Winter Arctic symphony in Greenland : flavours of paradise
Episode 8 / 8
Back to Ilulissat.
For my last night, my program ends in a blaze of glory with my table booked at Restaurant Ulo.
The foodie part of me is in heaven just thinking about it. The waiter shows me my table, just next to the large window overlooking the fjord and icebergs.
Of course, I choose the 5 menu dishes and the wine menu. J The food is really good. A real fine gourmet restaurant experience. Each time the waiter brings me a new plate, it’s another Christmas surprise ! I am ravished by the way it is displayed, the variation of texture in the same dish, the elegant and subtile taste.
My favorite one is the fish head !! There is some René Redzepi’s influence here….A huge fish head served on a big plate with the mouth wide open and the tongue pointing at you. Well in fact, it’s not served like that, it is just shown to you like that. The waiter cuts the cheeks off the fish and puts them in a soup plate. Then, with a lovely coffee pot pours the greenlandic dashi into the plate. I say to the waiter with enthusiasm : “Wow ! I just love the presentation !” He smiles. “What is your greenlandic dashi made of ?” He explains it’s like japanese dashi but with dried fishes from Greenland. It’s delicious. You have the crunchiness of the roasted skin, the exquisite tenderness of the flesh of the fish (melting divinely on the tongue) and the dashi…. Mushrooms with noble bouillon. I feel like a mermaid swimming in the icefjord.
Another dish is brought and the pieces of lamb are so smooth…Just like salted fudge…. Come on ! That’s god damned good ! The red wines are their best partners.
Some northern lights appear in the sky. The guests stand up and rush to the terrace.
I go to check outside. Oh yes, here it is ! A very nice green one. We can feel it might get bigger tonight. But I look forward returning to my table and see the new wonder waiting in my plate. The dish looks like “haute couture”. Slices of beetroots and waffled mustard give volume and colours to he plate. Intense purple/red circles, yellow plaques covered with grains standing vertically between big chunks of perfect cooked meat. A red thick sauce makes a yummy curve on the plate. Green light in the sky but even more colours in my plate. Fireworks of tastes explodes in my mouth. All textures in once : raw, cooked, liquid, crunchy….
That’s a pity, I can’t finish it because I want to have enough space for dessert. The waiter reads my mind and say : you want to be hungry for dessert ? This waiter has been so nice and friendly from the beginning. I like to joke with him and share my enthusiasm about the plates as he is fuelled with the same energy.
The dessert is made of ultra thin slices of pear with white chocolate icecream and crunchy chocolate biscuit. Very good !
The waiter comes and says with a low voice : “If you want to see the northern lights from a better spot, our driver can lead you to the graveyard”. I think he has given me the greenlandic name of a place : “Graveuiaq” and I try to figure out where it can be. I repeat with a strange accent “Graveuiaq”? He says “no” and repeats his word “graveyard” then I realize he was saying an english word and we laugh together !!! I reply : “you know there is a picture that would be more precious to me than one of the northern light but I don’t know if it’s possible. It would be a picture of you, the chef and I”. He asks “do you have time ?” “Of course”. Then he goes to the kitchen. Oh, here are my two greenlandic heroes of the night : my waiter and the chef ready for the picture. So sweet ! The chef puts an arm around my shoulder and the three of us are looking at the camera, smiling.
This journey has been like this dinner, an amazing winter arctic symphony with flavours of paradise.
PS: Remember my desire to meet a fisherman in the harbour and talk to him. Life is generous. On my flight back to Copenhagen, a man was sitting next to me. Guess what ? He was a fisherman from Faroe Islands working in the Disko Bay ! I was watching all the episodes of the short programme “tastes of Greenland” on the flight screen. He was looking at me for a while, smiling. He began talking to me exactly when the episode in Oqaatsut with Ole was starting… My other wish has been realized. Greenland is definitely playful and friendly. Thank you Greenland. I love you.
Author : Food is a story