The new Norwegian cuisine

The Nordic wave has arrived in Oslo. From Lysverket to Fauna, the restaurants to note down

28-08-2013
Bjorn Svensson and Jo Bøe Klakegg, chefs of the n

Bjorn Svensson and Jo Bøe Klakegg, chefs of the new Fauna restaurant in Oslo. Their past is divided between Noma, Oscarsgate, Bagatelle and other temples of Scandinavian cuisine

We’re in the middle of the fiords, not too far from the most longed for destinations of Northern cuisine. The long wave of modern cuisine gurus has reached even the bay of Bergen, between fish stands in the port (where funnily enough almost all the sellers are Italian) and the wood houses of the Hanseatic League, which still are the visitors’ favourite destination. This summer, thanks also to a soft opening, Lysverket, a restaurant run by young chef Christopher Haatuft, previously at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York, opened in the pavilion number four of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bergen (Kode).

The setting is cosmopolite and sparkling, with a cocktail bar at the entrance, a long bar counter and art works that clearly remind you of where you are. There are only a few tables, finely distanced from one another, in an open space in which you can taste Hitra’s Saint Jacques with a beetroot and red radish puree, Mackerel with aubergine puree, with dill and cucumber sauce, or Egg cooked at 64° with asparagus and shiitake. Perhaps the approach is less rigorous in comparison to the other interpreters of Nordic food and is closer to a style that skilfully mixes local products with excellent delicacies form abroad.

Christopher Haatuft (on the rightm together with his sous chef), chef of restaurant Lysverket in Bergen

Christopher Haatuft (on the rightm together with his sous chef), chef of restaurant Lysverket in Bergen

Even the wine list is divided into two parts, one is more organic, the other is not, with some interesting labels from Gambellara, Parma and Treviso. The girls in the dining room, easy and fun, and the open view kitchen into which you can peek, do the rest. What comes out of the kitchen are sound dishes, with a good balance of flavours, and not only “cold”, unlike the classic expectations that one would have when arriving at this latitude. Ingredients are always the best. This will be Bergen’s best location for the next few months, perhaps even longer than that.

The Norwegian capital is no less so, and offers a lot of novelties that after a few years spent in the shade, are destined to position Oslo among the most longed for destinations of the New Nordic cuisine. First to arrive was Danish Allan Poulsen – ex chef at Nimb Louise in Copenhagen and at Henne Kirkeby Kro in Henne, who came to freshen up the image of Bagatelle. Now there’s Fauna, a restaurant opened in June and directed by Bjorn Svensson and Jo Bøe Klakegg, two young but resourceful chefs with a past divided between Noma, Oscarsgate, Bagatelle and other famous restaurants, even outside the Scandinavian borders.

Pesce rosso cotto alle erbe, cavolo rosso, aglio confit e rouille, ristorante Lysverket

Pesce rosso cotto alle erbe, cavolo rosso, aglio confit e rouille, ristorante Lysverket

Fauna is this year’s great novelty. Dishes follow René Redzepi’s style but with a decisively more international touch on the palate. Try the Lamb with Jerusalem artichoke and grilled onions if you don’t believe it, or the Plums with hazelnuts and kefir. The setting is easy and has a casual elegance about it, without any excesses. Fauna also offers its clients a private room with a great table for meetings or more secluded dinners. This is a place to keep an eye on, as certified by the ascent of other restaurants such as Maaemo (with chef Esben Holmoe-Bang) and Ylajali (with Even Ramsvik).


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