Anne-Laure Murier - Rodolphe Ragu - 2012-06-06
With the Arctic Cathedral, northern lights and Polaria aquarium, the Norwegian city of Tromsø has several convincing arguments to attract tourists to the island. Anne Brit Andreassen’s restaurant Emma’s Drømmekjøkken, an establishment that welcomes travellers and world leaders alike, must be added to Tromsø’s distinctive list of assets.
‘Don’t get lost,’ Anne Brit Andreassen tells us on the phone. ‘My restaurant is the one opposite the old cathedral.’ A native of the region, chef Andreassen has been running Emma’s Drømmekjøkken since 1998. In those few years, she has managed to secure the establishment’s renown. Norwegian princes have dined here, as has Hillary Clinton, whose recent visit was immortalised on Facebook. The restaurant certainly merits its name, which aptly translates as ‘Emma’s dream kitchen’.
And we are, in fact, invited into a setting worthy of a dream. ‘The tables are perfectly laid with crystal glasses and china plates. But we want guests to feel at home here. When the meal is over, it isn’t rare that our customers give us a hug as they leave,’ says golden blond Andreassen with a frank smile. Some guests choose to go upstairs for a gastronomic meal of five or six courses, while others opt for Emma’s Under on the ground floor for a more expedient lunch that is every bit as exacting where quality is concerned.
Located on a fishing harbour, Emma’s naturally gives seafood pride of place, including salmon, herring, saithe and especially cod: so many different recipes are proposed that it’s difficult to choose just one! Cod carpaccio, tartare or crispy fried? Suit yourself! And if cod is no longer in season during your visit, you might try the grilled scallops with parmesan, pepper-roasted king crab or even whale sushi instead. Land is also nearby, of course, and Tromsø - connected to the Scandinavian peninsula via a bridge and four tunnels - benefits from fresh meat deliveries daily. In Anne Brit Andreassen’s restaurant, reindeer fillet is a great favourite, which comes as no surprise as Emma’s is located in the heart of Lapland.
Rumour has it that when Norwegian gourmets visit Tromsø, they reserve a table at Emma’s even before booking a flight. While we couldn’t verify the report, we do encourage you to be prudent and book ahead – it would truly be a shame if you were turned away. In Tromsø, evenings can be very long.
Five to six course gourmet meals are priced between € 80/£ 65 and € 90/£ 73. Lunch at the bistronomic Emma’s Under on the ground floor runs € 18/£ 14.50 to € 20/£ 16. Well-stocked wine cellar below.
Even though it lies 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø, population 65,000, is Norway’s eighth largest city. It has an airport and welcomes 900,000 visitors each year. Highlights of any visit should include Jan Inge Hovig’s unique Arctic Cathedral; the Polaria aquarium and its famous bearded seals; the Mack’s Brewery (Macks Ølbryggeri); and the Fjellheisen Cable Car that carries you up to Mount Storsteinen, 420 metres high, for an unbeatable panoramic view under the midnight sun.
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