Restaurant Credo was named for the street it was originally located on (Credoveita) in the city center of Trondheim (which now houses restaurant Fagn). Chef Heidi Bjerkan opened Credo back in 1998, which makes it one of the oldest and longest-standing restaurants of its kind in the Nordics. Bjerkan has been a revolutionary of sorts in Scandinavia, one of the first to showcase the pure, raw flavors of Norway, and a long-time advocate and champion of local produce, lifting it up and bringing it into the spotlight. Sourcing local, organic ingredients directly from good farms has long been her credo (her belief) – way back before it was trendy to do so. But her boldness paid off – she’s still open 25 years later, she earned the restaurant a Michelin star back in 2019, and, even more importantly, she’s become a symbol in the industry for what it really means to be sustainable, and teaching others how to put that into practice.
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In 2018, Bjerkan moved her team slightly outside of the city center (a 30 minute walk or 10 minute drive) to Lilleby, where they’ve developed a Credo village. She transformed a large industrial building into a beautiful greenhouse-like restaurant, with lots of windows and glass walls, where she grows a lot of the ingredients for the menu. For example, there is a fig tree right by the entrance that they use to make fig leaf oil, and they have a small garden up in the rafters of the building with different herbs. The same building also houses her casual restaurant Jossa, and across the courtyard is another building where they bake the bread for the restaurant. This is also the venue of Edoramen, her ramen restaurant. In this building, they also have a classroom for their Geitmyra Credo project, which helps educates young kids about food, cooking, and sustainability.
A dark October evening marked Kaitlin’s first visit to the hallowed halls of Credo, and Anders’ first visit since 2018. We dodged puddles and flocked to the turquoise neon light, like moths to a flame. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly face and a warm, crackling fire, and we were ushered inside. We entered the building and climbed the stairs to the mezzanine, where the Credo experience begins. We were introduced to some members of the team who were present, as well as some who were not present but equally important in the restaurant: the cows. Credo works closely with a local dairy farm, Skjølberg Søndre, and thinks of the cows as such integral team members that they have a wall of fame with the portraits of each individual cow.
The first snacks were served in the lounge alongside some bubbles. The meal started off light and fresh, with a serving of kohlrabi, raw shrimp, cheese, rose gel, and Japanese wasabi – we loved the floral notes in this one. The next bite was a seaweed tart with oyster emulsion, a mussel glazed with plum, and sea buckthorn. We feared it would taste too much of the ocean, but it was incredibly balanced, with a nice pop of acidity from the sea buckthorn. Next, was a decadent serving of brioche bread, topped with fermented plum jam, sea urchin, finger lime, and lardo. It melted in our mouths! The last snack took the level even one notch higher: a potato lompe (flatbread) was topped with langoustine claw, aquavit butter, ginger, chili, and flowers from the garden. That’s one luxurious lompe.
After the snacks, we headed into the main dining room downstairs where most of our meal took place. The kitchen kicked things off with a serving of raw Norwegian scallops, semi-dehydrated tomatoes, black currant leaf oil, apricots, and ginger. The next course was another one that highlighted the incredible seafood of the Trøndelag region: Hitra Crab served underneath a gel of crab stock and chamomile, with egg white garum emulsion, toasted buckwheat, elderflower, and fig oil from the tree in the lobby. If any dishes are emblematic of Credo, in our opinion, it’s these two. On these plates, local produce is lifted to the highest heights, elevated by just a few key components. They’re both incredibly Nordic in flavor, yet, also with a strong personal identity that highlights Bjerkan’s unique voice. She’s singing her own tune, but it’s in perfect harmony with the rest of the Scandinavian food scene.
It would be impossible to write about the experience at Credo without mentioning the famous bread and butter serving, a signature of the restaurant. Bjerkan quite literally puts her butter on a pedestal; it’s shaped and molded by an old-fashioned butter form, to the point where it almost resembles a wedding cake. It’s incredibly breathtaking in appearance. This decorative presentation made us stop and give thanks for the wonderful gift of butter, and to the cows who produced this amazing ingredient. (After one bite it was easy to see why they are featured in a Hall of Fame upstairs.) Of course, the butter is served with Credo’s warm sourdough bread, made with the ancient rye grain, Svedjerug. It’s a fantastically rustic loaf, and they kept it coming until we begged them to stop.
Another highlight dish was the yakitori-grilled langoustine tail, glazed with brown butter and cherry, and served with a langoustine bouillon and a brown butter emulsion. We thoroughly enjoyed dunking the tail into that fluffy brown butter, and then licking the bowl clean. The langoustine had been glazed with brown butter and cherry, which gave it a delicious sweet and salty balance. The yakitori-grilled quail that came next was equally impressive, served with fava beans cooked in aquavit butter, homemade curry, and quail stock. This was an excellent main course, and one of the better quail dishes we’ve had. Another Credo signature dish followed: the blood pudding served on sourdough toast, with port wine, a gel of lingonberries, bacon, and chives. It’s clear why this one is a classic; it melted in our mouths.
After a wonderful savory section, it was time for something sweet. We satisfied our sweet tooth with a fresh dessert of milk ice cream, seaweed caramel, leftover coffee grounds, licorice powder, bay leaf oil, pickled plums, and a honey tuile. (This one was another tribute to the wonderful Norwegian cows.) Speaking of the cows, it was time to head back upstairs and greet them again. We were escorted to the lounge once more, this time for coffee (from local roaster Pala) and petit fours. The final bites evoked memories of nostalgic sweets; for example, a playful recreation of båtis (a Norwegian ice cream bar), a lefse served with honey and sour cream, and a seasonal sweet bun with pumpkin and miso. The perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
Credo’s kitchen team is incredibly well-trained, and incredibly young. The second in command is 23 year-old Live Edvardsen, who has been working with Bjerkan since she was seventeen. (That’s a career to watch!) The rest of the team looks equally young and equally motivated, and it was great to see a true balance of men and women. Review: CredoThe front of house staff was passionate and attentive, and went out of their way to connect with every guest. They were warm and always available, quick to clear a glass or grab a dropped napkin, but never hovering. It was some of the best hospitality we’ve experienced. They also served one of our favorite wine pairings that we’ve had in a long time. All of the wines were brand new to us (but right up our alley), from small-scale wineries around Europe. The wine team clearly has quite a similar palate to us, and showcased some really fun bottles.
It’s obvious that Bjerkan has really found her groove in the last couple of years. Credo is better than ever, and in our opinion, on track to receive two Michelin stars at the next awards ceremony. This is a must-visit restaurant in Norway.
Have you been to Credo? Tell us about your experience in a comment below.