Green ants, Australia, 2015, courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram
Green ants, Australia, 2015, courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram

What’s cooking at Noma Australia?

Ants, tropical clams, wild geese, crocodile meat and butter. Will you be booking a table at next year's pop-up?

In recent days René Redzepi’s social-media accounts have begun to look less like the sort of thing you might come across on the Food Network and more like what you might catch over on the Discovery Channel. 

As you may know, the world-famous Danish chef is preparing to open his second international pop-up version of Noma in Australia, following his success in Japan earlier this year.

Noma Australia will open in Sydney’s Barangaroo suburb in January 2016 and run for ten weeks. Noma is flying out its 35 chefs, 30 wait staff and 10 administrative staff, as well as their immediate families, to run the restaurant, which will serve 50 diners, and be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday.

Redzepi and co have already posted images of a wide variety of Australia’s indigenous fruits and vegetables, however in recent days he has really got stuck into the meat courses.

 

Magpie goose, Australia, 2015, courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram
Magpie goose, Australia, 2015, courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram

In early 2016, Noma’s antipodean diners should look out for magpie goose, “a bird that's been around since the dinosaurs,” Redzepi tells his followers, “and for thousands and thousands of years has been part of the aboriginal Australian diet.” The chef says the geese eat a diet of water chestnuts and mangoes, which gives you some idea as to their flavour.

Redzepi offers more detailed tasting notes when it comes to a species of green ants from Arnhem Land in Australia’s tropical Northern Territory. These animals bring to mind “kaffir lime, lemon grass and a touch of coriander,” he explains, adding, “they've been a part of aboriginal food and medicine culture for the past 60,000 years.”

 

Image courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram
Image courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram

Ants also carry out a demonstrative taste test of their own. Redezpi recently posted a revealing image of ants investigating three different spreads: margarine, reduced-fat butter, and natural butter. The insects swarm around the natural butter, leaving the other two samples barely touched. “I relate to ants,” Redzepi writes, and so do we.

 

Crocodile fat, Australia, 2015, courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram
Crocodile fat, Australia, 2015, courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram

Still, if they can’t find any natural butter over in Oz, they could always turn to other types of animal fat, such as crocodile. The chef posted samples of croc fat online, accompanying the shot with an uncharacteristically cautious comment. “Ok, I'm not sure,” he writes, before going on to explain that “the bottom piece is from the tail, and the top parts that look like foie gras are from the body.”

 

Mud clam, Australia, 2015, courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram
Mud clam, Australia, 2015, courtesy of René Redzepi's Instagram

Don’t fancy that? Well why not try a lovely mud clam? This is “the singular best mouthful I've had in Australia,” Redzepi writes, and another Northern Territory find. “Kids in Arnhem Land found these for us, buried under the mud near the mangrove jungle,” he explains. “Then somebody lit a fire of old eucalyptus trees, and the clams were casually thrown on the roaring bonfire for a brief minute: Briney, smokey and perfect.”

Sounds wonderful. To find out more about Noma Australia go here, and for more on the chef’s life, work and recipes, take a look at these books here.