Island hopping in the Oslo fjord* this weekend past with the intrepid Josie Beer saw us have Sunday lunch with a difference.
Take a B1 or B3 ferry from Aker Brygge and you’ll soon be hopping ashore on the islet of Gressholmen. This speck of land was once a man made bunny colony – until they culled them in 2007 to re-balance the ecosystem – and was Oslo’s airport in the 1930s when seaplanes were the thing. These days it’s pretty uneventful.
Apart from one establishment: Gressholmen Kro (BTW: nice website folks!)
With the backdrop of a threatening sky our ferry glides across the waters to gently press it’s bow against the landing. Oslo treating us to thunder, lightning, rainbows. We hop off, stride up the gravel path, through the trees, get a little lost and then emerge to the welcome sight of the cafe just as the heavens open.
Inside a typically Norwegian welcome – wry, yet warm smile and rising “hei hi” – with seven other customers. Three are silently, deeply engrossed in books, the remaining four in a quietly intense conversation. Our local host translates the menu and evangelises the depths of flavour their chefs can achieve: both are Portuguese (from Faro, a place we know well).
The conversationalists leave, no one else arrives. It’s absurdly peaceful here. The music is eclectic, the rain tips down outside. It is hygge yet hip, tranquil and – artificially – feels exclusive. Bless this bad weather: yesterday it was wall-to-wall sun and much busier out on the water.
Lunch is served. It is both simple and delicious.
We eat as the rain pitter patters. No one comes. The air is clean and cool, the food is perfect. We treat ourselves to dessert.
As Sunday lunches go, it’s right up there.
“Tusen takk” folks.
*technically not a fjord.