Star power

Norway is coming into its own in the Nordic cooking scene, with the 2017 Michelin guide revealing that Oslo’s Maaemo (a word that means “Mother Earth” in Old Norse) maintained its three-star status for the second year in arow. Last year the vegetable-forward, heavily local, organic and biodynamic restaurant became the country’s first to attain the guide’s coveted highest rating. Maaemo is helmed by Danish chef Esben Holmboe Bang, whose menus have a way of taking a detail or element of an ingredient and making it the centerpiece of a dish, creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for guests. The fare is unexpected and wildly creative: in the span of their seasonal 20-course meal a diner might eat crawfish tail brushed with pine needle oil, powdered reindeer heart, mahogany clams (which can be hundreds of years old) – or wood ants from outside. Strange, perhaps, but the flavors are sublime. And Oslo at large is enjoying some well-deserved recognition. The city’s Statholdergaarden has kept a star for 20 years in a row, and Kontrast won a star for the second year running. Two other eateries — Smalhans and Restaurant Eik — were listed in a feature called “Bib Gourmand”, which highlights more accessible, affordable excellence in a city’s dining scene.

Continue reading in Oak volume Seven