Welcome to Norway, a land of breathtaking natural beauty, where mountains, glaciers, and fjords captivate the soul. But this captivating Scandinavian nation is not just known for its picturesque landscapes; it's also the birthplace of Edvard Munch, chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen, the iconic band A-Ha, and a rich Viking heritage.
A Culinary Adventure at Maaemo:
Our journey to Maaemo takes us to the heart of Oslo's city center, just a stone's throw from the iconic opera house. Nestled behind an unassuming entrance lies the world of Maaemo, adorned with what might be the world's largest door next to the most modest sign.
Upon arrival, we are graciously welcomed and ushered into the living room, where we're treated to welcome drinks and delectable snacks. The ambiance is an exquisite blend of beautiful lighting, rich dark wood, and a cozy fireplace that exudes elegance, resembling a refined bar.
Our culinary adventure begins with a seemingly ordinary item, the water glass, which, in fact, is an extraordinary piece of art crafted by Berlin-based artist Milena Kling. It's an unexpected delight that sets the tone for the evening.
Our welcome drink is a non-vintage Krug champagne, a harmonious blend of over 120 individual wines spanning more than ten different years. It's a testament to Krug's commitment to excellence, aged in their cellars for seven years, resulting in a sublime champagne.
- Smoked cod belly and horseradish on a potato crust, adorned with turnip, dill, and scallop roe.
- Brioche with duck liver and hazelnut, balancing warm brioche with cold toppings.
- Cheese from an eco-friendly farm on Hitra Island, presented in three textures: crisp, raw, and in a cream, adorned with spring herbs and flowers.
- A beef tartlet, featuring a mushroom tart shell with dry-aged beef, meadowsweet, and pine cone jelly, delivering intense flavors and artistic presentation.
- Caviar with elderflower and potato, showcasing Maaemo's own sustainable caviar, the Maaemo Gold Selection, in collaboration with Rossini.
- Oysters in a tantalizing emulsion of flat oysters, oyster gel, blue mussels, and dill oil sauce, offering a soothing and flavorful Nordic experience.
This is just the beginning of our culinary expedition at Maaemo. The tasting menu unfolds, revealing meticulously crafted dishes that pay homage to the pristine Nordic ingredients and innovative techniques that define New Nordic cuisine.
The dining room, although more expansive, retains the same elegant atmosphere, creating the perfect backdrop for the culinary artistry that awaits.
- Slices of raw scallops from Northern Norway, dressed with brined white onion, gooseberries, and blackcurrants, all elevated by a sauce flavored with fermented white asparagus, mussel juice, parsnip, and elderflower.
- Steamed turnip and toasted hay, featuring a savory custard, nettle puree, and a foamy sauce based on fermented celery and toasted hay butter, accompanied by an exceptional 2003 Chardonnay from Bienvenue Batard Montrachet in France.
- A wide turbot, pan-roasted and charcoal-grilled, brushed with birch butter, and topped with rose pickle gel and oxalis leaves, served with a 2019 L'Hermitage Blanc from the Rhone Valley.
- A remarkable presentation of herbs in a warm bowl, seasoned with horseradish, lavender, and lemon verbena oil, accompanied by a broth of warm chestnut water.
- The pièce de résistance, a pan-roasted lamb on the bone, served on a bed of white turnips and horseradish, enhanced by a vegetable paste and lavender pickle gel, and accompanied by a 2017 Barolo from Italian winemaker Aldo Conterno.
The dishes at Maaemo are not just culinary creations; they are artistic expressions, carefully designed by Chef Esben himself. Each plate is handcrafted by a local potter, adding a unique and personal touch to every course.
As the night unfolds, we are treated to desserts that are as visually stunning as they are delicious:
- An arrangement of rhubarb, strawberry, cherry blossom, rose petal jelly, sorbet, and foam, an exquisite symphony of flavors.
- An indulgent ice cream made from brown butter, coffee molasses, and hazelnut crumble.
- Freshly baked cinnamon rolls with 24 layers of dough folded with 24 layers of butter, glazed with caramel of brown butter and accompanied by two types of fudge.
Our culinary journey is punctuated by moments of connection with Chef Esben and his
team, offering insights into their culinary philosophy and a warm sense of camaraderie.
The evening is further elevated by a rare 1996 Krug Clos d'Ambonnay, a testament to Maaemo's commitment to exceptional experiences and a fitting tribute to the sommelier working on her birthday.
In the heart of Maaemo, we encounter not just a restaurant but a symphony of flavors, artistry, and warm hospitality. Our evening here becomes a cherished memory of this extraordinary gastronomic journey.