It’s not often I frequent Michelin restaurants abroad. In fact the first, and up until recently, only one I’d visited is (the now defunct) Andreini in Sardinia which claimed 1 star at the time. This is in no way frugal, I know – but I’m a strong believer that spending money on experiences over material things brings longer lasting happiness, I felt this once in a lifetime experience was a no-brainer.
I’m no expert on Michelin ratings, but in my limited capacity I can quite confidently say the recent experience at Maaemo surpassed expectations and I can truly appreciate the effort, the ingredients and most of all passion and artistry that goes into every aspect of a 3 star Michelin culinary experience.
I feel exceptionally fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Maaemo during my trip to Oslo, Norway. Having only added myself to the waiting list weeks prior to flying, I didn’t get my hopes up but they called me days before my trip to confirm a table for two (for myself and good buddy Tommy Finn) and whether I’d be interested. Usually a three month wait is not unusual, so to get a call after only 6 weeks there was no hesitation in my response. I knew we had to do this!
The experience began at 12.15pm on Saturday 17 December where we were greeted at the entrance and duly escorted to our table and served 19 dishes over the course of three hours. Each course was formally introduced by various waiters, cooks, chefs who would detail each (locally sourced) ingredient along with a brief narrative of the construction of the dish. I feel this helped to evoke a deeper experience and appreciation of the tastes.
The following are the courses served in order, from starters and snacks to mains consisting mainly of fish and shellfish, to delectable desserts.
A warm broth of cabbage and salted sheep
Caramelised Jerusalem artichoke, blood and lemon thyme
Cornet with roasted yeast and smoked vendors roe
“Lompe” with fermented trout and horseradish
Raw razor clam from Nordskot with white currant and heather
Grilled mahogany clam from Nordskot with fermented kohlrabi
Emulsion of raw Norwegian oysters from Bomlo, warm sauce made from mussels and dill
Langoustine tail from Misund, pine and caramel made of langoustine garum
Lightly salted cod from the North, whey and parsley root
Sourdough bread, freshly milled Norwegian heritage wheat and Maaemo butter
Pickled biodynamic onions, fragrant rhubarb root and aquavit
“Rommegrot”-porridge of very sour cream, smoked reindeer heart, butter infused with plum vinegar
Reindeer from Finnmark, lingonberries, spruce and marrow from reindeer bones
Frozen blue cheese with pickled black trumpet mushrooms
Smoked juniper with fermented blackcurrant
Brown butter ice cream with coffee molasses and roasted hazelnuts
Liquid waffle, mountain tea made from wild herbs found in Boverdalen
Roasted bulgur wheat and dried strawberry, brown cheese tart. Specially brewed coffee from Kenya.