With good help from many years of cooking experience along with an enthusiastic and professional staff – as well as an imaginary dream woman – Anne Brit Andreassen has created a highly celebrated eating place in Tromsø: Emmas drømmekjøkken (Emma’s Dream Kitchen) . It is said that connoisseurs of fine cuisine from Oslo book a table at Emma’s before booking their flight.

Informal dining over crystal

Eating at Emma’s Dream Kitchen is both intimate and formal. The premises are characterised by light, toned-down elegance, and the tables are set in flawless perfection. The glasses are of polished crystal and the porcelain dinner plates are specially made. Such finesses might easily intimidate, but the staff are dedicated to making it a pleasure and a celebration to eat at Emma’s. They therefore welcome their guests as if they were entertaining at home and they chat and exchange the sort of witty remarks that the local Tromsø residents love.

The King and I

For many years Anne Brit had hoped for a royal visit, and then it happened: King Harald of Norway came to dine at Emma’s. Afterwards, Anne Brit, the staff and the guests breathed a bit easier and started to relax again. There were many hugs exchanged. “It is such a joy to know that their experience was a good one,” says Anne Brit.

And Anne Brit created the woman

But who is Emma? This dream woman has a complex origin. When Anne Brit was small, for fun she would pretend her name was Emma – a woman who cooked, served and looked after guests. Anne Brit’s mother was herself a cook with quite a reputation. Also present in her playful imagination was the never-seen but much-praised better half of Oluf of Raillkattlia, made famous in a series of Norwegian comedy sketches. When the restaurant opened in 1998, Anne Brit already had a clear image of Emma – a figure about as real to her as Calvin’s tiger companion, Hobbes, was to him.

Warm-hearted and knowledgeable

Emma is a warm-hearted, good and generous woman who is just as concerned about good service as she is about culinary excellence. Since she comes from a home in which the kitchen played a central role, she has always known the difference between excellent and ordinary. Emma is well versed in the great French culinary tradition and she takes note of trends and fashions within the culinary arts. She has a sense for good ideas from the best of international cuisine. In spite of this, she also appreciates what people in the north call “proper food”: well-prepared using local ingredients, the way their mothers and grandmothers made it.

Nordic cuisine

Chef Yvonn has a grandmother on her father’s side on the island of Andøya who makes an unbeatable cured leg of mutton, which is transformed on the menu into “ocean-breeze-dried, cured leg of mutton à la carpaccio from Nøss”. “I was able to get some especially fine pollock fillet today,” says Anne Brit, “so we used it for Today’s Special – lobster-stuffed fillet of pollock with garlic au gratin. Pollock is the fish lover’s fish, you know!” Boknafisk, the semi-dried Lofoten winter cod, has been a favourite for many years that people never tire of.

Dreams can come true

Full menus were a novelty in Tromsø when Emma’s Dream Kitchen opened its doors in 1998. Perfectly balanced dishes with almost poetic Hamsunesque names created a sense of anticipation and a festive atmosphere among the guests. “People were under the impression that they had to eat a seven-course meal here, but it is OK to enjoy just one main course,” emphasises Anne Brit.com posing the menu nevertheless makes for fun-filled brainstorming among the staff. Emma’s alternative Christmas menu can include elements such as duck with a star anise and cinnamon spiced jus. Enamoured couples from Norway and abroad love Emma’s Valentine’s Day menu. During the Nordlys Festival, the dessert took on the undulating shapes of the Northern Lights. Emma’s erotic spring menu with light, tantalising and humorous mouthfuls keeps just on the right side of the moral boundaries.

Emma’s Under

Wise women such as Emma often know what hungry restaurant guests want before the guests themselves do. This is why she opened Emma’s Under at street level. While the restaurant upstairs is classical and refined, Emma’s Under is stylish, modern and in close contact with Kirkegata Street outside. The lunch menu features light and quick dishes, but the care taken in their preparation is equal to that of the premises above. In the evenings, Under serves a simpler version of the menu from upstairs. This provides a lower threshold for dropping by. Anne Brit knows that once they have enticed guests to make their initial visit, they are very likely to return. Who could resist a dream woman anyway?

Do you want to order a table right now?

Contact the woman of your dreams at Emmas Drømmekjøkken www.emmasdrommekjokken.no