For well-heeled foodies weaned on the gleam and structure of fine European cuisine, a meal at a Nordic restaurant can be a confounding, if not shocking, experience.
There is little meal progression as we know it – more a procession of saucer after saucer of what we recognise as appetisers. A main course, or what we might perceive one to be, could comprise five seemingly disparate elements grouped together by virtue of a different sensibility from which a European chef might operate.
And then there are the flavours that chef Poul Andrias Ziska admits can challenge the palate. Imagine fish, first fermented only to be boiled, or fermented lamb intestines whose pungency one writer described as “between Parmesan cheese and death”.
Such is the traditional fare of the Faroe Islands from which Ziska hails; an autonomous outpost of the Kingdom of Denmark marooned 300 km north of Scotland. His restaurant, KOKS (which means “flirt” in Faroese; or, more aptly, one in pursuit of perfection), serves what he describes as “a showcase of what we eat in the Faroe Islands”.
Getting to KOKS, located at the foot of the Leynavatn mountains, requires plenty of travelling and an adventurous spirit. It’s not called “the world’s most remote restaurant” for nothing. One must first fly to the Faroe Islands from Copenhagen (Denmark), Edinburgh (Scotland), Bergen (Norway) or Reykjavik (Iceland), before hitting a single-lane highway, navigating a dirt track, crossing a stream, and driving across rocky paths.
The reward for this undertaking is wildly stunning vistas of deep fjords and craggy mountains, and a dining experience like no other.
Pandemic times, however, have deterred even the most indomitable foodies. It’s no surprise then that KOKS’ four-week residency at Grand Hyatt Singapore, which begins on Jan 23, has all but sold out (at the time of writing, there are a few remaining spaces for lunch).