London is one of the most, if not the most, expensive cities in Europe…. well, this was my belief until we visited Oslo. London all of a sudden seemed cheap in comparison. Once we got over the eye watering prices, we enjoyed Oslo and its way of life. So much that we even topped our experience by visiting the incredible Michelin starred restaurant Ylajali.
Royal Palace, Oslo
Oslo presented itself as a beautiful little groomed city with plenty of green space and well dressed people. It is easy to understand why it has been rated the number one city in Europe in terms of quality of life in 2011.
The Palace Park, Oslo
The Royal Palace and Park are close to Oslo’s city centre and is a fabulous place to relax after exploring the pedestrian friendly Karl Johans Gate, the main street of Oslo’s city centre, with lots of shops, cafes, green spaces and street artists.
For an early dinner we headed to Oslo’s waterfront that is lined with yachts, fashionable shops and restaurants. It was a difficult task to choose from the selection of restaurants but we eventually settled for the sea food restaurant Solsiden, located right below Akershus Castle with stunning views over the harbour.
We were seated outside and were very excited to taste Norwegian cuisine for the first time. The food was fresh, organic and the best complement to the views.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
The next day we decided to walk to one of Oslo’s main attractions – Vigeland Sculpture Park, famous for its 212 bronze and granite statues each of which contributes to the theme of the park – the ‘Human Condition’.
The statues depict various different human emotions and stages in life. The landscape of the park is gorgeous and well worth a visit especially on a nice sunny day.
The highlight and most memorable part of our Oslo trip has been our culinary experience at Michelin starred restaurant Ylajali. Its name is borrowed from the female character of Knut Hamsun’s novel Sult (Hunger). Ylajali is housed in a listed building at St Olavs Plass 2 – the same place where the beautiful Ylajali lived in Hamsun’s novel. The main entrance of the restaurant is almost hidden, but once you enter you find yourself in a beautiful and relaxed ambience with contemporary furniture and art, as well as elegant chandeliers and stucco ceilings.
The menu is presented as a book with a prologue, four chapters and an epilogue. It is a fixed tasting menu with up to 20 dishes that can be combined with the perfect wine selection. Ylajali only serves local produce that is innovatively transformed into beautiful small masterpieces of modern nordic cuisine.
Our journey through the artfully crafted series of Norwegian inspired flavours and textures lasted for about 3 hours. Each dish was of the highest quality and beautifully balanced. It would be too much to write about each dish – I would also struggle to find the words for the many new flavours that we have been introduced to. Here are just some of the photos I took that evening.
Chef Even Ramsuik and his team can be proud of their creations – we thoroughly enjoyed our evening of culinary delights and closed our eyes when the final bill arrived …
Watch this video if you would like to see more of their food creations.
Extract of their menu book:
‘Suddenly she made a resolute move and pulled her veil to her forehead; we gazed upon each other for a second. Ylajali! I said. She raised, throwing her arms around my neck and kissed me. ‘