Currently, Maaemo is the only two Michelin-starred restaurant in Oslo and Norway. It is also the only Nordic restaurant to have been awarded two stars directly upon entering the Michelin guide. Maaemo was ranked no. 79 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants–list last year. We’re looking forward to seeing where they rank once the 2015 list is revealed on June 1st. The Danish head chef Esben Holmboe Bang leads the kitchen, while his co-founder and sommelier, Pontus Dahlström, originally from Finland, leads the front of house team. We were lucky enough to have Dahlström almost entirely to ourselves this evening since we were seated upstairs at the chef’s table, or in the test kitchen as they also call it. From this table on the second floor, you overlook the kitchen with all the chefs hard at work, and you also have a panoramic view of the Barcode buildings of Bjørvika.
Update: This restaurant has since been awarded three Michelin stars. Read the news story here.
Looking for more great spots for food and drinks in Norway’s capital? Check out our city map of Oslo!
Locally Sourced And Organic Food
A Michelin-starred restaurant is usually not where we dine on a regular Thursday after work. This kind of luxury is reserved for vacations or special occasions. However, we realized that by following this logic we would maybe never get to test the best restaurants in our own hometown. Thus, when our friend André Blomberg-Nygård asked if we wanted to join for a small snack at his favorite neighborhood shack, Maaemo, we decided to accept. Pontus Dahlström welcomed us as we entered. We were late and André had already waited for us 15 minutes upstairs. That’s not the worst place to wait, though, so he wasn’t too upset.
All of the ingredients at Maaemo are organic, and most of the produce is sourced within a 100 km radius of Oslo. Esben explained that the menu is a reflection of the Norwegian nature, and they even go into the forest themselves to forage wild plants and flowers. The wine is organic as well, and some of it is biodynamic, but Pontus doesn’t choose strictly natural wines as we’ve experienced at restaurants like Noma and Relæ in Copenhagen.
The Personal Service at a Two Michelin-Starred Restaurant
Esben stood on the right side of the kitchen, looking almost like a conductor of an orchestra. He had complete control. Pontus, on the other hand, was busy being the perfect host for the guests at his table. Esben was equally welcoming, of course, whenever he came out to put the finishing touches on a dish, but Pontus felt almost like he was part of our table this evening. This feeling of having your waiter and sommelier so up close and personal is something we’ve only ever experienced once before, and that was at Noma in Copenhagen. We’re beginning to see a pattern at these two-star restaurants!
Coffee is taken just as serious as any other beverage at Maaemo. We love that! The coffee of choice was Tim Wendelboe Finca Tamana and the brewing method was the very traditional way of boiling coffee in a coffee pot. Pontus made sure to remove the bitter layer of foam that forms on the top before he served it. The result? The best restaurant coffee we’ve had to date.
If you want to read another review from this place I can recommend this story (in Norwegian) from my foodie friend Lars.