NaCl – showcooking
NaCl is such an amazing concept that I am reluctant to even write this post as it will mean more foodies will become aware of it (which most likely will decrease my chance of getting tickets next time). However, I think the chefs behind NaCl deserve the recognition, so here I go.
NaCl is not a restaurant, it’s an association consisting of young talented Danish chefs who like to play and use their scarce spare time cooking on a volunteer basis. NaCl prefer to label their events “showcooking”, whereas others would call the events “pop-up-restaurants”. Around every 2nd month NaCl takes over the kitchen of a restaurant, a mansion, a school or the like and produces fantastic food for a small crowd of lucky diners. Until this event the option to buy tickets for the showcooking was won by lottery. Now, NaCl has embraced the technology of “Billetnet” (which translates ticket net) and a number of tickets are for sale through the site for each event.
What makes NaCl unique is the fact that you actually get to listen to, see and talk to the chefs behind the food. Each chef presents the thoughts behind their course, the final presenation is made in front of the diners and the chefs walk around between the tables and talk to the guests. The creative interactive environment allows the chefs to get immediate feedback on their ideas and it gives the guests the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes.
An additional factor that makes NaCl an incredibly interesting dining experience is the fact that NaCl has joined forces with some sponsors, allowing them to play with top-notch Danish cheese and the best meat produced by Danes.
A very promising initiative that should/could ensure the longterm sustainability of NaCl is their use of “support”. Chefs in training assist in the process and can – if they show promise – become fully-fledged NaCl members.
When entering the NaCl showcooking scene one must as diner be aware that each chef has the freedom to do as they please and they are not confined to making an input in a coherent tasting menu. Neither are they obliged to cater to the taste buds of the guests; meaning NaCl is their playground where new ideas can be tested before they might become “real” courses at the restaurants where the chefs work.
On this particular night NaCl took place in the “Odd Fellow Mansion” in central Copenhagen. Little glasses with sour cream were placed on the tables. Each guest was asked to shake the glass to the rhythm of a song (Dancing in the moonlight) and thereby churn their own butter. A funny gimmick.
I wasn’t able to take notes of all the details of each serving, but hopefully I got the essence of everything down.
Result of the shaking
The first serving was a potato snack with herbal cream dipping dusted with cinder.
Potato in hay
The first course was a variation of spring in Funen with smoked fresh cheese and lots of roes; smoked and dried turbot roe, lumpfish roe, herring roe and cod roe
Spring in Funen
The following course was “dirty” black eggs stuffed with smelt roe and bechamel sauce made from Troldhede Krondild cheese.
“Dirty” black eggs
Preparation of the next serving
The name of the following course was a wordplay on the words “shark” and “hello” in Danish. It was langoustine, mango, celery and catfish (I think)
Then came a course which was a celebration of the lunar new year. As we entered the year of the rabbit, rabbit was chosen as the main ingredient, complimented by cauliflower as purée, blanched, pickled and as crudité.
The final meat course was the best Danish meat one can get – that is, you can’t buy it as a normal consumer (yet?). The Danish equivalent of Wagyu meat. To honour the meat it was served traditionally with a sauce bérnaise.
Dessert in the making
The first dessert consisted of a variety of components (amongst other things): mushrooms, dried mint and cow parsley, wood sorrel, yoghurt powder, skyr, milk foam made on oak trees from the Viking Museum in Roskilde, barl and vanilla
The forrest – the caramel – the chocolate
Dry ice with scents from the forrest accompanied the course
The best latte in town
Café Latte deconstruction with espresso powder.
The final serving was made with post-night-out/pre-hang-over craving in mind.
Chocolate milk and duck sandwich
As each course was meant to stand on its’ own and not be part of a carefully composed tasting menu, I chose not go into detail about the taste experience of the individual courses and focus on the concept of NaCl, and the conclusion is: NaCl rocks.
More pictures here.
Visited: April 2011
Estimated price: 420 DKK