Ylajali The Final Chapter (Closed Permanently)

Ylajali is closing. This is their final chapter. When the news broke that Even Ramsvik would conclude the adventure of his one Michelin star restaurant by the end of this year, we knew it was time to finally pay him a visit. Due to the same reason as we wrote in our Maaemo feature, we had not been here before. In hindsight, a big mistake. Ylajali turned out to be a remarkable dining experience.

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The name Ylajali is closely linked to the location at St. Olavs plass 2 in Oslo. In this very building lived the character Ylajali from the book “Sult” by famous Norwegian author Knut Hamsun. In the real world the building has housed an old apothecary for almost a century. If you go right, in stead of left, you enter Tekehtopa, which is “Apotheket” spelled backwards. Even Ramsvik now runs this café as well. From a separate kitchen, mind you, and with a completely different style. The food is more rustic and simpler, but very tasty and with great value for money!

The menu at Ylajali is made too look like the first copy of the book from 1890. The meal, like a novel, has a prologue, four chapters and an epilogue.
The menu at Ylajali is made too look like the first copy of the book from 1890. The meal, like a novel, has a prologue, four chapters and an epilogue.

Booking a table at Ylajali was not easy after the newspapers wrote that 2015 would be the last chance to dine here. In fact, we weren’t able to book for two people at all. Only a table for four was available this day. We tried to get someone to join us, but a sudden Ylajali evening isn’t something most people do spontaneously. In the end we asked to change our reservation and the restaurant was nice enough to comply. It turned out to be a quiet evening, though, which was weird considering the difficulty to book. We are guessing a lot of people have placed several bookings this year, and cancels last minute…

Raw shrimps, dill emulsion and crispy shrimp shell crumbs.
Raw shrimps, dill emulsion and crispy shrimp shell crumbs.

Our waiter, the head sommelier, was with us the entire evening. He was attentative, knowledgable, polite and did his job in every way. However, we notice a difference between restaurants like Ylajali and Kontrast on one side, and Noma and Maaemo on the other. At the latter two the waiters managed to connect with the table in a different manner, almost become part of the group, but in a way that felt very right. We didn’t get the same feeling at Ylajali, but in stead we had both Even Ramsvik and chef Matthias Bernwieser come out to talk with us several times. No complaints, just an observation!

Semolina and Finnish “Baeri” caviar. Similar to a dish we had at Maaemo.
Semolina and Finnish “Baeri” caviar. Similar to a dish we had at Maaemo.
Reindeer from Røros, emulsion of söl, crispy onion and nasturtium.
Reindeer from Røros, emulsion of söl, crispy onion and nasturtium.
Quail eggs glazed in brown butter and leek ashes, with potatoe and leek ash chips. One of our top picks on the menu.
Quail eggs glazed in brown butter and leek ashes, with potatoe and leek ash chips. One of our top picks on the menu.
Smocked haddock brandade fried in carbonated sourdough, mayo with oil from smocked haddock skin & bones, stockfish.
Smocked haddock brandade fried in carbonated sourdough, mayo with oil from smocked haddock skin & bones, stockfish.
Chicken skin topped with King crab from Varanger, acidic onion powder and chervil.
Chicken skin topped with King crab from Varanger, acidic onion powder and chervil.
Veyder-Malberg. Liedbedich 2013. A Gründer Veltliner to match the first couple of dishes
Veyder-Malberg. Liedbedich 2013. A Gründer Veltliner to match the first couple of dishes
The book was split into chapters, and we are about to enter “Cold Norwegian Waters”.
The book was split into chapters, and we are about to enter “Cold Norwegian Waters”.
Herring, frozen emulsions of oyster, horseradish and sea urchin & warm parsley broth
Herring, frozen emulsions of oyster, horseradish and sea urchin & warm parsley broth
Grilled leek, hazelnuts, cress & löjrom with Røros sour cream. Possibly the highlight of the evening! There is so much flavor in leek, which the grill manages to bring forth.
Grilled leek, hazelnuts, cress & löjrom with Røros sour cream. Possibly the highlight of the evening! There is so much flavor in leek, which the grill manages to bring forth.
Ojai Vineyard. A very good Chardonnay from 2013
Ojai Vineyard. A very good Chardonnay from 2013
The bread serving of beer bread & butter with “Nyr”. We could not help to once again see some similarity with Maaemo, not that we suggest any of them copies the other. The flavor was different in any case.
The bread serving of beer bread & butter with “Nyr”. We could not help to once again see some similarity with Maaemo, not that we suggest any of them copies the other. The flavor was different in any case.
Strips of squid from Skagen heated in nut butter, & cockles cured in homemade fish sauce of sardines and squid. Sauerkraut juice with brown butter flavored with juniper. Nasturtium stalks
Strips of squid from Skagen heated in nut butter, & cockles cured in homemade fish sauce of sardines and squid. Sauerkraut juice with brown butter flavored with juniper. Nasturtium stalks
Wagner-Stempel. Heerkretz 2013. Anders was happy to finally get a Riesling
Wagner-Stempel. Heerkretz 2013. Anders was happy to finally get a Riesling
Langoustine from Frøya, baked in a wood-fired oven for 9 seconds. Fermented redbeets & estragon.
Langoustine from Frøya, baked in a wood-fired oven for 9 seconds. Fermented redbeets & estragon.
Our waiter presented parts of the 13th dish to be served while it was in the making.
Our waiter presented parts of the 13th dish to be served while it was in the making.
Mussels baked with hay.
Mussels baked with hay.
Domaine du Pelican. Arbois Chardonnay 2013. The always interesting Jura wines…
Domaine du Pelican. Arbois Chardonnay 2013. The always interesting Jura wines…
Celery sorbet, raw celery and sourmilk. Presentation once again resembled another restaurant in this town.
Celery sorbet, raw celery and sourmilk. Presentation once again resembled another restaurant in this town.
“Skrei” poached with elderflower capers, celeriac and the flavor of the hay baked mussels. This dish was completely covered in foam. Not our favorite presentation.
“Skrei” poached with elderflower capers, celeriac and the flavor of the hay baked mussels. This dish was completely covered in foam. Not our favorite presentation.
Eric Rodez. Blanc de Noirs. Suddenly we were back on champagne, which we also started with (a De Sousa – Cuvee de Caudalles).
Eric Rodez. Blanc de Noirs. Suddenly we were back on champagne, which we also started with (a De Sousa – Cuvee de Caudalles).
Porridge on barley and millet, conserved mushrooms from last year and ramson. A creamy sauce from goat parmesan from Hamar.
Porridge on barley and millet, conserved mushrooms from last year and ramson. A creamy sauce from goat parmesan from Hamar.
Butter flavored by snails was added
Butter flavored by snails was added
Our neighboring table happened to be a wine importer who follows our blog, and he was generous enough to buy us a glass of one of his wines. Pflüger Herrenberg Riesling 2013. Thanks Tølløv!
Our neighboring table happened to be a wine importer who follows our blog, and he was generous enough to buy us a glass of one of his wines. Pflüger Herrenberg Riesling 2013. Thanks Tølløv!
It’s getting dark outside when we are served confit pig’s head, kale & black garlic.
It’s getting dark outside when we are served confit pig’s head, kale & black garlic.
Another taste from Tølløv. Monteraponi Baron´Ugo – Chianti Classico Riserva 2009.
Another taste from Tølløv. Monteraponi Baron´Ugo – Chianti Classico Riserva 2009.
Different cuts of 7 year old dairy cow, matured for 12 weeks. Brushed with melted fat from the same cow. A bonus dish which was one of the most interesting servings.
Different cuts of 7 year old dairy cow, matured for 12 weeks. Brushed with melted fat from the same cow. A bonus dish which was one of the most interesting servings.
Back on track with the wine pairings; Domaine des Baumard – Quarts de Chaumes 2010.
Back on track with the wine pairings; Domaine des Baumard – Quarts de Chaumes 2010.
“Hitra Blå” granulated, almond praline & bitter salad.
“Hitra Blå” granulated, almond praline & bitter salad.
Fritz Haag – Brauenberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr. Riesling Spätlese 2012. Anders’ favorite of the evening of course.
Fritz Haag – Brauenberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr. Riesling Spätlese 2012. Anders’ favorite of the evening of course.
Grilled apples dehydrated and rehydrated in apple juice, made into a compote together with sago. Caramel with dried yoghurt and aerated nitrogen ice cream of quark and green juniper berries.
Grilled apples dehydrated and rehydrated in apple juice, made into a compote together with sago. Caramel with dried yoghurt and aerated nitrogen ice cream of quark and green juniper berries.
Fattoria Selvapiana. Vin Santo 2006 to match the sweetness of the desserts
Fattoria Selvapiana. Vin Santo 2006 to match the sweetness of the desserts
We’ve only seen a similar preparation by the table at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London.
We’ve only seen a similar preparation by the table at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London.
Ørskog style “svele” in the making, next to our table. From Even’s home town.
Ørskog style “svele” in the making, next to our table. From Even’s home town.
Traditional Norwegian “svele”, a thick pancake, with hazelnut ice cream, prune syrup and salty caramel
Traditional Norwegian “svele”, a thick pancake, with hazelnut ice cream, prune syrup and salty caramel
Even Ramsvik showing us around in the kitchen and backyard
Even Ramsvik showing us around in the kitchen and backyard

Even could reveal that he definitely will start up again after closing Ylajali. He is scouting for the perfect location, and they already have a few in mind. He simply needs a bigger kitchen and dining room to truly release his potential in the restaurant world.

The wood-fired oven where they prepare a lot of the dishes
The wood-fired oven where they prepare a lot of the dishes
Chefs in the kitchen. Matthias Bernwieser on the right
Chefs in the kitchen. Matthias Bernwieser on the right
The petit four. Aerated Manjari Valrhona chocolate, “Nyr” cream with spruce & dried lingon berry. Served with a Chemex brewed Konga Yirgachefe coffee from Supreme Roastworks.
The petit four. Aerated Manjari Valrhona chocolate, “Nyr” cream with spruce & dried lingon berry. Served with a Chemex brewed Konga Yirgachefe coffee from Supreme Roastworks.
Ylajali gives you a goodie bag with their amazing beer bread when you leave.
Ylajali gives you a goodie bag with their amazing beer bread when you leave.
The next day you can make the bread again and recall the meal from the night before.
The next day you can make the bread again and recall the meal from the night before.

This was originally posted on my old blog Two Foodies Eating which I had together with Andrea.

Please note: This restaurant has since closed.

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