Oslo – Grünerløkka – Norwegian tapas in Damstredet

Just a little further south from Vulkan (see previous post) and just west of Brennerveien (two posts ago) is Damstredet, a short cobbled street with old houses dating from the late 1700s and the 1800s. Map here.

It will give you a good idea of what old Oslo used to look like. For me it’s very reminiscent of my grandparents’ old street in Halden. Click on the gallery for the best view.

There were even some brick houses here which are a rare sight in Norway.

At the bottom end of the street there’s a restaurant in an old house dating from 1814, which was our main reason for coming here…

Bon Lio (High Intermediate A), 42 Fredentsborgveien, www.bonlio.com

This is a Norwegian/Spanish tapas bar, inspired by modern Spanish cuisine but using local ingredients. How could I resist?

As soon as we entered we recieved a very warm welcome from the ebullient Max who was our waiter and sommelier for the evening. He’s also a polyglot from a theatrical family and the floor here is his stage. Such a character!

As it was after 6pm, the restaurant only offered a ten-course set menu at 865nkr. This was very good value by Oslo fine dining standards so we went for it. We also had eight glasses of wine and two brandies each which were another 771nkr per person.

The proceedings began with a shared plate of Jamon Bellota, the top notch Spanish acorn-fed ham.

Soon after came Tuna Tataki with bacon ‘crisps’ (B).

Then a hollowed out potato filled with wasabi mayo and topped with caviar (B).

Halibut Ceviche with Leche de Tigre (fresh citrus juices, usually lemon or lime, ají chili peppers, salt, coriander) (B).

We had four glasses of the excellent ‘Albamar’ Albarino (A).

Next Pulpo; octopus in a salsa of yellow chilli and yucca (cassava) (B+).

Then a Snow Crab Croqueta with mayo (A).

Scallops in a paprika sauce (B+).

My favourite course was the huge Sjøkreps (A+), a giant langoustine (aka Norway lobster or Dublin Bay prawn) from Norway’s northern waters (the colder the water, the better the seafood), which had been butterflied and sliced for easy eating. I’m more a fan of prawns as they usually have a higher flesh to shell ratio but with this kreps seemed neverending.

After the seafood we switched to a red wine, in fact an old favourite, Emilio Moro, a 2014 Tempranillo (B+) from the Ribeira del Duero DO.

Dan’s favourite was the pan-fried Turbot with a smoky pumpkin mash and cashews (A).

South American influences continued with a Pulled Pork Taco on a blue maize tortilla (B+).

I’d never had a red from Galicia before but I really enjoyed the ‘Lalama’ Ribeira Sacra (B+) which was less full-bodied than the Ribeira but with a great nose and long lasting flavours.

The Caramel Pudding with Pistachios (B) is the house signature dish which customers apparently won’t allow to leave the menu.

After this two glasses of Ximenez-Spinola ‘Old Harvest’, a stunning aged sherry (A) from my favourite Spanish bodega. I happened to have an unopened bottle at home in the cellar so this was a nice preview.

It was a wonderful experience but if I were to nit-pick it would be that the wines were sometimes mismatched with the food, for example the Lalama really didn’t go with the dessert, but I forgave Max this when he gave us a couple of shots of Ximenez Spinola ‘10000 botellas’, my favourite Spanish brandy, to crown an already excellent evening. We were best friends with Max by the end of the meal and parted with several hugs and promises of return. All the staff here were lovely and you definitely got the impression of a team that enjoy working together. Definitely recommended!

A walk in the Sentrum next…

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