Some opportunities in life you know immediately that you need to seize. I was too young, and to poor back then, to ever get a chance to visit the infamous restaurant Bagatelle during the Hellstrøm era. Thus, when I read that Terje Ness was doing an event at the reopening of his restaurant Oro, bringing in Eyvind Hellstrøm and parts of the old Bagatelle team, I was never in doubt. I called my most hungry friend, André Blomberg-Nygård, and we booked a table for this one-week-only happening! André is also the most knowledgeable person that I know on the topic of Norwegian restaurants’ history – a great company on an evening like this.
Eyvind Hellstrøm is probably Norway’s most famous and profiled chef, both nationally and internationally. If Ingrid Espelid-Hovig is the chef “mom” of Norway, then Eyvind is the chef “dad”. I once ate a small bite from a dish he made at the Taste of Oslo food festival. Apart from that I have only copied the food from his cook books, and tried to imagine how it was to dine at Bagatelle back in the golden years. Today, it is extremely rare to have Hellstrøm cook for you, and he has proclaimed that he will never open a restaurant again.
In addition, Eyvind had invited many of his old chefs and sommeliers from the Bagatelle years this week. Terje Ness was head chef at Bagatelle himself in the time they got their second Michelin star. In the kitchen I could also spot Lise Finckenhagen, Hellstrøm’s right-hand man Gregory Paul looked like a conductor from where he stood, and sommelier and owner of Moestue Grape Selections, Christopher Moestue, was serving us wine all evening.
My expectations to the food were sky high, of course, although a quick read-through of Andreas Viestad’s article the day before had probably adjusted them somehow. The food did not look very appealing on the plates in his pictures, and he was not too pleased with the whole experience. Regardless, I was very excited about the event. Without further ado, here we go!
At this point, André and I reflected a bit about the meal. It had been a long evening. 7-courses would end up taking almost 5 hours (!), which is a long wait in-between dishes. Not that we had really noticed, as we always have a lot of things to talk about. The service was obviously quite good in an event like this, but fades in comparison to the personal level of service I have written about in my post on Maaemo. The style of food was very French and classic, quite far from the new Nordic cuisine, even though many of the ingredients were probably local. Proteins ruled over vegetables, flavors ruled over the presentations and we left neither hungry nor sober.
The price for this meal? 2000 NOK for the food and 2000 NOK for the wine menu. My conclusion to whether it was worth it? Yes, to get this experience and eat the food I never had in Bagatelle, prepared by Hellstrøm & Co, for me it was worth it. Would I do it again? No, not with this price level for a 7-course meal and corresponding wine menu. Not because the dishes or wines didn’t taste good. My goodness, did they taste good. Still, it was overpriced compared to an experience you get at restaurants like Maaemo, Noma, Geranium, Kadeau and many more these days. We paid a lot for the show, but it was a fun show.
Did you attend the dinner? Please leave a comment below with your inputs.