Steen & Strøm’s New Food Court

Enjoy

Enjoy

On of the new trends we see in Oslo is that the big malls are refurbishing and opening food courts in their lower floors. Paleet in Karl Johan did so earlier this autumn, as parts of modernizing their mall. Now Steen & Strøm in Nedre Slottsgate has done the same. While Paleet’s attempt turned out to be more of a gathering of restaurants in one floor, Steen & Strøm has actually made a food court where you can shop around and grab a table where you feel like it.

They have a total of twelve restaurants, food vendors and specialty stores at the moment, as well as a super market. Newspapers are already calling it Oslo’s third food hall, following Mathallen at Vulkan and Maschmann’s Matmarked at Skøyen. We went to test all of the places, to see if they could live up to the expectations.

Hello Good Pie

Hello Good Pie has offered their delicious sweet and savory pies at Mathallen for two years already. At Steen & Strøm they have made a beautiful new restaurant, that looks even prettier than the original. The huge glass menu on the wall with gold leaf writing is almost as inviting as the pies. Through the windows on the counter you can see the tempting pies at one end, and follow the baking process at the other end.

Pork, beef and ratatouille are offered at 89/95 NOK if you just need a snack, and in a bigger size with condiments for 149 NOK to enjoy as dinner. Dessert pies with lemon meringue, chocolate and peanuts, apple crumble and pumpkin and caramel are 64/70 NOK. All in all we find this a good value for money place, especially considering the quality of the ingredients and the love that goes into making each and every one of them.

Lemon meringue, pumpkin pie with caramel cream and chocolate & peanut pie.

Lemon meringue, pumpkin pie with caramel cream and chocolate & peanut pie.

Gold leaf on glass! Beautiful

Gold leaf on glass! Beautiful

Cordelia pressing the pie doughs into their forms.

Cordelia pressing the pie doughs into their forms.

Baked with love

Baked with love

Just like home made pies

Just like home made pies

Burrito Project

Burrito Project immediately caught our attention on our first visit to the food court last week – before everything was opened as scheduled. They offered some samples of their slow cooked Josper grilled meat and it tasted really good. The concept reminds us of the high quality fast food chain Chipotle, which is found everywhere in North-America and has reached some major cities of Europe as well. Turns out this place is run by Oslo-based New Yorkers, so maybe that is where they got their inspiration.

Burritos are filled with either rice or beans and then a choice of Josper grilled vegetables (NOK 83), chicken (NOK 95), pulled pork (NOK 118)  or entrecôte (NOK 145). The remaining condiments are all included, except for guacamole which costs and additional NOK 23. Condiments include salad, pickled red onions, corn, cheese, different salsas and fresh coriander. You decide what to put on.

The meat still tasted good, but not as good as the samples we got the other day. Could it be because they store the meat in open air and it had gone cold? The salsas were a little runny, and the girl serving us was rather cheap on the guacamole we paid NOK 23 extra for. We got maybe a tablespoon or so per burrito, and thus the flavor disappeared almost entirely. Overall it tasted quite good, though, and we will return to to test some more later.

Burrito
Entrecôte burrito with "everything" except rice.

Entrecôte burrito with “everything” except rice.

Hipsters

Final touches to the walls still being done.

Final touches to the walls still being done.

Mamma Pizza

This place, run by Italians, is the second location to open after getting a decent reputation at their main store in Dronningens gate just a few blocks east of Steen & Strøm. They offer pizza by the slice “Rome style” as well as traditional round pies with thin crust. We tested the oxtail ragu and tuna by the slice. The oxtail ragu was really good, just look how tempting it looks on the picture below. The tuna was not so good, but that was probably due to our preferences or being overshadowed by the much tastier ragu.
Oxtail ragu

Oxtail ragu

Mamma pizza

Summerbird

Summerbird has had countless of pop-ups at Steen & Strøm recently. As such it was no surprise to see that they now opened their own store here. Gutta på Haugen has always been our go-to-place to get our Danish delights, but it is welcoming that Summerbird now have their own shop as well. Here you get amazing “flødeboller” with marzipan bottoms – we especially recommend the Christmas edition! Their chocolate coated almonds rolled in different flavors like lemon and chamomile or raspberry are highly addictive! Not to mention truffles filled with passion fruit caramel. Don’t believe us? They are always generous on store samples, so go have a taste. If you want the Danish Christmas spirit to last all of December you should get their Advent Calendar just like we have.

Everything is organic! All ingredients are of the highest quality. We have heard rumors that these crazy Danes went hunting for organic oranges in Italy. They found their perfect tasting orange, but the farm was not run organic. The farmer refused to facilitate for organic operation. Summerbird called him every Thursday for two years, and even went to visit him again several times. Until he gave up! Today he delivers the perfect oranges as they wished for, and he thanks them for convincing him to do it organic.

Summerbird
Flødeboller
Chocolate

Lakrids by Johan Bülow

Johan Bülow is “Lakridskongen”. The young Danish entrepreneur that started to make liquorice in his home kitchen just a few years back, and now runs a highly successful company of more than 100 employees in over 20 countries. Just like Summerbird, this place is generous on samples, and they will gladly help you to discover your favorite. We don’t really like liquorice as much, neither of us, but we have to admit – this is something else! Who knows, maybe next year we will have the Advent Calendar from Lakrids?
Lakrids
Johan Bülow
Gold lakrids

Sebastien Bruno

We already know Sebastien Bruno from their flagship store in Frognerveien and the temptations that meets you as soon as you enter Mathallen at Vulkan. This is truly one of the best macaroon makers in town! Try the olive oil and basil flavored macaroon, or if you want something seasonal how about rhubarb with cinnamon or milk chocolate and mandarin? Do not miss the roasted and caramelized pistachios coated in chocolate either!
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Sebastien Bruno

A.C. Perch’s Thehandel

Yet another Danish store! We know this as our favorite Copenhagen tea store, and now we are lucky to have one in Oslo too. They offer teas in every imaginable flavor and combination, and just look at how charming and welcoming the store is to visit.
Thehandel
A.C. Perch's

Olive Tree

Olive Tree has a vast variety of olive oils offered in lovely, hand crafted and painted bottles. However, when it comes to olive oil the flavor is definitely more important than the design. Is this as good as the olive oils we usually get from Gutta på Haugen or Oliviers & Co? The samples we tasted did not convince us, but we will have to try more varieties another time.
Olive Tree
Olive Oil

What’s Soup

Apparently inspired by the Soup Nazi from the classic Seinfeld episode, What’s Soup serves a selection of different soups and stews. On the menu at the moment is Dal – Indian lentil soup (NOK 89), cauliflower soup (NOK 89), chili con carne (NOK 109) and “pinnekjøtt”soup (NOK 109).

We took no chances and followed the correct procedures: “As you walk in the place move immediately to your right,  keep the line moving, hold out your money, speak your soup in a loud, clear voice, step to the left and receive. Do not to embellish on your order. No  extraneous comments. No questions. No compliments.”

The soups were ok, especially the Dal tasted quite good. The “Pinnekjøtt”soup is a little boring. If you add that it is priced at NOK 109 and leaves you less than full even for lunch – it doesn’t really work so well. Nothing here that screams of legend status as far as flavors are concerned. I guess we’ll come back – one year.

What's Soup

Jonathan Sushi

Jonathan did not offer any samples or ways to test their menu without buying a full meal. As this was our last stop of the tour, we did not buy the sushi this day. Sorry Jonathan, no preview – no review.
Jonathan Sushi

Pjoltergeist – just another reason to love this place

Elk tongue

Elk tongue

Yesterday me and kleinjinx tested the newly opened Piscoteket. We were out dining with my parents, and we bumped into fellow foodie donmahr who was being a true gentleman taking his mom for a date. After the full set menu Marius was still not truly satisfied about showing his mom the best of Oslo. He decided to take her to Pjoltergeist as well. We thought it was a great idea, and joined them.

Apart from great wine and pjolters as always, the only food item we ordered was the elk tongue which was written with with a red marker on top of the printed menu. It was a beautiful dish of elk tongue with an apple mousse in the bottom, shredded apple on top and dusted with grated smoked elk heart. The guy serving us was Swedish and told us it was Swedish elk. So I jokingly asked if he shot the elk himself. No, he explained, his mom and dad had killed a few elks recently and they gave him this particular one to use in the restaurant. That’s why I love this place.

Smoked elk heart

Smoked elk heart

Piscoteket – more ceviche power to Oslo

Anticuchos

Anticuchos

Last November it was the Mexican kitchen which opened two new restaurants in Oslo – Taco Republica and Tijuana. The first being quite hyped, and the latter almost anonymous in comparison. However, Tijuana became my favorite because of the food, concept and prices, although I can still enjoy Taco Republica as well.

This November, it is the Peruvian cusine – First out was Aymara two weeks ago and yesterday Piscoteket had their opening Pisco Disco.

Pisco Sour and an aquavit cocktail

Pisco Sour and an aquavit cocktail

Both places have received equal distribution of media attention. The Peruvian kitchen is the hype more than the specific restaurants. Piscoteket has Jaime Pesaque, though – chef and owner of Peruvian restaurants all over the world. That does create some expectations.

We were here on opening night, just like Aymara. The menu was a set menu (NOK 450), with options of wine or cocktail pairing.

Canchita (Peruvian popcorn)

Canchita (Peruvian popcorn)

What we liked about it:

– The huge bar in the middle of the room, pumping out cocktails.

– The presentation of the dishes. It looked good on the plate.

– The interior design of the place, the logo, authetic bus tickets and peruvian posters. Pretty colors!

– The authentic Peruvian music playing in the background.

– The traditional Pisco Sour.

Classical ceviche

Classical ceviche

What we hope they will improve:

– The ingredients… Those shrimps we got were super tiny, and couldn’t possibly be fresh. The octopus was tough and hard to chew, I had to spit it out. Some of the entrecote pieces as well. The scallops did not have the same fresh taste or mouthfeel as the ones we got at Aymara. I could even swear some of the vegetables had a taste of being canned… We really hope this was due to opening night and improves in the weeks to come.

– The flavors of the different leche de tigre is a big part of the meal here, and they did not appeal to us as much.

Overall it was not so exciting. Soon they will have Ají de Gallina, Lomo Saltado and Causa on the menu as well, and we will probably go back to test them.

Scallops tiradito

Scallops tiradito

Warm ceviche

Warm ceviche

Quinoa con pato

Quinoa con pato

Arroz con leche

Arroz con leche

Dessert cocktail

Dessert cocktail

Have you been to Piscoteket? What do you think? Has it improved?

Take Over at Smalhans

Aji

An early Sunday morning in November the two of us along with Jose “Pepe” Talavera took the bus to neighbourhood restaurant Smalhans at St. Hanshaugen. The mission: To take over the intensive two hour daily lunch/dinner service between 4pm and 6pm.

Anders prepping

The main dish was Ají de Gallina. A creamy hot dish with shredded chicken and yellow Peruvian chili (aji). Served with rice, potatoes (much carb love), eggs and black olives. In addition we decided to decorate it somewhat untraditional with Blue Congo potatoe chips. We kindly asked our assistant chef to go to Gutta på Haugen and buy some potatoes for us. Meanwhile we started prepping. We thought we were prepared for the amount of work that lay ahead of us, but in hindsight we had no idea. Making this dish for eight people is easy, but we had to prepare for more than a hundred just in case. Anders was finely chopping 80 cloves of garlic, and Andrea was shredding almost 100 chicken filets and that took an immense amount of time.

Pepe prepping

Pepe did an amazing job peeling nearly 150 potatoes. He probably valued his experience from the time as a marine commander, sometimes cooking for his staff of several hundred people. Chef Pepe was calm.

Pepe cooking

We had been prepping all day when suddenly it was less than an hour to service started. We brought everything upstairs from the prepping kitchen into the main kitchen. The big pot of Aji de Gallina was simmering and getting ready, but with just ten minutes to go, and the first orders already ticking in, our fellow Smalhans chefs suddenly noticed that the rice had not been boiled properly in the rice cooker. Thankfully Captain Hipstakokken entered at this moment and took control over his ship. Rice was put to boil everywhere. In the steam oven. In pots. High and low rice was being cooked. Service began at 16.05.

Pepe Anders cooking

Meanwhile, downstairs in the prepping kitchen still, Andrea was facing her own race against time with the dessert. The damn dulce de leche cream just refused to thicken! However, the biggest problem was that it still had to be cooled before we could put Italian meringue on top of it. At one point it almost looked like we would have to cancel the already heavily marketed dessert. Andrea has worked as a chef before too so she kept her cool, though.

Jinx cooking

To Anders and Pepe’s surprise, desserts arrived in time for the first guest to finish their main course. Our assistant chef had given Andrea a great tip to put the Suspiros in the instant freezer. One lesson we learned this day is that chefs help each other a lot, and we would not have managed half as well without the great help of our coworkers.

Suspiro

More than 50 people ordered Suspiro a la Limeña (“the sigh of the Lima woman) this afternoon. Which turned out to be a new record! As for the main course we didn’t sell enough to break Hipstakokken’s own record of 103, but we landed a nice fourth place with 88 pax.

Record board

Cooking at Smalhans was such a great experience for us, and we know a lot of our friends that came to eat had a good time as well. Thanks to Smalhans for inviting us and giving us this opportunity. We hope to return for another take over at some point. Until then we have learned that the chef life is even harder and more stressful than we think about, and that you should eat and drink something during eight hours of work or else you get a headache.

Hannibal

To our great surprise Smalhans decided to donate 5000 kroner of the profits this day to the Movember movement in support of prostate cancer research. Thanks!

Movember

Guest chefs at Smalhans

Aji de Gallina

This Sunday me and kleinjinx will be guest chefs at Smalhans at St. Hanshaugen in Oslo. We are also flying in Jose Talavera all the way from Schwarzwald for this special occasion!

Every day between 16.00 and 18.00 Smalhans have a new disch they call “Dagens Husmannskost” – the daily special with focus on traditional dishes from all over the world. Many have been guest chefs before us, including Bent Stiansen from Statholdergaarden, Ole Martin Alfsen and jr. sous chef at Fat Duck at the time; Markus Dybwad. Several bloggers have cooked here too; amongst them chikujenta and bonjourtristesse.

The dish we are preparing is called “Ají de Gallina” and translates to “the chili of the hen”. It is a traditional Peruvian plate of shredded hen or chicken in a creamy and nutty cheese sauce made with yellow aji amarillo chili peppers. It is served with rice and potatoes, as well as boiled eggs and olives. “Dagens husmannskost” always cost NOK 160 and you can get a second serving if it wasn’t enough for you – it’s supposed to be a hearty meal!

We are also preparing a dessert called Suspiro a la Limeña, which means “the sigh of the Lima woman”. The name should be self explanatory – this sweet ending to a meal is heavenly! Dulche de leche (manjar blanco in Peru) in the base and port wine infused Italian meringue on top, sprinkled with cinnamon dust.

Book your table now at http://www.smalhans.no/ between 16.00 and 17.45 on Sunday the 16th of November. If you do not wish to book, or reservations are not possible anymore, just pop by. There is always room for more people at the neighbourhood restaurant Smalhans. The bar stools along the counter are not open for reservation and is actually an excellent place to sit. Especially for those who wish to capture the moment and share with their friends on Instagram with hashtags #smalhans #gjestespill and #threefoodiescooking. Take away is also an option!

Suspiro

Aymara – Peruvian cuisine in Oslo

Chicharrón

Chicharrón

The Latin American restaurant boom in Oslo, as the newspaper Aftenposten called it, begins with Aymara opening it’s doors yesterday – Tuesday the 4th of November in Parkveien 64 near Solli. Piscoteket is to follow on Thursday the 20th of November. Table is booked for that too, and we are excited to compare the two places.

It’s Delicatessen’s Rodrigo Belda which now opens Oslo’s first Peruvian restaurant. Rodrigo explains that they are importing a lot of ingredients  from Peru, as well as Peruvian beer and Pisco.

You should go here for:
– the cocktails! Pisco Sour, Yuzu my Way and Manzanita.
– the tiraditos! A variation of ceviché. Acid heaven.
– the inka art on the wall from artist Chris Reddy.
– the comfy, retro, mustard colored chairs.
– the solid wood bar counter where you can sit down an enjoy a cocktail and a few dishes if you’re just dropping by.
– the chicharron! My god, the chicharron… Soft, fatty, slow cooked pork with a crusty outside.
– “Inka chocolate”. Chocolate cream, sorbet, “earth” and dehydrated mousse together with a lime curd. Textures, flavors… Yum!

Please notice:
– the prices are Oslo west…
– you have to like acidity in a meal
– if the meat is not perfect, just tell them. They will gladly replace it.

Tiradito Maracuya

Tiradito Maracuya

Ceviche Miraflores

Ceviche Miraflores

Anticuchos

Octopus Anticuchos

Papas

Papas

Inka chocolate

Inka chocolate

Canchita (Peruvian popcorn) and Huancaína sauce

Canchita (Peruvian popcorn) and Huancaína sauce

Cristal - Peruvian beer

Cristal – Peruvian beer

Inka art from Chris Reddy

Inka art from Chris Reddy

Secret box...

Secret box…

...contains the bill

…contains the bill

Hitchhiker revisited (x7)

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Forventningene mine til Hitchhiker er i stor grad innfridd. Tilfeldighetene og cravingene vil ha det til at jeg allerede har vært her syv ganger etter preåpningen og dermed prøvd det meste på menyen. Bortsett fra lunsjmenyen som er frem til kl. 17. Den består av ramen (nudler i kraft med kjøtt etc.) eller le pinje (serbisk brød med noe kjøttfyll) for øyeblikket. Blir nok testet en dag snarlig.

Det interessante er imidlertid kveldsmenyen fra kl. 17. Menyen er delt opp i rolls/dumplings, grill/fried og garnish/sides (mye vegetar). Høydepunktene fra menyen er etter min mening:

Nr 1 – Steamed buns med bakt svinside og chilimajones.

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Nr 2 – Jianbing (kinesisk pannekake) med crispy duck og hoisin (og puffa svor fra den bakte svinesida i retten over.

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Måtte disse aldri gå av menyen! Andre gode retter er gyoza, kyllingvinger og ikke minst spanske churros i sjokoladesaus med popping candy til dessert.

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Alle rettene koster mellom 40 og 80 kroner. Man trenger ca. 2-3 retter for et lett måltid og 4+ for å bli ordentlig mett. Det gjør i mine øyne Hitchhiker til et veldig anvendelig sted. Man kan gå innom som foodie og bare teste de siste tilskuddene på menyen. En lett lunsj med et glass vin en lørdags ettermiddag, eller full bordbestilling og bordet dekket i deleretter hvor alle får prøve litt av alt.

Tiden fra bestilling til rettene kom på bordet var en del raskere ved de første besøkene. Det kan ha vært tidspunktet på dagen som avgjorde, men jeg håper ikke dette er en trend som fortsetter. Jeg la også merke til at de har begynt å reservere bordene langs bardisken med utsikt ned mot Mathallen. Jeg tror det vil være heldigere om det holdes en del plasser åpen for drop-in på en slik restaurant som dette.

Lykke til videre Jan Robin og Stian. Håper dere influerer andre i Mathallen til å tenke mer i samme retning.

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Se for øvrig: http://www.hitchhiker.no/