Mormors Hus – a “Norway House” in the Heart of Bali

By  Ingebjørg Helland Scarpello

Norwegians holidaying in Bali no longer have to worry about missing their favorite food, since the first Norwegian restaurant in Indonesia—and probably in Southeast Asia—recently opened on the ‘Island of the Gods’.
Behind the restaurant is Mari Anne Feet, who settled down in Bali after living and travelling throughout the world for two decades.
For Mari Anne, “Mormors Hus” – or grandmother’s house – as the restaurant is called, is more than a business idea.
“This has always been my dream,” she said.
“I love cooking!”
Mari Anne chose the name, Mormors Hus, in recognition of the happy days of her childhood, spent at her grandmother house, savoring salmon, meatballs and waffles.
“No one cooked like granny! However, it wasn’t just about the food – it was so pleasant to spend time there too. I hope to recreate a similar oasis here, a sweet escape, somewhere people feel at home and want to stay a while, relax and share experiences.”

Opened by the Ambassador
Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia, Eivind S. Homme, who flew with several other diplomats from Jakarta just to be present at the opening, said he hoped Mormors Hus will be more than a restaurant.
“I hope this can become a gathering place for all Scandinavians in Bali, as well as a sort of ‘Norway House,’ where people from Indonesia and other countries can experience Norwegian food and culture. Because, this is after all what life is really about – such moments of togetherness over eating and drinking,” he said.
Previously posted in the Philippines, Italy, USA and China, the ambassador said he had once come across a Norwegian bar in Beijing but had never before had the pleasure of dining in a proper Norwegian restaurant abroad. He did not want to miss this opportunity and has already reserved a table for the next time he visits the island.

Simple but quality food
The dishes will be simple, based on quality ingredients and natural taste.
“I grew up in the countryside and have always felt that food and nature go together,” Mari Anne explained. On the menu is typical Norwegian food such as poached salmon, smoked salmon and meatballs – the way her grandmother made them, with just the right mix of pork and beef – as well as waffles, potato cakes, cinnamon rolls and pancakes with blueberry jam, plus some Italian and Indian dishes.
“Since Norwegian food is not as spicy as Indonesian food, you can taste the ingredients better – the naturalness of the food,” Mari Anne said, promising to invite everyone who wants for a traditional Christmas dinner.

In Legian, south Bali
Mormors Hus is located on the outskirts of Legian, south Bali, in a traditional, Javanese building. The dark brown, wooden house is tall and long with a pointy roof.
“It actually looks very similar to a traditional Norwegian Stave Church,” Marie Anne claimed.
“I fell madly in love with this place the first time I saw it, and I managed to convince the owner to rent it to me, even though other people were offering him more money.”
The roughly seventy people present at the opening—including Italians, Germans, Indonesians, Danish and English, as well as Norwegians—were impressed by the ambiance Mari Anne had managed to create.
The restaurant’s main feature is the open-air, inner courtyard consisting of a small area of rice terraces, lit up by a sea of candles flickering inside rolled up banana leaves. The terraces are surrounded by a ring of Balinese bales, with tables and chairs in light, pine-looking wood.
“The furniture is from a Scandinavian furniture producer based in Bali,” said Mari Anne proudly. In this peaceful sanctuary, far from the tourist resort’s busy streets, guests are invited to take refuge, mingle and relax over Norwegian home cooking, as well as newspapers, Wi Fi internet and of course, lots of coffee.
Bali does not have a large Norwegian expat community, but those that reside here are joined by the thousands more who every year make the trip to Southeast Asia on holiday, as well as the hundreds of students who choose one of the four Norwegian schools in Bali for their compulsory pre-university course.

Guest comments
Agnes Christiansen, head of GOstudy, one such school, said she thinks Mormors Hus will become a popular gathering spot for the students.
“This is a place they can come when they miss the familiar,” she said, adding that she is likely to become a frequent customer herself.
“I will definitely bring my five year old daughter, Tess, here to enjoy proper, Norwegian food”.
Other Norwegian expats, including Hanne Refsnes, Espen Lode Tønnesen and Daniel Pladsgård Warren were also keen, while several non-Norwegians said they were curious to get to know the Norwegian culinary tradition.
In addition to running Mormors Hus, Mari Anne also works as a hotel director.
“I don’t really have time to start a restaurant – but I just had to do it anyway,” she laughed.
“It’s my dream!”

Mari Anne Feet
Mormor’s hus
Jl. Pura Mertasari 28, suset Rd
Kuta, Bali

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