Happolati on Norway Constitution Day
A beautiful marriage between Nordic and Asian Cuisine
In a moment of spontaneity, Spoons decided to visit Oslo the 17th of May; Norway's Constitution Day!
Travelling from Gothenburg is easy with bus and pretty convenient as the last (or first) bus departures in the middle of the night and you'll arrive in the early morning which means you can stay just over the day - and what a day!
After taking part in the crazy celebrations Spoons found a real jackpot! This is the restaurant review from Happolati!
Happolati is located at St Olavs Plass in Oslo
This was my first Constitution Day in Norway but it won't be the last! Even if being Swedish the day had been grand with the traditional celebrations, marching bands, everywhere shining happy people dressed in traditional costumes and a never-ending waving of the Norwegian flag! You can't avoid a strong feeling of Northern pride and some awe in how our western neighbour chooses to celebrate their day as a nation. Norwegian people are awesome!
Norway Constitution Day - a day when everyone is celebrating!
Actually, finding this restaurant was a little bit of luck! I was sitting drinking some beers searching all Apps, doing searches on the Internet and couldn't really decide where to eat when I stumbled upon the word "Happolati" sounding very Finnish but the word caught my interest.
One quick glance at Happolati's site (in Norwegian) and I had decided! This was interesting! The menu sounded delicious and reading between the lines; a young, devoted team, obviously skilled but looking casually relaxed, who combining the Nordic and Asian Cuisine real beautifully was right up my alley!
After a long walk, I came to the restaurant and there was a lot of people outside in the sun and open-air; celebrating with beer and bubbles of course! Even inside in Happolati's Bar, it was crowded. Good sign. The restaurant wasn't that busy though and I found a nice table by the window.
Quickly a waiter approached and when I said that I wanted the big menu with whatever he recommended to drink, he light up with a smile. This was going to be good!
Sake is the natural beverage to start with at Happolati
Starter with Crispy Pigs Ear and Ramson Crème
Already in the presentation of the Sake I understood that this was a person who took food and drink as seriously as I do. Every following presentation of wine was packed with information about the winemaker, region, terroir, grapes...that's something I really enjoy; skilled people! Even if you forget about almost everything you know you can rely on the knowledge and pairings to come to be more or less perfect.
Speaking of perfect. The Kick-Starters of the menu; first a Tartlette with Gari, selected wild herbs and flowers followed by a Crispy Pigs Ear with a tasty Ramson Crème was amazing! Presented in a branch placed on a lined wooden brick, I now also knew that the Happolati Team was nerdy about details! Great!
Scallop with Yuzu and a serving of Whale was the next dishes. I never ate whale before - and actually, I think you should leave them alone. However, you can eat everything at least once. Except for Ape Brains. That's just...gross.
The Scallop was fresh and had that Umami-punch you expected. The Whale the...nah. Not my cup of tea; it has a weird texture reminding a lot of meat that has "over-matured". The herbs "helped" a bit though.
Next dish was an Asparagus and crispy Hake (?) dish that was great with the wine made of one of my favourite grapes - Viognier! Overall, once again; the Sommelier/ Waiter was like a Wine Lexicon! He had so much to say about every wine which made them special to taste!
And wine can be magic! It was a real sunny May Day in Oslo and finding a perfect place by the window can have its Perks when playing around with the light, the sun beams and the flavorfull white wine!
The Magic of White Wine
Crab and Roe Dish at Happolati
Dumpling and Plums
Asian Cuisine is one major Influence on Happolati's Tasting Menu and I got some really flavourful and Tasty dishes following the Seafood part of the menu. All were seasoned just right and served simple. I like that. The first dishes were spectacular and beautiful in their presentations, the "middle" of the menu it's toned down a bit with the visuals which make the guest focus more on the taste, textures and goodness.
Of course, there was another "show piece" coming up!
Lamb Serving at Happolati, Oslo
The Lamb is served and presented on a board with selected Chutneys, Bean Salad and freshly baked bread on a hot plate of stone. Perfectly cooked, seasoned and matched with another wonderful wine.
The portion of Lamb was generous but I didn't plan on leaving anything behind. So I ate all!
Reaching the end of the Tasting Menu; the dessert arrived in a playfully serving in a wooden box (they seem to be in Love with wood at Happolati!) with two different Icecreams, Caramel Pancakes, two different Crumbles and two small squeeze bottles with sauces; Crème Anglais and Dulce de Leche.
You could combine those tastes as you wished - and that is really a fantastic idea - with every combination tasting differently, of course, depending on how you mixed things up!
And also a fun and brilliant way to round up a menu that was packed with great dishes, wonderful flavours, nice techniques, beautiful presentations och fantastic wine pairings! It's just dessert, right? And you just want that sweetness to complete a perfect meal!
The Tasting Menu at Happolati is in my opinion "low priced" to what you experience. I had some three more wines then what I planned for and Sake to start with and I was surprised to get the bill!
For that kind of Dining Experience, I would gladly have paid more! 150 Euro or 170 US Dollars - including Tip (!); Well, that is just very, very much Value for Money!
And Happolati is that kind of Restaurant you want to re-visit in an instant! Completely relaxed, just Fun Dining but still with a professionality in every moment - great work you guys!
Happolati is a 5/5 Spoons Recommendation.