The New York Times

New New Nordic Cuisine Takes Hold in Oslo

THERE IS AN EXCITEMENT AROUND RESTAURANTS IN THE NORWEGIAN CAPITAL, WHERE THE TAKE ON NEW NORDIC COOKING IS FRISKY, UNPRETENTIOUS AND (RELATIVELY) AFFORDABLE.

Oslo first registered with many people as a possibly alluring new gastronomic destination in 2016 when the excellent restaurant Maaemo won three Michelin stars. For me, though, the growing culinary appeal of the Norwegian capital isn’t best defined by Michelin — where the dominant DNA is Gallic gastronomic refinement — but rather a delectable local food culture that’s based on the country’s spectacular seafood and produce, amped up by the brevity of its growing season.

The best cooking in Oslo is often found at the growing number of friendly, casual and, for this expensive country, relatively affordable gastro pubs and modern bistro-style tables that serve food inspired by an edgier contemporary idiom of French cooking, “la bistronomie.”

Much of this cuisine is thrillingly primal, even a little bit blunt, as seen in a funky local love of smoked and fermented foods, the acidulated dairy flavors of brown butter, brown cheese (made from caramelized whey), buttermilk and soured cream. Scandinavian herbs and seasonings like wild wood sorrel, sea buckthorn berries and “Nordic capers” (pickled elderflower berries), punctuate this umami-rich food with their bracing acidity.

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