Dinner in the underwater restaurant in Norway
Underwater restaurant; the structure, an inclined concrete pipe 34 meters long and partly positioned out of the water and partly under the sea, was designed by the architecture and design studio Snøhetta.
Taste refined starred dishes with a view of black cod, mackerel, new-born lobsters, rare jellyfish and wrasse, the colorful fish of the North Sea: a few weeks ago you can do it in the “Under” restaurant, the first underwater restaurant in Europe, in waters of Lindesnes, in southern Norway, surrounded by a wild marine nature. In Norwegian the name “Under” means “below” but also “wonder”, “wonder”; and it is precisely this that inspires this record-breaking, unique and original venue, with its 5 meters of depth and the large panoramic windows of 11 meters wide.
The structure, an inclined concrete pipe 34 meters long and partly positioned out of the water and partly under the sea, was designed by the architecture and design studio Snøhetta.
The avant-garde cuisine is managed by Nicolai Ellitsgaard, a young Danish-born chef, at the head of a brigade of 16 people with experience in starred restaurants. For an underwater dinner we spend about 230 euros per person, excluding wines, for a total of 18 courses based on rare red and tiny algae but tasty local crabs, among the most curious raw materials of the menu. To dine underwater, however, you have to wait for September or put yourself on a waiting list.
A treat for architecture enthusiasts
The building itself is an architectural gem. It is reminiscent of a rock formation that is rising out of the sea; almost like a kind of art installation. The award-winning architect firm, Snøhetta, has designed the spectacular building.
Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s 34-meter long monolithic form breaks the surface of the water to rest directly on the seabed five meters below. The structure is designed to fully integrate into its marine environment over time, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it. With the thick concrete walls lying against the craggy shoreline, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.
A monumental glass wall provides panoramic views of the sea
When you step into the restaurant, your unique undersea journey begins. Here you can descend all the way to a depth of five metres without a diving suit. Just walk down the stairs. At the mesanin there is a bar with a relax area where guest can sit before and after the meal.
Down in the restaurant, the notion of an “ocean view” takes on a whole new meaning. There, a huge glass wall will give you an unique insight into the bustling life in the sea (Skagerrak) outside.
You will get to watch all sorts of fish species swim by, depending on the time of year. Normal fish species in this area is pollack and cod, colourful wrasses, urchins, crabs, lobsters in gladiator battles, spiny dogfish (i.e. mini sharks) and distinctive seaweed and kelp in the changing seasons… And you can see a live performance of the roaring, stormy sea when nature is in turmoil.
Seals have also been observed outside the window, but marine researcher Trond Rafoss hope it will not visit very often, as it scares the other fishes away.
Locally caught fish, seabirds and wild sheep on the menu
Of course, the restaurant experience is not just about the fish that swim by outside. The fish and seafood that is served on your plate is a very important ingredient. Naturally, there will be an excellent selection of seafood at Under. But you also have the option of tasting seabirds and wild sheep that have grazed in the archipelago nearby.
The head chef at Under is named Nicolai Ellitsgaard Pedersen, and that means that the food is something to look forward to. Pedersen was formerly the head chef at the acclaimed gourmet restaurant “Måltid” in Kristiansand city centre, and he has also worked at the Michelin-starred restaurant Henne Kirkeby Kro in Denmark.
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