied). Toddy pairing with each course can set you back by another 4,200 rupees.

Motichoor 'soil' will feature on the menu.
Motichoor ‘soil’ will feature on the menu.

The restaurant will be called Noma 6.0, after the Old Delhi pin code drummed into our collective imagination by auteur Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi-6. Remember the Genda Phool song from that movie? You can expect to see marigolds gracing several dishes on the menu. If you’ve not been living under a rock, you will know that edible flowers are a thing. But colloquially the restaurant is likely to be called…Namo.

This kadaknath chicken looks chuffed about featuring on chef rene redzepi's menu. Image: shutterstock.
This Kadaknath chicken looks chuffed about featuring on Chef Rene Redzepi’s menu. Image: Shutterstock.

While not too many details of the menu have been divulged, one highlight is likely to be single-origin broiler butter chicken on a bed of motichoor ‘soil’. Noma 6.0, which will have a progressive, seasonal menu, will collaborate with traditional Indian halwais to create some never-before-seen fusion desserts like a bitter gourd flan and a salty gajar halwa. (We all know how fond Chef Redzepi is of carrots, although he is yet to encounter the intractable Indian variety.) Out of respect for Indian tradition, there will be no red meat on the menu. You can, however, look forward to grilled kadaknath chicken served with a chaat masala-flavoured jus. Instead of a nice ‘kadak’ sourdough bread — which already feels so last century—to accompany India’s heritage black chicken, spongy rasgullas will be provided to mop up all those lovely juices.

Danish flatbreads will make their debut in Delhi with toppings like sambar onions, green bell peppers and cheese made with plant milk extracted from tomatoes and then bleached white with a proprietary process.

There are even whispers of a tinda sous vide. Just thinking about it made us go weak in the knees.

Can't wait to see you, chef rene. We haven't been having weird mushrooms, promise.
Can’t wait to see you, Chef Rene. We haven’t been having weird mushrooms, promise.

All in all the restaurant looks like the perfect marriage between east and west, a culinary love child of Darla Talal and Polfgang Wuck. Namo to that. Chef Redzepi deliberately chose April 1st to make the announcement, it being the birthday of the noted epicure and gourmand Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, whose The Physiology of Taste is a bible for food lovers. This quote from the book is legendary: “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what a big fool you are.”

P.S.: This story was published on April 1, and should be taken with a pinch of salt.