Naturally, in weather like this, one tends to want to eat something fresh and light. So it is that we find ourselves at the Oslo Harbour in the shadow of the medieval Akershus Castle on our way to Solsiden restaurant for some of their famed Norwegian seafood.
Solsiden (Norwegian for "The Sunny Side") is open for just 4 months of the year from May to September. The restaurant has a large and airy indoor dining room with huge windows that are left open to the breeze to reveal magnificent views over Oslo Fjord. There is also an outdoor terrace which serves a reduced menu. If you stay late enough Solsiden is one of the best places to see the sunsets over Oslo harbour.
|View of Oslo Fjord from the restaurant|
Appropriately, given the restaurant's location on the shores of the Oslo Fjord, it serves only seafood. And what seafood it is! I truly believe that Norway possesses some of the best seafood in the world. But sadly it is all too often overlooked for the processed junk that unfortunately constitutes more and more of the typical Norwegian diet. Fortunately, Solsiden "gets it" - fantastically fresh seafood, cooked and served simply - always a winning formula in my book. Their menu is a seafood lovers dream - an à la carte menu comprising of things like scallops, lobster, turbot and trout, and they also have changing daily three- and seven-course menus.
Solsiden's specialty though is their shellfish platter. A huge plate of towering shellfish that includes oysters, scallops, crayfish, brown crab, mussels, prawns, langoustines, king crab, and lobster. Served over ice with plenty of lemon wedges - a veritable feast of crustacea for two. Crazily we didn't order this (I couldn't get Mrs Nibbler to partake, but next time) but you can see pictures of it here and here, truly amazing.
Instead, I opted for turbot, which came pan-fired with potato and horseradish purée, sauteed carrots and green beans, and creamed lobster sauce. Turbot is one of my favourite fish - it's the Rolls-Royce of the seafood world. Here, it was perfectly cooked; firm white flesh that tasted clean and fresh with a velvety and rich lobster sauce. The mashed potatoes accompanying it were good too; smooth and buttery with a nice pepperiness added by the horseradish. This was all washed down with some fine cold Paul Prieur & Fils Sancerre (interestingly the restaurant also has it own Chablis: Cuvée Solsiden).
Mrs Nibbler opted for a main course from the daily specials board - spotted wolffish (a terrifyingly primitive looking fish that can grow to over 6ft, which lives in these cold northern waters) that came with pommes purée, a lobster reduction, and a radish and baby spinach salad. She kindly let me have a bite and I found the lean pearly white fish to be firm with a mild, sweet flavour, almost like lobster. It was really delicious.
My only complaint was one of portioning - the balance of the dishes seemed to lie to heavily toward the (cheaper) non-fish accompaniments. Comically, Mrs Nibbler's wolffish seemed to be hidden under the salad. Now, Mrs Nibbler is quite fond of her veg and liked the portioning as it was in contrast to many restaurants we've been to where something like the pommes purée would often be a tiny smear at one end of the plate. However, either a larger portion of fish or less veg is definitely needed, especially as these mains were around £30 each.
|Fried turbot with potato and horseradish purée, creamed lobster sauce|
|Steamed mussels with parsley, white wine, and garlic|
|Lobster with mayo and salad|
|Spot the Spotted Wolffish|
|View from our table|
0150 Oslo, Norway
Tel: +47 22 33 36 30