The living room of the hut at Ilimanaq Lodge with ocean views. Photo by Jessie Brinkman Evans
After settling into our home for the night, we walked back down the path towards the two restored buildings at the heart of the community, our pace hurried as we talked fervently about the food and wine we were sure to enjoy.
Restaurant Egede has found its home in the former residence of eighteenth-century missionary Poul Egede, painstakingly restored to its former stature by project partner Real Dania. The restaurant is bathed in brooding natural light which filters in through Nordic windows, swallowed by its sail-cloth walls and the furs which adorn each chair in its dining rooms. Its brushed metal cutlery and speckled tableware exude an atmosphere of careful and handcrafted selection, a sentiment that extends to the food which is presented on it — nowhere is the seamless blend of Greenlandic tradition and modern amenity more obvious.
We spoke with our server at length about the food, its history, and the ingredients which have been sourced from the surrounding area. The flavours of fresh fish and locally hunted muskox merged wonderfully with foraged mushrooms picked from the hillsides, and the fresh herbs grown next to the restaurant in rows of planter-boxes. While Jessie pored over a well-curated wine list, I was happy to see beer offered from a Greenlandic brewery. We left hours later, full, happy, and looking forward to getting some much needed rest in our cosy little cabin.
Lunch platter in the Ilimanaq restaurant with wild, foraged ingredients – mushrooms, muskox pate, raw and smoked halibut. Photo by Jessie Brinkman Evans
A night or two at the Ilimanaq Lodge is the perfect jumping-off point for travelers who may find themselves in Ilulissat with only a few days to explore the surrounding fjord. With its tour through the region’s breathtaking ice, and numerous opportunities to explore a true piece of Greenland in and around the Ilimanaq settlement, the lodge and restaurant provide an ideal base of operations, a place to start your day with a view of breaching whales, before meeting locals and taking in the true grit of Greenland’s awesome landscape.
As we carried our bags down to the dock and waited for the boat, Jessie and I took a few lasting looks around, and knew that we would be back someday. For as much as we saw and did, the vastness of the land and the warmth of the people who live on it is something that would take a lifetime to explore. As the boat pulled up and its smiling crew helped us ferry our bags aboard, we quietly agreed that this would not be our last time under the midnight sun.