Review: Maaemo (2017)Esben Holmboe Bang is Only Getting Better
After my sixth visit to Maaemo in Oslo – Norway’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant – all I could think was: “Damn it, how could it be even better than my previous meals here?” I always tell people they have to go to Maaemo at least once in their life. Yes, it’s expensive, but most people can afford the experience if they really want to. I promise you – it’s worth every buck. Skip that weekend in London, or postpone purchasing some expensive commodity you don’t really need. Or just save the money from two or three other mediocre restaurant meals you would have instead.
Esben Holmboe Bang is Only Getting Better
This time, I won’t bore you with a long essay on how fantastic a meal at Maaemo is. I’ll mainly let the pictures speak for themselves. If you want to read more details about the restaurant, you can check my spring visit to Maaemo in 2015, my winter lunch in 2016 (just before they got the third star), and my autumn dinner the same year. This was my first summertime visit to Maaemo. That’s not even supposed to be a good season for seafood and a lot of other Norwegian produce. Yet, it was mind-blowingly amazing once again. What I love about Maaemo, is that you always get the classics – the dishes you crave – like the oyster, the sour cream porridge, and the brown butter ice cream. But you’re always surprised by the latest creations: a crispy duck foot, a perfected chicken breast, or a pure delight of a strawberry dessert. Did I mention the dry-aged beef fat waffles?
When it comes to food experiences, Maaemo is the pride of Norway. Esben has received the maximum number of Michelin stars, and, as far as I am concerned, they are not going anywhere anytime soon. In one way, you could say that Maaemo has reached the pinnacle of the culinary world. Yet, the quality on the plate keeps developing and improving year after year. Climbing on the World’s 50th Best Restaurants-list is one of the few ways ahead in terms of international accolades. Such an achievement would require visits from chefs and foodies from all over the world. Maaemo is definitely on the right path. Judging from how many of my fellow foodies who have been here lately, I would say Maaemo should expect an advancement next year. In order to really get a boost, though, more people need to understand that Oslo is a culinary destination worth visiting not only for Maaemo, but also for restaurants like Kontrast, Bokbacka, Pjoltergeist, Omakase by Alex Cabiao, and À L’aise.
The most beautiful new dish on the summer menu.
Champagne Vincent Coucher, Extra Brut, Elégance. Organic and biodynamic.
Savory tart made from caramelized onions, with aged goat cheese & lemon thyme.
Cornet with smoked lumpfish roe.
Raw razor clam from Nordskot, green strawberries and woodruff.
The fermented trout-dish at Maaemo keeps getting better and better.
Fresh cheese made one hour ago from raw milk of Maaemo’s very own cow (Isrosa), wood sorrel, and summer cucumber.
Signature dish: Emulsion of raw Norwegian oysters from Bømlo, warm sauce made from mussels and dill.
Maaemo makes all their juices in-house.
Co-founder and owner Esben Holmboe-Bang.
Scallop from Nordskot, glazed with elderflower mead broth of dried scallops and kelp.
Esben does a lot of the tableside serving himself.
Preview of the king crab before cooking.
Grilled king crab from Finnmark, buckwheat miso and spruce.
Beer for the bread.
Restaurant manager Benjamin Ausland.
The bread serving.
Esben serving one of the very few dishes Maaemo has made with chicken.
Mother Rock White, South Africa.
Another classic coming up.
“Rømmegrøt” – sour cream porridge with smoked reindeer heart, and salted butter with plum vinegar.
Quail egg gently cooked in roasted bone marrow, cured mutton, and charred onions.
Duck hearts cooked with salted cherries and cherry blossoms, and a cream sauce made with innards and fermented cherry wood.
Raw milk ice cream from a single cow (Isrosa).
It came with rhubarb elderflower, and fragrant rhubarb root.
Strawberries with sweet vernal grass and roses.
Benjamin pouring some homemade strawberry juice.
My favorite new dessert at Maaemo!
You can’t leave Maaemo without this classic!
Hazelnut milk pairing with the brown butter ice cream.
Have you not been to Maaemo yet? I’d like to hear whether or not you are considering going, and why. Drop me a line in the comments below.