Chef and restaurateur René Redzepi has temporarily relocated himself and his entire staff to Japan. The highly acclaimed Noma restaurant has kicked off a two-month residency as Noma Japan and are serving diners from the 37th floor of the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo. Now, if was eating at a restaurant and there were ants on my food I would try not to shriek but I would definitely walk out, not pay and never eat there again. However, at Noma you pay for ants on your food. The first dish that’s served is shrimp with “flavors of the Nagano forest.” And we’re not talking leaves or tree bark. Food writer Robbie Swinnerton explains:
The magic kicks in from the very first course, jumbo shrimp served atop a platter of ice. They are superb, premium sashimi quality and so fresh they’re still dancing their final quivers. But it is the seasoning — “flavors of the Nagano forest” the menu calls it — that defines this dish. A dozen tiny wild black ants are carefully arranged on the shrimp, their little pinpricks of sharp acidity acting as a perfect accent for the sweet, pink flesh.