Noma chef serves 'live' shrimp and ants on £440 Tokyo menu
Rene Redzepi takes his curious dishes to Japan where 60,000 vie to taste grasshoppers and moss
The chef behind the acclaimed Danish restaurant Noma has opened a pop-up in Japan – with a £440 tasting menu of twitching shrimp, black ants and moss.
Rene Redzepi, whose two-Michelin-star eatery in Copenhagen has been voted the best in the world several times, has launched Noma Tokyo on the 37th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Japan's capital.
Open for just five weeks, with two daily sittings, Noma Tokyo's reservation list was rumoured to have reached 60,000 last month.
Those lucky enough to secure a seat were asked to fork out 78,529 yen (£440) a head for a three-hour, 15-course tasting menu, including wine, taxes and service charge.
The "showstopper" opening course is jumbo shrimp "so recently killed that they are still twitching", served with a dozen or so black ants, says QZ.
The 37-year-old Danish chef, known for sourcing local produce, found the wild ants underneath tree stumps in the Nagano Forest, north of the Japanese capital.
The shrimp – killed minutes before they are served with a needle to the brain – are "so fresh they're still dancing their final quivers" and the black ants produce "little pinpricks of sharp acidity acting as a perfect accent for the sweet, pink flesh", says Robbie Swinnerton in the Japan Times.
Writing for Bloomberg, Tejal Rao says he is "gulping his champagne" because the shrimp "is so recently dead that its brain has yet to telegraph this information to the rest of its body".
Nevertheless, he describes the sensation of biting into it as "shockingly good". The ants' natural formic acid mimics the sourness of citrus and it goes from "terrifying to beautiful, like the ocean after a storm", says Rao.
Other dishes on the menu include deep-fried reindeer moss, fermented grasshoppers, roasted lettuce juice, mushrooms covered in chocolate and a roasted wild duck served intact with beak and feet.