Wednesday, 9 November 2016

EATING VEGAN IN OSLO | NORWAY


Ben and I popped over to the country of my ancestors for four days last week and, as with Sweden, I was extremely impressed with what Norway had to offer in terms of vegan food. Sweden was slightly better for snacking in the convenience stores, however, the vegan restaurants were equally as amazing. 

Oh my gracious, goodness, almighty-me. The food in this place was nothing less than exquisite. Ben chose the aubergine steak for a main, and I got the potato gratin - we halved both so we got to try a bit of everything. The potato gratin tasted like Spanish tortilla and it was served with a yellow curry sauce and vegetables including cauliflower and others. The aubergine had a steak-like texture and was served with a pickle sauce and root veg. Ben and I literally couldn't believe our luck when we were eating these dishes. There was nothing on either plate that didn't belong there and all of the flavours complemented each other so well. 



We originally went there for the desserts as it is a plant-based french patisserie-style cafe too. Ben couldn't decide on just one dessert so we both chose the hazelnut cake and he got an oreo mini-roll which we both shared. These cakes were just so delicious, without the icky mucus aftermath feeling that cows milk desserts will give you. They both had chocolate mousse in, a gooey fudge-like centre and were served with forest fruits and a fruit coulis. They were seriously the most amazing desserts I have ever tried, prior and post veganism. In hindsight, I really wish we had chosen the white chocolate soup instead of one of the hazelnut desserts because it sounded delicious. 



This restaurant is on the pricier side, even for Oslo. We paid about eleven pounds per dessert (which Ben was convinced were only £3.50 each for no apparent reason, haha. Otherwise we would have just gone for one dessert each) and the mains were roughly £20.00 each. Ben got a cup of tea and I drank water; but, had we been drinking, the bill would have flown through the roof and back to England. Oslo is too expensive for alcohol so I suggest if you're going or thinking of it, either don't drink or buy some alcohol in the duty-free section on your way out. 

One last thought on this restaurant is that it is a bit too try-hard in my opinion. It's got great food for sure, but the waitresses kept individually coming up to us in order to ask the same questions and at one point tried to bring over the same item we had already received. I can tell that the poor girls have had some manager telling them to be attentive and probably given them some chat in how to do so like my past retail managers had tried to do with me. However, it came across as false/forced and it made us feel a bit uneasy. The toilets were very sweet with pebbles in the sink and flannel hand towels also, but, again I feel it did not fit. The restaurant was trendy yet cold, and also named a cafe, so I feel a more relaxed approach could gain them a lot more returning customers. 

The what I would call 'attempted unnatural posh-ness' about this restaurant doesn't take away from the fact that the food is of five-star quality and it is most definitely worth popping in as you are guaranteed to have a wonderful vegan culinary adventure!


So, in the past I have lived, worked and studied in Spain and my dad owned a house there from when I was nine years old so I spent a lot of time there too. My dad has always owned properties by the sea too so fresh seafood was a huge part of my diet growing up and although I would never, ever, ever harm another being, or eat fish again, I did use to enjoy the taste and texture of langoustines. So here I found the answer - tofu 'Shrimp'. 

I chose the shrimp rolls for Ben and I to share as a starter and we both thoroughly enjoyed them. They had mint, salad leaves, noodles and bean sprouts inside with the 'shrimp' and were served with a sweet chili dipping sauce. For the main, I chose the 'shrimp salad', which came with the battered tofu shrimps, a wonderful Asian sauce, thrice rice and stir fried vegetables. Ben got the BBQ tofu (basically the vegan version of southern fried chicken), with chips and spring rolls. 

We were expecting more of a sit-down restaurant, but it was just stalls and high tables, which was fine. The staff seemed so sweet and kind and the prices were decent. The prices were fair and the whole bill came to about thirty pounds for everything. 

The staff here were all so cute and friendly. Ben and I did the same with the mains and split them. So we got a buckwheat burger (which is made of buckwheat - in case you wish to ask the same question as Ben, haha) and the black bean burger. They were served with salad, vegan alioli, and seasoned purple and sweet potato wedges. These meals were to die for, and we had a view out on the snowy river and bridge, which was just perfect. It sounded like the least romantic place we visited but it was actually the cutest, most romantic spot (after the cabin in the forest).



We got pudding here and I literally died and went to heaven. We chose two raw cakes - one strawberry cheesecake and one apple pie. The strawberry cheesecake had quite a sharp topping so it wasn't my favourite of the two, however, it was absolutely beautifully made and well-done. The apple pie dessert was made with apple, cinnamon, pumpkin, dates, cashews and something that made it super smooth and fluffy in consistency (my guess would be avocado). It was nothing less than amazing. We got two soya hot chocolates with soya whipped cream and I asked them to put some peppermint in there too; It was just the perfect end to a beautiful day. 



The prices here were typical of Oslo, so not cheap. Again, alcohol was around £45.00 for one bottle of wine so you're better off if you're not a drinker. The bill came to about £65.00 in total, so not cheap, however well worth it as we left well-fed with truly tantalised taste buds. 

This loving hut was more of a sit-down restaurant than the other one. Again, the staff were friendly and warm. I got the BBQ tofu that Ben had chosen before and Ben chose the Pizza. He seemed to adore it, it had smoked 'sausage', lots of vegan cheese, and lots of vegetables. 



Unfortunately, they were all sold out of cakes, so we did not get a pudding or another refreshment. We did however, have a lovely chat and giggle in here as the atmosphere was friendly, fun and calm. The prices were decent for Oslo and we didn't spend much anyway as again we drank water and didn't end up getting desserts. 

Snacking
Whoever says it is hard to snack on the go as a vegan, is either a liar or inexperienced. The seven-eleven stores in Oslo all stock fruit, packs of nuts, raw bars, and they do a hot tofu noodle pot too that is vegan. I personally didn't get one as I didn't like the 'chicken-like' texture of the tofu, but Ben enjoyed it. Personally, I'm not a fan of mock meats that taste too much like their carnivorous counterparts, so whenever any of them come along, someone is always welcome to have mine! 

We got biscuits and had herbal tea quite a lot back at the hostel. Speaking of tea, we also got a cup of tea in a log cabin restaurant in the forest in the mountains - five-minute walk from Frognerseteren station. It was such a lovely place to visit, although they didn't have one thing that was edible for vegans. We brought sandwiches out that day anyway, as we wanted to hike in the mountains, so we just enjoyed those on the train after a warming cuppa' next to the fire in the log cabin restaurant itself. 

One evening we also had a lovely little nibbles and card games session back in the hostel. We bought olives, peanuts, tomatoes and gherkins from a local Asian foods shop and it was dreamy.



I have to stress how much I absolutely adore having a vegan boyfriend. Ben would be the man for me anyway but the fact he is vegan too makes our lives so much more enjoyable and means I have even more love and respect for him. I can't imagine ever dating someone who ate meat now, or even animal products (not that I can imagine dating anyone else now anyway), but it's seriously something I am so, so, so grateful for. I love having a boyfriend to share these cruelty-free, delicious, vegan adventures with. After all, veganism is a lifestyle and what better thing than to share your lifestyle of choice with someone you love! 


Grateful heart, Happy soul. :-)

Peace out potatoes xo
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