The restaurant Bagatelle announces itself as something different for Oslo. Andreas Gursky’s photograph Mayday IV (2000) dominates the dining room. The Michelin-starred spot opened in 1982 but is still the most talked-about restaurant in town. It has something else, too, that is rare in Norway: the sound of boisterous conversation, tableware clinking, and people indulging in the pleasures of food. There is also nothing quiet about chef Eyvind Hellstrøm’s cooking. For a first course: a single oyster from Normandy presented in its deep, sculpted shell on a bed of herbed coarse salt, accented with a dash of Japanese shiso sauce and a small pearl of olive oil that perfectly balances the surging brininess of the fleshy shellfish. It is a simple dish, masterfully conceived, that unselfconsciously integrates flavors from Asia and Europe as if they naturally belong in a Norwegian restaurant. I
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