Perhaps it's true it was the boldest combination of food and location yet, but we knew it had enormous potential to make the most interesting social dining event in ETEs short, but rich history, spanning almost an year worth of unique events. On 7th of March Ethics met Aesthetics – on a table set for 28.
A perfect evening with ETE hinges on whether the characteristics of the surroundings work well together with the food. We take much pleasure into finding the perfect and innovative combination of gastronomic identity and unusual scenery. Nonetheless, one might argue pairing the location of Oslo's most in-demand fashion boutique YME with much sought after vegan chefs of Funky Fresh Foods is a weird piece of matchmaking. One might also think most vegans are anti-fashion industry, and that fashionistas don't really eat much, so what's the point?
But then you'd have to eat your hipster hat, cause that's obviously simplifying the matter and underestimating the beauty of colourful veggies, which sure can be really vogue if you know how to cut and stich them together. And that’s definitely and underestimation of the contributions of aesthetics, arts and architecture towards these type of events that are ETE, too!
This pairing had definitely laid the foundation for a high-end social eating experience this evening, both pleasing the aesthetically and ethically oriented, the tandem goers and the curious lone wolves alike.
Even before our dear guests showed up, the fine-tuned ETE machinery started to click and clack. Almost in no time, after closing hours, the ETE crew had prepared and reset the scenery at YMEs third story floor, tables set and all. Old-fashioned customers were soon to be replaced with a flock of hungry hearts dressed up in nice costumes.
So, while a small, but virtuoso band of gastronomic expertise in the kitchen were steaming vegetables on full throttle, our dear guests met unknowingly in the middle of Tullinløkka, just a few blocks away.
There, in the gusty and dimly lit park, it seemed somewhat scary for one to introduce to one another. The slight social angst is a quite a normal, albeit passing, state of mind, and were hopefully mildened by our welcoming greetings and the first pre-course; an coco crunch delight on thin wooden sticks from Funky Fresh chefs. Some guests even brought the sharp sticks with them as we strolled towards our hotspot, eagerly chatting and guessing locations on the way, not knowing they needn't be fighting over scraps later on, with a full five course vegan menu awaiting just around the corner.
Funky Fresh Foods started out as a indie-label-catering-and-food-event-firm, supplying outlets such as MESH, before exploding onto the rapidly evolving Oslo food scenery with their very own stylish cafe over at Doga, The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture. Recently appearing in Vogue magazine as a favourite choice of dining in the capitol of Norway, the woman in charge of affairs, Josefine Andrén, and chef Paulius Gasparavicius already had a strong foothold in the realm of fashion, amongst others, professing their profound beliefs in green, sustainable and animal friendly lifestyle.
YMEs universe and history is equally alluring, with the three stories tall shop in Karl Johan’s gate building on their very own creation myth of the old Norse giant Yme. The founder and creative director, Nicolai Schaanning Larsen, introduced his curated universe of fashion, art, interior and design to our guests when they arrived by boldly pointing out the rich cultural heritage within the walls. In fact, once, late in the 1900th century, the building used to host a intriguing brothel, no less.
Once having finished a glass of champagne and found their place around the table inside the YME library of magazines, our guests, some vegan, some not, had nothing but praise for what was to be served initially:
Seaweed and salicornia salad
First main course
Beetroot soup with cashew soft cheese
But after indulging in a delicious soup, one must of course enjoy some of the other fine arts, right?
Following the announcement of a mid-menu break, people were gently shepherded inside a adjacent room filled with mirrors and clothing on racks. Waiting in a circle for a few tense seconds, with still nothing happening, some started looking around for clues. Then someone noticed a slightly built woman approaching from afar, slooowly dragging a huge double bass from the other side of the story floor. After engaging in a solo dance performance in the middle of the circle, an hitherto onlooking, anonymous man then took part, grabbing the double bass from the floor, interacting and accompanying the contemporary improvisations of his partner. A few spectators recognized the couple from the original group 28 guests meeting at Tullinløkka and even remembered them sitting at the table enjoying the food. The performance of Marianne Haugli, a renowned dancer, choreograph and model, and her husband, the musician Aslak Hartberg, made a long lasting impression on the audience, who just couldn't stop appraising what they just experienced in order to find their seats in time afterwards.
But that small delay didn't matter much, because downstairs in the kitchen the heat was truly on, and so the little deferment was met with no small degree of relief. Ten minutes later our guest's perhaps favourite dish of the night was being lined up:
SECOND MAIN COURSE
Portobello mushroom with cashew cream, black quinoa, agar agar, enoki mushrooms, mustard sprouts and garlic chips.
Followed by an slightly more subtle, but equally fulfilling fourth dish:
Maneesh (middle eastern flatbread) and Babaganoush (eggplant-dip), with sesame seeds, thyme and majoran
Lemon Pie with avocado and banana filling
All night the trademark ETE playlist had been playing, setting the right mood. As smiles got louder around the table, people started making new friends, and we found it appropriate to round the evening off with a special nightcap of cask matured aquavit, tonic water and lime. If you're the hat-eating type that may seem like an odd composition, but not for most of our guests, who we suspect rather appreciates the quirky combination once in a while!
Maybe we then politely anticipated our increasingly jovial guests to dissolve naturally as the evening turned to night, perhaps hoping the nightcap had it's desired sleep inducing effect. On realizing that wouldn't happen all so easily after all, we instead joined in, getting to know our guests, at least a little, before we wished them all the best around midnight.
Our brilliant chefs, Paulius and Josefine, after a long night serving our ETE-guests.
A BIG THANKS TO
- YME and Nicolai Schaaning Larsen for inviting us into their thrilling universe.
- Funky Fresh Food and Josefine Andrén, Paulius Gasparavicius and Raphael for the brilliant and delicious vegan menu
- Marianne Haugli and Aslak Hartberg for the beautiful performance.
- Eivind von Døhlen for documenting the evening