It was a cold day in Oslo, the kind that signals the turn of the season. Winter is on it's way and we shall be forced to reside indoors again despite society at large having reverted to pre-covid routines. I had a morning coffee and headed to Mathallen when 90% of the towns residents were waking up to bastard hangovers. Carne Asada taco's were ordered, a spot by a window secured and the usual faffings on phones done whilst waiting.
My server was agreeable, the ordering process smooth, the prices steep considering (in retrospect) the size of the taco's, but if they delivered on flavour you'd forgive them.
Within six minutes a plate was delivered containing two miniscule taco's perched atop wax paper. Blue corn tortilla, some grey-ish carne (minus any charr), a few specks of leeks, radishes and coriander and a splodge of salsa. They looked the part, but after sinking my teeth into them I was left feeling underwhelmed. Nothing popped. There was no excitement here, nothing to make you rush in for the second bite despite not having finished masticating. Everything was flat, yes, even the coriander.
I am well aware that procuring good herbs in Scandinavia can be challenging, but the meat had no taste of marinade and lacked any caramelisation or colour, the salsa was slightly spicy but had a muddled flavour profile. The tortilla, however, was above average for Norway.
I'll admit, it hurt paying the bill. Not because of the price, but because of the value for money. It was more like a starter, and yet not even a very good one. As I mentioned, i've been told they swing wildly from mediocre to metaphysical, so i'll save my full judgement for another time, but you're only as good as you are on your day and when you're asking those prices, you better deliver on product.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored by the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"