★ Maaemo, Oslo

After travelling for about 1 week in Scandinavian region, we finally pampered ourselves with our first fine dining meal of this trip at the only restaurant in Norway with 3 Michelin stars – Maaemo. They are ranked No. 35 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant 2018.

Having arrived in Oslo the night before, we spent the morning exploring some sights in the city. We worked up an appetite after much walking around town in preparation for the epic, much-anticipated 20-course meal ahead.

We were seated at one of the tables offering us the view of the kitchen on the mezzanine floor above, we later found out that there is a Test Kitchen Table which has a direct view of the chefs at work as well. Every now and then we would see the staff holding the plate and walking down the spiral staircase elegantly and with much ease to serve diners their food. I joked that they must have strong legs to work here…

As per many other restaurants, they do not present us with the full menu at the start of the meal. Instead they enquired about any food allergies or dietary restrictions beforehand during reservations and a further check again on the day of our visit. Hence we were kept in suspense on what would be served (unless you did some reading from others’ blog post prior to the visit).

The staff introduced to us that Maaemo is an Old Norse word meaning ‘Mother Earth’. The restaurant focuses on using local produce and aims to showcase the flavours and nature of Norway. Having travelled across Norway for the last 5 days we were hopeful that the menu would be pretty seafood-dominant. The meal can also be paired with either wine or juice, so we opted for the latter.

Appetizers started with several one-bite snacks to be eaten with our hands. The first being Potato flatbread langoustine claw steamed with beer and fermented turnip. I believe the Norwegian name of the flatbread is Lefse? To be honest it resembles naan bread, but this is made with potatoes and flour, so it has a more chewy texture. What impressed me at first glance was the intricate workmanship required to arrange the redwood sorrel.

The second snack was Fermented trout with leek (bottom-right). This snack is probably a modern take of another Norwegian delicacy – Rakfisk? The traditional Norwegian specialty is known for its strong odor and is typically paired with a shot of aquavit (a Norwegian liquor). The version served here is very much palatable as it was filled only a tiny bit of fermented trout and fermented turnip, encased in a crispy caramelised onion roll and topped with tiny drops of aquavit.

Final appetizer was Sourdough duck liver and rhubarb (bottom-left). For this snack, they fried the mother of the sourdough before adding the duck liver and rhubarb spheres on top. We stuffed this into our mouth to enjoy this interesting interpretation with a crunchy texture of sourdough with paté.

After the trio of snacks, we were presented with one of the signature dishes of the restaurant –  Emulsion of Norwegian flat oysters warm sauce of mussels and dill. The dish was first served bare before being covered with the “Yayoi Kusama style” sauce resulting in a picture of psychedelic green dots floating over the creamy base. Instantly the sight reminds me of another amazing dish I had at Geranium. Instead of a layer of fish underneath, this dish had a gelatinous layer over the oyster emulsion which had a delicate taste. I loved the rich velvety and smooth textures that one can savour within each spoonful of this dish.

Scallop cooked in the shell with fermented celeriac verbena and smoked scallop roe featured scallops from Frøya grilled in the shell with celeriac juice before finishing it with scallop dashi (stock), reduced celeriac juice and a spritz of lemon verbena oil.

Cod from the arctic gently cooked with salted butter horseradish and winter herbs Cod lightly poached, on a sauce of white asparagus with ramson, horseradish, tapioca.

Up next was Chef’s signature dish of Langoustine cooked with spruce. We were briefed that this dish serves to present diners with an overview of Norway  i.e ocean and pine forest. The langoustine caught from the ocean is cooked in pine butter, glazed with pine gel and dusted with pine dust. This is the most photogenic dish so far, with the bright orange tail sitting atop a bunch of green spruce. What a lovely sight! I also loved that we were asked to pick up the langoustine with our hand as we could immediately feel the warm of the butter poached tail as we bite into its chewy flesh and experience the sweet delicate flavour (I even licked up the remnants of butter off my fingers).

There was a strong sense of familiarity when we caught a glimpse of the next dish Grilled eel elderflower and warm eggs.  The Norwegian eel was grilled for 4 hours, finished with acidic sour made by fermented cabbage, egg emulsion, elderflower gel and chives.

Lightly smoked arctic char aquavit and burned onions Arctic char from Lofoten placed above a bed of white onion purée. The char is smoked in juniper before being steamed in the oven. The sauce is quite acidic in order to balance with the arctic char’s high fat content. It’s made with brine of pickled onion seasoned with aquavit and spritz with charred onion oil.

Fresh rolls out the oven glazed in birch syrup our own churned butter and salted butter with buckwheat The warm bread coated with the slightly sweet syrup was soft and fluffy. To be honest it was so good that the butters were relegated to the sideline, though both butters had amazingly creamy textures.

After the bread, we were served a traditional Norwegian delicacy which is a signature dish at the restaurant Rømmegrøt – a porridge of very sour cream and freshly milled wheat smoked reindeer heart, browned butter and aged plum vinegar. Traditionally eaten with cured meat, the version here is served with crunchy dehydrated smoked reindeer heart finished with clarified butter infused with the plum vinegar. It was also interesting to learn that the Norwegians take the traditional Rømmegrøt as a main dish and is a nourishing meal served for special occasions.

Our meal paused for a kitchen tour interlude which gave us the chance to do some exercise as we climbed up the spiral staircase. Other than the impressive panoramic view of the newly developed Barcode Project from the kitchen, I was pretty surprised to see them working in such a compact kitchen space! The visit also confirmed our guess that the Head chef probably monitors and adjusts the pace of the meal according to guests’ eating pace from the CCTVs. While Chef Esben Holmboe Bang was not in the house, we were told that we gonna meet another TV celebrity on the team – Tim Read.  Tim was the winner of MasterChef New Zealand (yes, we googled that immediately after our kitchen tour haha).

For the courses earlier the juice pairings were Smoked AppleWhite tea and elderflowerSour Plum and Cherry.

The subsequent juice pairings for the next few courses were Blackcurrant, thyme and beer vinegarBlack cherry and star anise and Blueberry and pine kombucha. Interestingly as we progressed to the meat courses the colour of the juices served also resembled the red wines.

Meal service resumed with Salted baked rutabaga broth of salted sheep Salted sheep ribs (pinnekjøtt), a traditional dish eaten during Christmas. Here the meat is made into a stock and paired with rutabaga (a root vegetable that is usually served as mashed purée with pinnekjøtt).

Our main protein of the day was Duck “Royale” chestnuts and lingonberries.  Hidden under the beautiful leaves made out of Jerusalem artichokes were mousse of chestnuts and the duck. For the final touch, a stock with lingonberries was added.

Frozen blue cheese with pickled black trumpet mushroom Norwegian blue cheese (Fønix) from Stavanger is frozen with liquid nitrogen and turned into dusted cheese. It is then served with pickled Trompette mushrooms jam and powder on top. Though many people felt that blue cheese has an acquired taste, this course serves to change that perception.

Apple blossom pine and preserved blueberries Sorbet of apple blossom with fermented blueberry juice, covered with Italian meringue and dusted with pine powder. The result was a blissful combination of citrus-sour sorbet with the sweet soft meringue.

A dessert made from salted butter from Røros with table-side service by Chef Andrea Selvaggini. This signature dish is made with brown butter ice cream, caramelised butter, served with caramelised hazelnut crumbs finished with coffee molasses and salted brown butter on top. This rich and decadent dessert is well worth piling on the calories for.

The desserts were paired with Raw milk and birch and for the snacks we had Filter Coffee Gedeb Beriti Kebele, Gedeb Woreda, Ethiopia Harvest – December 2017 Roasted by Tim Wendelboe. The coffee has light floral notes without bitterness.

The spread of snacks (in clockwise from top) Young pinecones preserved in honey for several months, Buckwheat “chocolate” the buckwheat bars resemble chocolate but did not include any cocoa at all, (Coffee), Grains and cloudberries liquid waffle served with cloudberries jam, Brown cheese tarteCinnamon bun just out of the oven brown cheese and beef fatWarm traditional Norwegian waffle with our miso seasoned with brown butter and cardamon.

We finished the entire meal in slightly over 3 hours. And it’s time to bring our attention to the sign hung up on one of the walls…

Earlier Photos Taken:

Train ride from Bergen to Oslo. Weather wasn’t good so it was pretty gloomy throughout the journey.

Explored some major sights in Oslo before lunch. A look down Karl Johans gate towards The Royal Palace.

Passed by the Norwegian Parliament building, as well as visiting the City Hall (Rådhuset) – venue of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony every December.

It was well worth spending time visiting the City Hall as the place is decked out in Norwegian art and culture both outside and inside! Before entering the main hall, there are 16 wooden friezes made by Dagfin Werenskiold (1892-1977), painter and sculptor, along the corridors surrounding the courtyard. They are motifs from Norse mythology.

The one that we are most familiar with would be Thor (thanks to Marvel). This wooden frieze depicts Tor is Driven by His Goats.

Behind the gilded main entrance were even more impressive large scale artworks on the walls.

The paintings are all very colourful and depicts various history and life in Norway.

We only had time to cover the main hall but not the other rooms on the upper level.

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Bare Vestland, Bergen

Before leaving Bergen to Oslo, we had lunch at Bare Vestland restaurant which is a stone’s throw away from our hotel. This place specialises in Norwegian tapas, which is exactly what we would like as we could taste a variety of dishes in appetizer-size portions.

Although the restaurant is located in the basement of the building, it has a row of windows allowing daylight to enter and casting a soft diffuse glow into the hall.

Lunch menu was a simple 1-page affair. We started our meal with appetizer of Veal Tongue cucumber, spring onion & “Nyr” (a soft, fresh cheese) The veal tongue texture reminds me of mock vegetarian kidney made of gluten, slightly chewy.

We picked this restaurant mainly to try their Plukkfisk pickled leeks & bacon. This is a classic Norwegian dish which consists of pieces of white fish (usually cod) and potatoes, cooked in a bechamel sauce. With the fillet mixed in with the mash potato, you can’t really pick out the fish so the dish may even be palatable to people who don’t like eating fish. For me this dish goes into the must-eat dishes alongside with fish soup and fried codtongues when in Norway! I must say Norway is a seafood paradise!

Last but not least, we had a main of Beer-and-Meat Stew which is a hearty casserole dish. The beef was tender, the stock was flavourful and packed with sweetness from the vegetables. This dish certainly warms us up for the wet winter weather in Bergen.

After finishing this meal, we were off to catch our 7-hour train ride to Oslo.

Earlier Photos Taken:

There are plenty construction development going on. We are surprised to see the hoardings becoming creative art spaces.

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Enhjøringen (Unicorn Fish Restaurant), Bergen

For dinner we headed back to the Byrggen area to dine at one of the restaurants in the wooden houses – Enhjøringen (Unicorn Fish Restaurant).

The interior of the dining place was really cosy and I liked the Victorian-style dining hall.

It’s a must to try the local beer wherever we go!

We selected this restaurant as their menu was seafood-heavy. The key dish that I wanted to try was Fried Cod Tongues served with tartar sauce. Not to be fooled by the name, it is not literally tongue per se but this Norwegian delicacy is a small muscle extracted from the back of the fish’s neck. This cod tongues were coated in a light batter before frying. Under the crispy batter, the cod tongue itself has a slightly gelatinous texture. This combination of textures was so addictive and we polished it off effortlessly. We were contemplating whether to order another plate!

We were so pampered by the quality fish soups we had on this trip that it has made it into our regular order at any restaurants. Here instead of fish soup, we chose the deluxe version – Shellfish Soup served with crayfish. The bisque soup was rich and packed with  umami flavour of the crustaceans.

The main was a fish dish of Oven baked fillet of Cod with potato puree, chorizo and vegetables vinaigrette. With an abundance of cod in the Norwegian sea, I suppose you can’t go wrong with this fish that is Norway’s “white gold”.  The flesh was moist and flaky.

Rounded up our dinner with Wild berry mousse and Sorbet. The dessert was probably to only less satisfying part of the meal. Other than this, the overall service, ambience and food exceeded our expectations as a restaurant located at the touristy Bryggen area. For me the key highlight was the opportunity to dine in one of the historic wooden houses. The charm of the well-preserved house with its creaking floorboards, antique furniture all adds up to make this experience pretty memorable.

Earlier Photos Taken:

Spotted many street art in the Nøstet and Engen area.

Sentralbadet has a few legal street art walls in Bergen. They all looked impressive!

There are many tiny alleys and we just wandered around and spotted many instagrammable spots!

Even in the cloudy wintry weather, we enjoyed the walk around the neighbourhoods.

Unfortunately it was raining in the evening when we were back at the harbour opposite Bryggen. Decided to call it a day it was unlikely that the rain would ease later and we couldn’t set up the tripod for a long exposure night shot of the harbour.

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Sweet Rain Konditori, Bergen

After a leisurely morning exploration of the Bryggen area, we made our way around the harbor to the opposite side. Initially we wanted to grab some food at the Bergen Fish Market. However the market was very limited during the winter season. We were mistaken that there would still be outdoor market with casual food stalls available, turned out that only the indoor market and restaurants were opened. That wasn’t what I was expecting.

So we headed over to Sweet Rain Konditori for an early Fika instead. This was the third cafe we visited on this trip. The first was a traditional cafe rich in history, the second was a tiny cafe specialising in bakery and this one had the most Scandinavian style decor.

As reflected in the name of the shop, it was decked out in a sweet pastel blue hue cabinets. Greeting us once we step inside was the rustic wooden table laid with a wide array of cookies. But we were here for one of their specialty – Brown cheese cheesecake.

I fell in love with the caramel-like taste of brown cheese and was eager to try this creation. It didn’t disappoint me as I enjoyed every bite of this rich and decadent cheesecake.

Also ordered the cute Pear Vanilla cheese mousse, pear marmalade and carrot pie.

The sweet treats were a nice energy booster before we continue our free and easy (aka aimless or laid-back) walking tour to explore the neighbourhood.

Earlier Photos Taken:

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Trekroneren, Bergen

After having a heavy breakfast at our hotel, we spent the morning exploring the compact Bergen town before dropping by a takeaway stand for a Scandinavian hotdog. This hotdog stand named Trekroneren translates to “three crowns“. Being a popular tourist destination, the menus are displayed in various languages.

The Scandinavian hotdogs are characterized by the classic crispy onion toppings that adds the extra oomph factor to it.  I still vividly remember that the first time I tasted the heavenly hotdog with crispy onion topping combination was at the Copenhagen airport. I’ve been dreaming about it since then…

The other star attraction here is the availability of reindeer sausage. Since we had already tried reindeer meat in Tromsø, we decided to go with a more classic Frankfurter instead.

Here’s a shot of the tasty sausage bun. I would gladly choose this over fast food if I need a quick bite!

It seems odd that even at noon, the streets of Bergen was relatively empty. But I enjoyed the serenity and this is the perk of travelling at non-peak season. Their high season is typically mid-June and August during the summer.

Earlier photos taken:

Back to sumptuous hotel breakfast buffet after having simple homemade breakfasts for the last 2 days. Trout caviar aplenty and a variety of berries!

Finally got a chance to try Norway‘s beloved brunost (brown cheese). Its a tan-coloured ‘whey cheese’ with a distinctive caramel flavour.  You have to slice it very thinly using a metal cheese slicer. However it actually doesn’t taste like cheese. It has a sweet-yet-savoury and fudgey caramel taste which I liked!

After breakfast, we headed towards the eastern side of the Vågen harbour and passed by the Fløibanen funicular station right right in the city centre. You can take in magnificent view of Bergen from the top of Mount Fløyen.

Further down the road we arrived at Bergen’s and one of Norway‘s main attraction – Bryggen (meaning “the dock”). The colourful row of Hanseatic heritage commercial buildings are listed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites since 1979.

The first thing that struck me was that the wooden row of houses looked crooked. Although from far they looked pretty uniform, upon edging closer it was obvious that they look warped. Afterall the historic Bryggen buildings we see today are more than 300 years old.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, there is a narrow passageway that leads into the courtyards behind. Once you step inside, it’ll transport you back to the medieval times.

Between the tenement rows, you will find Midtbygningen (the Middle Building), with a stone building right at the end of the passageway.

A myriad of of colours and lines at Bryygen offers many photo opportunities.

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Emmas Under, Tromsø

Today is the last day of our 3 days’ stay exploring Tromsø-Kvaløya-Sommarøy area. During this period we only ate out at one restaurant Emmas Under as we stayed in a self-catering apartment outside of Tromsø.

We shortlisted where we wanted to eat based on 1 key criteria: must serve a Norwegian cuisine – reindeer meat. If you had read up on what a typical tour is like either reindeer-sledding/dog-sledding or chasing Northern Lights etc., it will usually include a visit to a Sámi camp to understand their culture and food. During the tour, guests will get to savour reindeer stew if meal is included in the tour package.

On the last day of our trip in Tromsø before heading to the airport, we visited the city centre for our lunch at the casual eatery branch of Emmas Drømmekjøkken restaurant (They are located in the same shop unit, with the casual eatery on the street level). We arrived at about 1.30pm but the place was full. We were told to leave our name and return about 30 mins later.

The eatery was strategically located right opposite the Tromsø Lutheran Cathedral and near to the Storgata pedestrian shopping street. We made use of the waiting time to buy some souvenirs.

When we returned, there was a table for us. Time to chow down our lunch quickly so that we have sufficient time to reach the airport. Although the airport is just 9 mins drive from the city centre (or maybe it should be called town centre instead) we were extremely conscious of time after our near-miss in Stockholm. The ever-changing weather conditions posed a huge unknown factor…

Began our lunch with the Chef’s Fish Soup in starter portion. The fish soup here presented in a white creamy chowder texture was on-par with the soupy Swedish version (Kajsas Fisk, Stockholm) that we had a few days ago.  Suffice to say when you are in the Scandinavian, you wouldn’t be disappointed with the quality of fish soups here.

For side we ordered the eatery’s signature dish of Emma’s Fish au Gratin Fish, shrimps and macaroni in bechamel sauce, bacon, carrot salad and potatoes. Underneath the crispy top layer was a great combination of tender seafood with creamy and flavorful gravy.

Here’s what we came for – Braised Leg of Reindeer Mashed potatoes, lingonberries, broccolini, cream sauce. Though I expected the reindeer meat to be slightly gamey, it was very well handled and very palatable. The portion was huge enough for us to share it.

To give you an idea on the cost of living in Norway, this meal cost us around S$100 (US$70). I wouldn’t consider it to be exorbitant since Singapore‘s meal doesn’t come cheap either in a serviced eatery…but if you hadn’t booked a self-catering or full-board accommodation- be prepared to spend on your meals.

Photos taken during our 3 days’ stay in Tromsø-Kvaløya-Sommarøy:

We almost missed our flight from Stockholm’s Arlanda airport to Tromsø as the airport bus schedule was delayed and travel time extended due to an accident that caused heavy congestion on the expressway… Total travel time tripled from the expected 35 mins to almost two hours…Made it in time just by a whisker to check-in our luggage after further issues with the unmanned self-service counter…Rushed to the boarding gate to see flight delayed by 30 mins…. What a emotional roller-coaster ride!!!

Recharged ourselves on the short 2-hour flight admiring the landscape from the window. When we arrived in Tromsø at around 3+pm, the sun was already setting since it’s winter. After picking up our car, we made our way to the city centre.

Using our phone google map, the signal went dead after we were led to a tunnel. I tried to keep calm – It’s ok we’ll get the signal back after exiting the tunnel. Lo and behold, we had to navigate through a maze of underground tunnel expressway that has multiple roundabouts~ First time experiencing such unique (& bizarre) infrastructure layout…And as expected, one wrong turn and we found ourselves having to enter a parking garage?!

Finally made it to the city centre, in time (before total dark sky) to capture this beautiful coastline with the Arctic Cathedral – the striking structure is one of the iconic landmarks of Tromsø.

From there we crossed the bridge that links Tromsø with the mainland to take a ride up the Fjellheisen Tromsø Cable Car. The view up the mountain ledge Storsteinen is the best way to see Tromsø. At 6pm (in Feb), the sky was already pretty dark. The city of Tromsø was glistening as we admire the gorgeous night scenery.

While the Northern Lights was not strong for human eye when we were up at Storsteinen, we managed to see it by capturing it on our camera – “Just because you cant’ see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.” Despite having first seen the Northern Lights  a couple of years ago (in Iceland), I’m still excited to see the faint glow at Tromsø,  everyone else at the viewing platform seems pretty indifferent about it.

Instead of staying in Tromsø, we chose to stay on an island about an hour’s drive away from the city centre. Along the way we stopped by Eide Handel – a fine food store selling locally sourced seafood, fresh fish, meat, cheese and vegetables. We picked up some groceries to fill us for 2 days as we would be staying in an apartment with a kitchenette.

They also stock a good range of local craft beer. However do note that Norway has very strict drink driving laws – much stricter than other European countries. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is extremely stringent. So don’t ever drink and drive! Else you could face hefty fines and/or be jailed.

As we continued our journey towards our accommodation, we began to spot people with their cameras pointing to the sky in parking lots along the road. Something must be happening~ Excited by the prospect we also pulled our car into an empty parking lot. We sat in our car for a while for our eyes to adjust to the darkness before we saw a faint glow. Thereafter it was a frenzied moment as we scrambled to put on our jackets and braved the chilling wind to set up our tripod. Thankfully, by then the spectacular light show was just beginning to warm-up.

We were engulfed by darkness as we stood in freezing temperature with howling wind to capture this magical moment. The lights grew so strong that we could see it with our bare eyes and even managed to capture it on our iPhone (albeit not as discernible as on DSLR).

Having witnessed this fantastic light show on our first night’s stay up North has already made our trip worth it~ Not forgetting that it’s first day of Chinese New Year back home. What a way to ring in the Lunar New Year! 

As it was already closed to 11pm by the time we settled down in our accommodation for our meal, this was probably considered Supper.

Never would I have imagined that I would wake up the next morning at 9am to be greeted by this fabulous sight with a dreamy sunrise at Sommarøy Island.

Loving the pine wood panelling in the Fishermen’s Cottage – creates a serene feel.

We stayed in one of these Fishermen’s Cottage at Sommarøy Arctic Hotel.

Other than loving the cold chilly weather, another reason for loving winter is the chance to see sunrise. Being a late riser, I seldom get to see the sun climbing up the horizon. Happy to see this!

We didn’t have any specific plans for the day other than driving around Kvaløya to enjoy the scenery. While driving out of Sommarøy Island, we caught sight of Haja Island. It is the highest island around the area. It looks like an enormous rock protruding out from the sea and was even said to be the inspiration for the Arctic Cathedral design in Tromsø.

The only specific spot I had in mind to visit was the Ersfjord. This is the first of the many impressive Norway‘s fjords that we would visit on this trip.

We drove around on Kvaløya hoping to spot any wild reindeers while uncovering hidden spots. Only saw some folks on a dog-sledding adventure instead of reindeers though…

Stopped our car by the parking bay for a shot when we caught sight of this view at Kaldfjord with gentle flowy water ripples against the backdrop of the rock-hard mountains.

Another wonderful view captured of Grøtfjord. This area is popular during Summer for the stunning beaches.

Chanced upon this amazing scene at around 3.45pm when the sun was beginning to set…

Finally…we spotted our first reindeer on Kvaløya. Someone stopped their car along the roadside and we suspect they were probably onto something. We pulled alongside only in time to see this reindeer trod deeper into the forest.

With the sun setting, our hopes of catching sight of wild reindeers was dwindling fast…We were really grateful to receive a tip-off from a local and were lucky enough to see a reindeer when we stopped our car at a parking bay! Four Leaf Clover on Apple iOS 12.2

Shortly after we started to hear sound of cars slowing down along the road and spotted this darling walking calmly on the road. Deer on Apple iOS 12.2

After crossing she stood there by the roadside, posing for us…or so we thought…Until we realised she was pooping while waiting for the rest of the herd… Face With Tears of Joy on Apple iOS 12.2

Fun fact: Both male and female reindeers grow antler. But the males shed theirs in winter leaving him without antlers until the following spring, while female reindeer keep theirs until their calves are born in spring/summer. Therefore scientists explain that Rudolph the red nosed reindeer is actually a female.

The whole procession only took less than 10 mins before they all disappeared into the woods… Therefore we were really counting our blessings to have met this herd. Folded Hands on Apple iOS 12.2

Caught sight of the Hillesøy Church while on our way back to Sommarøy Island. The white, wooden church was built in a long church style in 1889.

This single lane bridge is the gateway to the lovely Sommarøy Island. If you are lucky enough you can catch sight of the Aurora dancing above the bridge on those special days.

For us, we could even capture the Northern Lights from the balcony of our accomodation. No need to be exposed to prolonged period of extreme chill as we could retreat back into the living room every now and then. I woke up a few times at night during our 2 days’ stay hoping to see her dance.

Last but not least, we enjoyed breakfast with a view and cooked fresh local Mussels with Chili Crab Sauce for dinner.

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The Flying Elk, Stockholm

While we missed the chance to visit Björn Frantzén‘s Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant, we made it to Frantzén’s little sister – The Flying Elk.

Once we enter the gastropub in Gamla Stan (Old Town) area, we were greeted by a Kuma (Japanese name for Bear)~

Naturally we ordered the Frantzén Kuma Lager to go with our meal – it is a Japanese lager brewed exclusively for Björn Frantzén’s restaurants.

Tasting menu is available but we chose to go ala carte since we had a late lunch. The appetizer that caught my attention was Truffle Popcorn Truffle salt, butter, Parmesan, dried black trumpet mushroom & fresh truffle. When given a choice, I always like my popcorn sweet. But the truffle+popcorn combination was too tempting to resist.

On hindsight, we should have tried the highly raved Gougères Beer cheese” & jalapeño too. It is a baked savory choux pastry made of choux dough mixed with cheese.

Up next was the Steak Tartar Aged Parmesan, pickled white onion, crispy garlic, toasted almonds, Caesar aioli & gem lettuce. The simple yet luxurious dish is a delicacy of French origin, usually served only in high-end restaurants. Wonderful see this on the menu here and I absolutely loved the feeling of silky smooth beef gliding across my palate.

As though trying to tease Frantzén in jest, where there is a signature scallop dish served in the fine restaurant, there is a Pan seared scallop “Signature” Truffle scrambled eggs, “pommes paille” & smoked brown butter served here. This is yet another ingenuously simple looking dish that piques diner’s palate with the superb flavours.

For mains we picked a seafood dish of Oven Baked Cod with Sherry & Beurre Noisette Emulsion Lardons, parsley root, broccoli & toasted walnuts. The fish, served in a cast iron skillet, was tender and flaky.

Having tasted cloudberry – often referred to as “forest gold” in Scandinavia, during my previous visit to Denmark; I was keen to enjoy a Crème brûlée with Cloudberry Valencia almonds. What’s better than ending our last dinner in Stockholm with a dessert that incorporates one of the Swedes‘ traditional and beloved berries? In terms of popularity cloudberries are probably second to lingonberries.

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