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Norwegian Restaurant Allows People to eat Undersea

Norwegian Restaurant Allows People to eat Undersea

Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 05:00
A worker prepares dining tables as a diver cleans a viewing window of Under, a restaurant that is semi-submerged beneath the water of the North Sea in Lindesnes, some 400 km southwest of Oslo, Norway. Photo: AFP.
Oslo - Asharq Al-Awsat
When Nicolai Ellitsgaard goes to work, he has to descend a long, wooden staircase. The 32-year-old Danish man is a head chef in a restaurant that is more than five meters below sea level.

The unusual eatery in Lindesnes, one hour west of Kristiansand on the Norwegian south coast, is named "Under", the English word for "below" and Norwegian word for "miracle".

The two owners Gaute and Stig Ubostad believe that their restaurant is a true "miracle".

"Hardly anyone expected that there could be an underwater restaurant up here in the north. In that sense, it's a miracle," said Stig.

Chef Ellitsgaard did not hesitate a second when he got the offer to work in "Under" more than two years ago. "When I saw the pictures of the restaurant and they said that I could do what I wanted in the kitchen, I immediately asked: Where can I sign."

The "Under" has been open since the beginning of April, and apart from the food, it's the architecture that astounds its visitors. The building looks a bit like a concrete shoebox that has slipped.

From the inside, you can only see a part of the water. The place features a wood-paneled entrance, which houses the cloakroom. A long staircase of native oak then leads down to the dining room, which opens across the full width with one glassy window.

To lower the building into the sea, it had to be filled with water. Only when it was connected to the foundation, the water could be pumped out again. Now that the building is so safe, it can withstand a century's wave, said Trædal Thorsen.

Unlike other underwater restaurants here in Lindesnes, "Under" includes the functional areas such as the kitchen, the wine warehouse and the toilets below sea level.

The brothers Ubostad said they built this restaurant to trigger the guests' curiosity about the underwater world.

According to the German News Agency, Chef Ellitsgaard is a big fan of marine creatures as well. Once a week he strips over the waterproof fishing trousers and goes harvesting algae, which makes an important part of the menu.

He and eight other chefs enjoy cooking the "hidden treasures" of the sea, Ellitsgaard said.

The 18-course menu starts with the limp parfait as an appetizer costing 230 euros ($260) per person. But that does not deter the guests. Until September, the underwater restaurant is fully booked.

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