When you visit Noor, you travel back in time almost without realizing it. Noor means “light” in Arabic and is a restaurant where nothing is left to chance. Each season, Paco Morales has managed to create a unique concept based on the cuisine of Al-Andalus. During his research, the chef did not doubt that working with real historians and scientists would develop what initially was the two Michelin stars chef chimera, inspired by the Spanish history itself.
After his flourishing period at the legendary restaurants El Bulli and Mugaritz, Paco Morales decided to launch Noor in his hometown of Cordoba. The restaurant hosts the most personal mark of its creator; the essence of his soul. During the 10th century, Cordoba was one of the largest cities in Europe and the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate of the West. Nowadays, Cordoba has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any where in the world, with four.
As one approaches the area, the perspective of the city changes completely: The neighborhood is full of Andalusian houses (casas matas) embellished with an overwhelming amount of orange trees at every step. When you arrive at Noor, a contemporary façade with geometric patterns that mimic metal arrows tells you that your journey through time is beginning at that very moment. After completing the ritual of washing your hands with the aromatic orange blossom water in a darkened lobby; the staff opens the way to the main room of Noor, a space full of natural light, patterns and geometric shapes essential in Arabic art. The main room is crowned with a spiral-shaped wooden dome with ascending effect; allowing the light to penetrate delicately embellishing the culinary journey of the restaurant’s tasting menu. The open kitchen is a show set in motion, everything is orchestrated towards a single goal: absolute perfection in every dish and every bite.
At Noor, each season has been a reflection of the dedication of the chef and his team; who have managed to imagine the gastronomic vision and the culture of the centuries of Al-Andalus all the way to the “New World”. Paco Morales is poetically connecting the simplest ingredients with the most refined and sophisticated ones. An explosion of flavors on the palate will immerse you in time in an unparalleled experience where the gastronomic richness meets its most splendorous century. The excellent design of each dish is a combination of textures and dreamlike flavors, where fresh ingredients are put together to delight us with their juiciness and aroma, either in a crust, in the seasoning, in the mellow flavor or at the perfect cooking temperature that finally tastes like ambrosia. In the menu you can find “labne” with Kalamata, pumpkin dressing with vanilla, oysters with cucumber, hummus and kefir or pasta with eel, burnt lemon and black truffle. Moreover, natural shrimps are combined with endives and caviar seasoned with “Ras-Alhanout”; grilled sea bass with roasted cherries and the braised and rested pigeon with carob crust and sage. All that culminated with Ceuta lemon with mint sponge cake and 1001 nights dates, with orange blossom and jasmine water.
It would be remarkable to be able to describe each dish, the different crockery and the excellent pairing that composes this menu; but the experience that Noor offers is a privilege that cannot be explained with any written description, it is a journey back in time designed by the most contemporary signature cuisine and deserves great respect for its outstanding effort in quality and aesthetics. A must-visit for haute cuisine enthusiasts to fall in love with the heritage of the Arab world and its legacy in the very heart of Al-Andalus.
This blog was very thorough and informative. I loved the descriptions of the town with the orange trees I could almost smell it! Very powerful. Noor really does seem like a magical experience that I hope to have one day! 😍😍