Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oslo, Norway

As much as I love Norway, I must admit that I prefer the other main Scandinavian capitals, Stockholm and Copenhagen, to Oslo. However, saying that, Oslo has some interesting places to see – some of which are quite unique. For example, Oslo is where you go to see salvaged Viking ships, the Nobel Peace Prize Centre, or the more grandly designed rather than laid back Vigiland Park.  Not to forget A-Ha and their final tour this year. Remember them?

Being surrounded by the sea and being known for their Viking heritage past or their shipping and oil and gas present, the cuisine in Norway as you would expect contains a lot of seafood. To complement the seafood, there is your usual range of meats including the game meats such as reindeer and elk. The food range in Norway is also quite diverse with local modern cuisine as well as influences and offerings from international cuisine, though I found as a whole the cuisine is generally saltier in Norway than in Australia (and perhaps to some extent Scandinavia generally).

Mr Hong’s Mongolian BBQ

I am no expert and I could be wrong, but Mr Hong doesn’t really sound like a Mongolian name to me - but walking past this place with the lure of a 3-5pm NOK 99 all you can eat “happy hour” Mongolian grill seemed too good to pass up.

Walking into Mr Hong’s Mongolian BBQ, the distinct lack of cliché Mongolian decorations and immediate strong presence of Chinese furnishings was apparent. I guess I wasn’t surprised. On entering, Mr Hong appeared to offer both a la carte and the buffet and upon opting for the latter, the waitstaff motioned us towards the buffet area of the restaurant. The presence of only a few tables of varying Norwegian and foreign looking customers (i.e. not blond and blue eyed?) was confirmation as to why Mr Hong had their enticing (or perhaps not as popular as they may have hoped) happy hour.

The buffet area was a small area filled with trays of food for the taking. On offer were meats such as marinated chicken, lamb, beef, pork, and seafood mix (which contained shrimps, squid and crab sticks). Other things on offer were vegetables such as carrots, celery, water chestnuts, capsicums, red cabbage, bamboo shoots, and then sweet corn soup, deep fried tapas, steam rice, fried rice, spaghetti, bread rolls, fruit and salad. To go with all of that, sauces such as sweet and sour, hoi sin and sweet chilli were available to take at your own discretion.

Whilst some of the food on offer was ready to eat, the raw meat and vegetables had to be passed up to the chef in the kitchen who would cook your selection in lots of oil and extra sauce (I asked for less the second time).

The food was pretty average after all that, and although the taste was quite uninspiring it was value for money.

United Bakeries

Like most countries, there is a healthy supply of bakeries in Oslo specialising in a variety of breads and pastries. I was told that to pay this particular bakery a visit with the prospect of a chocolate fountain that is used to fill a certain chocolate pastry upon order.

On entering and some searching around, I couldn’t find a chocolate fountain. Not happy Jan. However, given I was here, I figured I might grab some pastries anyway.

I didn’t end up eating these pasties straight away and actually ate them the next day which was perhaps not the wisest move. I did feel as though the pastries were a tad dry which may have been bakery related but I’ll put down to leaving it overnight.

Raisin Scroll, Chocolate Danish, and Chocolate Brioche

Chocolate Brioche – NOK28

Wth the promise of chocolate as previously mentioned, I felt in the mood for chocolate and ordered this pastry. Unfortunately the “chocolate” felt a bit more like a footnote as there were only chips of chocolate throughout. However, the brioche overall was ok just that it felt a bit ordinary to me.

Raisin Scroll – NOK 20

One thing I do like with the way they make these in Norway is the addition of custard. The custard adds a new layer of moist sugary enjoyment to this otherwise normal pastry. With this particular pastry though, I found the custard and raisins balanced the overall pastry with the sugary moistness they bring.

Chocolate Danish

This Danish was another pretty standard pastry – bits of choc chips in a Danish style pastry.

Overall though, and maybe unfairly affected by the fact I ate this the day after, I prefer some of the other bakers in Norway.

Golden Dragon Chinese and Thai Restaurant

Late one night we went back through the main street in Oslo (Karl Johan’s) and looked for a late dinner. Apart from the fast food joints (such as Burger King) and a few pubs there really wasn’t much open at the time. However, we stumbled across three restaurants on one of the side streets off Karl Johan’s – one Italian, one French, and one Chinese. The Italian restaurant looked unpopulated, whilst the French restaurant looked a bit expensive for a quick late night dinner so we settled on the cheaper Chinese restaurant – Golden Dragon Chinese and Thai Restaurant.

The notion of Chinese and Thai in a single restaurant seemed a bit peculiar but the menu did indeed show dishes of both Chinese and Thai sounding origin. In fact, the menu even had sushi – these guys were indeed multi-talented.

Our small group decided on a few dishes, including the use of a set course meal of two dishes for NOK198.
Szechuan Chicken

The Szechuan chicken was a single serving plate full of chicken fillets and vegetables in Szechuan sauce. This Szechuan flavour wasn’t as chilli/pepper hot as others I’ve tried, and rather quite mild. Overall this was pretty average.

This main dish was accompanied by steamed rice.

Thai Curry Chicken Hot Pot

The Thai curry chicken contained pieces of chicken fillets, and vegetables such as onion, bamboo shoots, and snow peas. This curry was only mild in curry taste and had a distinct and strong lemon grass taste. Also different to the Thai curries I’ve tried in Perth, the curry sauce was very thick but wasn’t a soup of creamy curry sauce I tend to mop up, as well as containing a higher amount of sodium. The curry was also served in a clay hot pot and the serving size wasn’t that big as it was intended as a main course dish served with food for one person.

Again, this main dish was accompanied by steamed rice.

Apple Pie with Ice Cream

Chinese… Thai… Then even Japanese… and now Apple Pie? Chinese apple pie? Actually, this was a decent apple pie – chunky sweetened apple in buttery shortcrust pastry.

The ice cream though was pretty standard and melted quickly due to the heat of the pie.

Some memories from Oslo…

Frammuseet - The World's Most Famous Polar Ship

The Nobel Peace Centre

The Obama Exhibition at the Nobel Peace Centre (too bad about losing the lower house)

The Nobel Peace Centre's Gallery of Peace Prize Laureates

The National Theatre

The Uniquely Designed Opera House

Vigiland Park

Sinnataggen - The Infamous Angry Little Boy

Looking Towards the Fountain in Vigiland Park

The Monolith at Vigiland Park which took 14 Years to Carve

A Recovered Viking Ship

The Beautiful Lines of a Viking Ship

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting review of Oslo by an Aussie!
A couple of corrections though:
1. The building on the picture you have texted: The National Theatre is actually The House of Parliament.
2. The park with the angry little boy is called The Vigeland Park.