From the White Guide Nordic 2018:
- Address: Schweigaardsgate 15 B, 0191 Oslo
- Phone: +47 22 17 99 69
- Web: maaemo.no
- Seats: 36
- Opening Hours: Wed-Thu 6 PM-1 AM, Fri-Sat noon-1 AM
The taste of a new generation
On top of a concrete staircase with a view over the commuting public on their way to somewhere is where you’ll find Maaemo – a veritable cornucopia where traditions are both kept and reinvented. Since the opening Chef Esben Holmboe Bang has produced new tastes of perfection. “Oysters from Bømlo”; “Butter on butter ice cream”, “Wheat on wheat” – these are some of the items on the tasting menu that have been there since the start and now have a place of their own in culinary history. They now are as important to mention when presenting Norwegian national dishes to a visiting gourmand as lutefisk, rakfisk (fermented mountain trout) and tørrfisk (stock fish). At Maaemo there are few choices. When it comes to beverage pairings there’s either wine or juice, and that choice alone is a difficult one. We can hardly dream of better pairings than the juices made with fermented and sparkling rosehips, the traditional “rød saft” made from red berries, and the morello cherry and blueberry medley. The wines, also carefully crafted, though a bit further away than the juices, are perfectly matched to what the chefs bring out. A duck foot is fried and served with duck liver and fermented cherry juice, all dressed in red oxalis. The tart containing dry-aged reindeer meat with marrow and blood is sweet and juicy, with a broad meaty taste. A cornet filled with yeast and smoked vendace roe is as much of a palate pleaser as it is a refined snack. A soft flatbread, a Norwegian staple, is topped with fermented mountain trout, onions and horseradish. This dish is a contemporary take on tradition: it’s a playful rendition of a taco, the new national dish. If Maaemo could find a way to serve this in people’s homes on Friday nights, they would quash all other grocery store Tex-Mex brands. It has everything you wish for in a Norwegian taco: It’s sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and feels unhealthy in the way that only large amounts of fat can. Some things are eaten with your hands, so between the sets of servings, warm moist towels with fragrances matching the food are brought forward. When the lightly salted cod loin is served with a sauce of ramsons, whey and horseradish, we briefly consider licking the plate, but instead heed mother’s instructions and resist the temptation. Sour cream porridge paired with the best “rød saft” we have ever tasted takes us back to summers in the mountains. The grated smoked reindeer heart comes with butter and plum vinegar that cuts through the rich fat and delicious heavy cream. When a concoction of quail egg cooked in marrow with fenalår and pinnekjøtt is served, we must resist the urge to lick the plate clean a second time. The meal concludes with a spectacular yet understated serving of traditional waffles – made with duck fat and koji, served with berries from last year, sour cream and brown cheese from a cooperative close by. It’s cleverly plated on Danish porcelain that everyone mistakes for classic Norwegian Porsgrund. So it goes with Esben Holmboe Bang. There should be a change in how to pass on old food traditions to the new generation, and Holmboe Bang and his team should write the syllabus...
To read the whole review go to Buy The White Guide Nordic 2018.