Esben Holmboe Bang
What’s the story: Head chef and co-owner, Esben Holmboe Bang, hails from Denmark but has made Oslo his home for the past 13 years. With a vision to open a restaurant centring around Norwegian produce and organic, clean flavours, Bang opened Maaemo in 2010 and since then, it has become one of the most in-demand destination restaurants in all of Scandinavia.
A culinary journey: Reflecting the name – Maaemo is ancient Norse for “Mother Earth” – the menu is based almost entirely on ingredients sourced from the surrounding region. Some of the seafood, such as the wild salmon cooked in salted butter, comes from the pristine waters of Norway’s northern coast, but most of the produce is grown or foraged in the area immediately around Oslo, focusing on organic and sustainable practices.
What’s on the menu: Maaemo’s comprehensive tasting menu is not without a few favourites: ‘Our Caviar’ is served with white asparagus and hazelnuts, while diners travel from far and wide to get a taste of the king crab with smoked reindeer. The meal is concluded with a heavenly selection of desserts, including the warm cinnamon buns, brown cheese toffee and delightful cloudberry tart.
Scandinavian inspiration: Holmboe Bang’s vision was to unite ingredients from all over the nation. From the inland wilderness of Røros to the southerly Hvaler islands, Maaemo presents a culinary tour of the Norwegian landscape, distilled onto a plate.
Location change: In March 2020, Maaemo moved into a new, larger home in the Oslobukta neighbourhood, with striking decor that wouldn’t look out of place in art gallery – it features a lounge downstairs, a dining room on the ground floor and several private dining spaces.