Press invitation / In cooperation with Tesla
Restaurant Måltid was regarded as one of the best restaurants in Norway, but last Christmas they closed their doors permanently. Running a high-end eatery is always a challenge, but even more so in the smaller cities outside of Oslo. Måltid, which simply means “meal”, was located in Kristiansand, which is Norway’s 5th largest city and inhabits only 90.000 people. That’s a tough run for any restaurant, but especially for a fine dining concept on an international level. Luckily, you can still experience the exceptional cooking of Danish head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard Pedersen. Restaurant Måltid is being kept alive, doing monthly pop-ups at the 500-year-old farm Boen Gård – a 20 minutes drive outside the city.
After our visit to Engø Gård in Tjøme, we drove directly to Boen Gård the next day. If you live in Kristiansand they offer bus transportation back and forth to the pop-up restaurant. At the farm, there are only two apartments, which can host a total of eight people, so we were fortunate to get one of the rooms since we had a long way back.
Driving down the gravel road leading up to Boen Gård we quickly realized that this was more than just a farm. It’s like a manor in the countryside. For anyone who reads up a bit on the history of Boen Gård, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The land used to be the King’s property until the 1600s before it was sold to a nobleman. The current main building was erected in the 1800s. For many years, the river that runs past the farm was a popular spot for salmon fishing by wealthy English lords, and the manor was used by the upper class in Kristiansand as a summer estate.
It was raining when we arrived, still driving the Tesla Model S that brought us to Engø Gård the previous day. The electrical car was at that point badly in need of power since we had managed to miss the only Supercharger spot on the way. One of the owners of the farm today, Johan Olsen, welcomed us and helped us find and outlet to charge overnight. Problem solved! He guided us into the apartment where we were going to spend the night. “This is the old servant’s house,” Olsen explained.
Later on, we got a guided tour of the main building, which Olsen and his family have restored and decorated themselves. The house is kept in the same style as the year it was built, 1813, while the interior represents the building’s 200-year-old history with a focus on the early 1900s. Johan Olsen is the grandson of shipbroker Johan G. Olsen, who purchased the farm in 1939. For the first time in history, the family now wants to make the farm available to the general public – a project that has been going on since 2012. Restaurant Måltid has done weddings and other events here since then.
Restaurant Måltid Pop-up
After a long drive, we were exhausted and needed a nap before dinner. Half an hour before the meal we woke up by a knock on the door. One of the waiters was outside with a bottle of a delicious Riesling. The game was on, and the “Måltid” experience could commence.
Inside the main building, the other guests had already arrived and we joined them with a glass of happy bubbles. Shortly after we were shown to our seats. The concept at the Måltid pop-up is that you’re placed together with other random people, with six to eight diners around each table. Each dish is brought out from the kitchen at the same time to everyone. This is a very social way to enjoy a meal. The maitre d’, Dagfinn Galdal, announced that “Life is very simple: it’s wonderful to drink Champagne.” Service started and the first plate arrived. An eye-catcher of a dish with blue-colored quail eggs!
Once again I was amazed by the creativity and skills of a Danish chef in Norway. Each of the plates had a unique presentation – like the malt tortillas with dried cod floss or the upgraded and modernized cabbage rolls with langoustine. Ingredients were mostly local and seasonal. The style and produce of the new Nordic cuisine were very visible with a heavy use of different seaweeds, vegetables, herbs and berries and techniques like fermentation, dehydrating and pickling.
The pickled sea plantain almost looked like the “Neptune’s necklace” I got at Noma Australia. A first time experience for me, at least I can’t recall ever seeing it in a restaurant before. The dehydrated carrot brought me straight back to restaurant Amass in Copenhagen and one of the best dishes I ate this year, but a meal that I haven’t had a chance to write about yet. Dagfinn had announced that there was going to be a surprise dish during the course of the meal, and it was a sheep’s head taco! I’ve never had the Norwegian classic “smalahove” in its original presentation, so eating it as a taco the first time was a soft introduction.
Judging from the reactions of our table companions the pop-up was a great success for everyone. We had a good mix of regular people and more dedicated foodies seated next to us, but the food seemed to satisfy them all regardless of interest level. I only wish more of them could have experienced the full treatment we got by spending the night at the farm. If Boen Gård could somehow manage to increase the number of beds, they would be on the path to making a Norwegian edition of Fäviken Magasinet in my opinion!
Breakfast the Next morning
When we woke up the next morning the sun was shining on Boen Gård. Everyone else had departed with the bus the night before, so we had the whole farm and surrounding area to explore on our own. The fridge in our apartment was filled with simple Norwegian breakfast ingredients and we made ourselves a hearty and typical cabin-style breakfast. We brewed coffee and drank apple juice made from apples grown on the farm. After a run along the beautiful old river we were ready to depart in our Tesla again. This time we didn’t miss the Supercharger on the way back home!
Did you ever visit restaurant Måltid before they closed? Please share in a comment below.
This was a press invitation from Boen Gård. The car was borrowed from Tesla. As always, the feature reflects my sincere opinion and is my personal recommendation.