Ever since Even Ramsvik closed his one Michelin star restaurant Ylajali on the 19th of December last year, there has been growing speculations. What’s next for the acclaimed chef? Will Oslo witness a new Michelin star project unfold? On the final evening of Ylajali, Even revealed that he had many projects planned for the future. It’s already been rumored for a while that he wants to open a new restaurant outside of the city, closer to nature, where he has space to grow his own herbs and vegetables. However, these plans are still some years ahead, if they ever get realized. In his next project Even is not on his own anymore.
The Restaurant Group Lava Oslo is Born
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve observed Even on several separate occasions in close dialogue with Anders Braathen of Smalhans and Stian Floer of Hitchhiker. I knew they were up to something, and last week the final piece of the puzzle was revealed. Even has teamed up with Anders, Stian, and Tom Victor Gausdal from Strand restaurant. Together, they’ve created the company Lava Oslo and restaruant Sentralen will be their first big project together. Sentralen will be a house for culture and innovation located in the majestic old building of Christiania Sparebank from the 1800s, in Øvre Slottsgate in Kvadraturen.
The guys have leaked fragments of information about Sentralen for a year. Yesterday, I had a chat with them to get the facts straight. Even Ramsvik explained that the main restaurant of Sentralen will serve lunch and dinner and can host more than one hundred guests. A big à la carte menu will feature Nordic and continental food made with local, high-quality ingredients. Similar to the style at Smalhans this will be unpretentious food, served on big platters meant to be shared. The 26-year-old Mads Andre Hansen will be the head chef. He has previously worked for Tom Victor at Strand for two years, and most recently as sous chef at Tango in Stavanger for three years.
Next to the restaurant, a café will serve simpler lunch dishes like sandwiches and salads, and brew coffee from the best roasteries in town. In the evening, the place turns into a sourdough pizza restaurant, where you can enjoy natural wine. I can imagine most of the wines will be supplied by importers like Non Dos and Vin John. Handwerk will provide the sourdough, of course. The organic bakery has become a central element in the restaurant group, supplying all of their places with freshly made bread, buns, and other baked goods.
The Winter Garden and Gullbaren
Anders Braathen (also known as “Hipstakokken” for those who follow him on Instagram) guided us through the building and showed the locations of the two bars they’ll be manning. The winter garden on the first floor will have a decent selection of beer on tap. Further up the marble stairways and through a stunning old wooden door they are building a vintage bar called Gullbaren, which even the old bank director would have approved of. Cocktail experts from Fuglen are helping out to make this bar as spectacular as it sounds
Four New Locations of Handwerk
Further plans for the quartet involves the opening of four new locations of Handwerk bakeries. One pop-up at Sagene, one in the Botanical gardens at Tøyen, and one in the Astrup Fernley museum in cooperation with Fuglen cocktail bar. The fourth location is undisclosed. However, the guys also revealed that they have landed the contract for a venue in Gamlebyen, which will be ready within two years.
Bringing Oslo Closer to the World
Anders, Stian, and Tom Victor have been some of the most innovative restaurateurs in Oslo in the last couple of years. More than anyone they’ve brought trends like food trucks, street food, and natural wine to the city. They have introduced Oslo citizens to ramen, steam buns, and kimchi – just to name a few dishes that were almost unheard of here a few years back.
Even, who has been busy doing pop-ups at Smalhans, Pjoltergeist, and other restaurants lately, should be a great add-on to the team. The future of the Oslo restaurant scene is looking brighter with this constellation. I hope this team can help Oslo make a leap towards cities like Copenhagen and New York.
Are you looking forward to the opening of Sentralen? Please leave a comment below.