Business Today

Keeping it real

     Print Edition: June 12, 2011

It created a revolution in culinary arts when it opened seven years ago. It is still winning awards.

Chef Rene Redzepi had a great idea at the turn of the millennium. In these times of vanishing local cuisines, why not start a seasonal restaurant that provides only local Nordic food (Redzepi is Danish) and that too with ingredients that you can only buy, source or scavenge locally? Thus was born the cuttingedge restaurant Noma- an amalgamation of two Danish words, nordisk (Norway) and mad (food). It was an unheard of idea then, with the Spanish El Bulli dictating the terms of what makes a restaurant top-class . No one was sure how Noma's austere look would be received. There were those who were impressed by the idea but were prepared to be disappointed by the food. Noma proved them all wrong. To begin with, Redzepi, as a chef, has taste and style, and this is necessary if you want to prepare worldclass meals. It is his dedication to regional ingredients which is becoming the norm in haute-cuisine. Some even say that 'Modernists' like El Bulli and the Fat Duck have met their nemesis in Noma.

El Bulli
To most foodies, Spanish haute-cuisine king El Bulli needs no introduction. This legend will shut shop indefinitely in December 2011, so we had to include it in this list. Chef Ferran AdriĆ  recently announced that the restaurant with a decade-long waiting list will be turned into a culinary foundation. So now is the time to bribe, bully or cajole your way into this culinary mecca to try the rabbit brains and oysters or the olive that's a balloon of agar jelly full of olive oil.

The Gilbert Scott

The historic and delightful St. Pancras Hotel used to be a classic Victorian era Gothic building in London. Closed to guests in 1935, it has been renovated and is once again open to the public. The real story though is it's great new restaurant The Gilbert Scott named after its original architect. Brainchild of British ace chef Marcus Wareing, this 120-seater restaurant serves classic British recipes that are locally sourced. It also has a 50-odd seater pub.

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