July 11-13, 2013
Jotunheimen National Park is home to Norway’s (and Scandinavia’s for that matter) highest peaks. While the peaks are not spectacularly high in terms of altitude – the highest Galdhopiggen is only 8100ft/2469m – the northern latitude gives the area that snowy above-the-tree-line feeling nonetheless.
Roisheim is touted as the best place to sleep or dine in the area so we had to give the place a try. It’s located 17K south of Lom on scenic route 55 at the junction with the road that takes you Spiterstulen, the trailhead for many of the parks trails including the hike up Galdhopiggen.
Roisheim, however, is probably not a good choice if you are planning on doing the Besseggen trail, the most popular in the area and located off of route 51 on the other side of the park, a good 1.5 hours plus from Roisheim.
The Roisheim family homestead, comprised of several buildings, has a lovely setting just off the highway.
A roaring river of glacial blue water runs on the other side of the road and is worth the short hike down to the bridge.
Rooms are expensive (about $275US+) and simply furnished in all light wood including the walls and floors. Bathrooms are equipped with heated tile floors and a funky barrel tub which you have to climb a stepstool sized ladder to get into.
The sitting rooms in the main house, which look like they belong in a cultural museum, have a certain old world rustic charm and are pleasant place to chill and enjoy the warmth of the fire before or after dinner.
The host is pleasant yet reserved. We found him friendly and helpful when asked but offered little information otherwise.
The four course dinner is served promptly at 7:30PM. The menu changes daily. While dishes are not cooked to order they are carefully selected to maintain a high standard of quality. All guests are served the same thing at about the same time (about $100US per person). The daily menu also lists a choice of two recommended wines by the glass or bottle for an additional charge. A selection of other wines is available on the wine list.
On our first evening the menu started with a small charcuterie sampling including a local sausage and the local brown cheese followed by an onion and Brussels sprout tart.
The main dish was steamed salmon wrapped around fresh asparagus and served with cabbage and roasted potatoes – the asparagus was perfectly done while the fish was a tad overcooked. The best dish of the evening was the chocolate fondant served warm and gooey in the middle with a side of vanilla ice cream.
The second evening and by far the better dining experience of the two nights, started with salmon poached in a tangy marinade followed by
an amazing pea soup – hearty pea flavor and accented with small shrimp.
The main course was a beautiful and tender venison loin cooked medium rare and served in a brown sauce with roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts. For dessert a layer of berry moose on a dense chocolate cake garnished with whipped cream – a heavenly combination.
The breakfast buffet is one of the best we experienced in Scandinavia.
The selection of meats, cheese, fish, bread, cereal and fruit etc. are of good quality and flavorful. Bags are left on the bread table for packing a light lunch.
Whether Roisheim is worth the expense depends on your budget and taste. Norway in general is expensive for Americans and Roisheim is certainly no bargain. Compared to the other choices in the area the restaurant it is definitely a cut above the typical buffet options. It also seems to be a popular special occasion restaurant for Norwegian families and hosts dinner groups of up to 12 persons.