Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The roses were brought out in most flower boutiques here in Tromsø on Sunday 10 February 2019. It was in celebration of Mother’s Day in Norway. The Feast of Saint Valentine which falls on 14 February in celebration of love and friendship, seems a fairly understated affair in Norway, and in particular as observed, in this city in the Arctic Circle. In a walkabout the city centre prior to dinner, I came across one of my favourite flower boutiques. There was a significant absence of bouquets of roses for the Feast of St Valentine’s. The shop had for ready-made bouquets, clusters of chrysanthemum and lily blooms. Roses were available but firmly potted. In Gothenburg, I loved to have tulips at this time of year sitting on the kitchen table in a vase. In Tromsø, four metre high snow walls built from clearing snow off the sidewalks and driveways is not encouraging weather for tulips, even in vases. I did however, bring home a new pet plant from that shop, a ficus elastica robusta.

With the ficus in hand, I trotted carefully over icy roads to the restaurant where I had booked a table by a window for two. There is no such thing as walking elegantly over ice in the wrong type of winter boots with smoothened soles. Dinner was at Graffi Grill Tromsø located at Prostneset Samuel Arnesens road, near the city’s main harbour front for cruise tours to the surrounding islands near Tromsø. Graffi is an old local expression referring to know-how. As testament to their all round know-how, the Trondheim founded restaurant took their grill skills and hospitality to Tromsø in 2018. We ordered the restaurant’s signature dish, the Grillfest, which is perfect for sharing. The Grillfest plank came with three different types of meat with sides of corn, french fries, taco chips, a salad and complementary sauces. The meats were grilled perfect. The dish was awesome. The general atmosphere at this restaurant is cozy. The high ceilings equipped with electric fans that lend the impression of a converted warehouse to restaurant space. Service is expedient, friendly and obliging in information on how the meats were cooked. Part of the secret to this know-how? Use a Josper (Josper S.A. is a company founded in Barcelona, Spain).

The Graffi Grillfest signature dish.