Maaemo is a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Oslo, Norway. It is also #47 on the World’s 50 Best list. The experience starts when you arrive at the building, and ring the doorbell for access to the restaurant. It lends an air of mystery and intrigue.
You are then led downstairs to a staging area/lounge, to be served an aperitif if you like and some amuse/snacks.
We started with some Krug.
The first snack was “Lompe” – warm smoked cod belly and horseradish. They used dill and pickled dill stems and chive sticks on top also.
Next, duck liver, warm brioche, chestnuts and toasted yeast. There was also some Jerusalem artichoke.
Next, aged cheese, ox tongue and spruce.
This was followed by dry aged beef, meadowsweet and pine cone vinegar.
At this point, they asked us what we wanted to drink with dinner. I selected this Chablis.
The last snack they brought was marinated trout roe, apple and reindeer heart. There was also Norwegian sour cream.
The amuse were good and well presented, but I don’t recall any of them blowing me away which is unusual for a restaurant of this stature. At this point, we were moved to the main dining room, and I WAS blown away when I entered the room. I felt like I was in the movie “The Menu”. The decorations are beautifully done, and the front kitchen is staged with a black background and lighting which makes it feel like a stage with people almost eerily moving about (in a good way). Every now and then you will hear “yes or oui chef”.
By this point I was excited to eat. The first dish was oyster which I believe has been on their menu since they opened. The gel was made with oyster water and the sauce was a mussel sauce. It was a very delicate dish.
Next up, another delicate dish of king crab with fermented white asparagus and hazelnut milk. I did not get crab taste or texture.
The fish course was a cod brushed with juniper butter, horseradish, mussels, elderflower, blackcurrant leaf and celeriac. The fish had a nice sweetness to it and an interesting pearly sheen.
At this point, we were presented with the main meat course, the quail. The meat was smoked with hay and finished on the open fire. Great presentation.
The next dish was the most memorable for me, scallop roasted in honey with pumpkin and burned onion. The color was just incredible. The scallop were brushed with mushroom water infused with pumpkin seed and skin.
Prior to the meat course, the sommelier recommended this incredible Italian red. The nose was outstanding. Very earthy, umami and complex.
The quail was served with smoked Jerusalem artichoke puree and plum. The quail was stuffed with chicken, quail and mushrooms.
It was also served with some milk bread, and if I’m not mistaken, mushroom butter. The bread was ok, but not the best milk bread I’ve had. That distinction goes to Victor in Vancouver.
Before dessert, we were served a mushroom, black pepper and green juniper broth infused with aromatic herbs. Some of the herbs used were dill, sage, and lemon thyme. The presentation was very unique. The broth was very savory and full of umami.
The first dessert served was frozen goat cream, smoked cherry and plum kernel. This was a creative way to do a cheese course.
At this point, we were moved downstairs for dessert. The first, after a long time waiting, was brown butter ice cream, hazelnuts and molasses. This was really good, and I wish they had served more of it!
To finish, some cinnamon buns and honey and pine fudge.
Looking back at the desserts now, I feel like the desserts were not at the level of 3 Michelin stars and could of been more innovative, and unique. Ice cream, cinnamon buns and fudge were good, but nothing to the level of haute cuisine.
Overall, this was a solid meal and experience. The meal did feel a bit short however. I never go for quantity in a meal, but relative to other meals I have had at this level, I felt that they did not serve very many courses in the main part of the dinner. Nonetheless, service was good except for the end when the desserts came out a bit slow. I would recommend the experience to someone. The dining room is spectacular and adds to the overall dinner. I would not return as I would want to try some of the other restaurants in Oslo in the Michelin Guide.