Rating: 8 / 10
During my near decade long tenure in the city of gradual improvement, a severly lacking addition to the culinary scene was a decent brunch spot. Ultimately, the Nighthawk failed, and a smattering of other places sprung up and just as quickly sprung down. Taking their cues from the mothership behemoth "MAEMO", and qualifying as a bonafide sister restaurant, The Vandelay, located in the burgeoning foodie scene down at Barcode, opened to month-long table waits and much fanfare.
Admittedly, not an official "Brunch" spot, they do serve an affordable breakfast for early risers, and a mean cheeseburger (or so I'm told).
Grappling free from my forest abode, I ventured into the scary big city, joining a friend on our first taste of this new treasure. Immediately upon entering the room you're hit with the high ceilings and permeance of light. Though not shimmeringly bright like the inside of a furnace, it plays nicely with the decorations and overall ambiance.
A waiter greeted us in a non-pretentious way and showed us to our table. He then quickly explained some details and retreated to allow us time to temper and take in. Sensing we were ready he returned, took our order, recommended a wine and left in that gloriously helpful but not cloying way. Tick 1.
The luxury of being two is that you can order a few different things and share, and share we did. The pickled cucumbers were tart and refreshing, the freshly picked chanterelles with blistered corn downright moorish and the steak tartare lacking a touch of acid, but otherwise good. You could see from the moment they laid the steak down that it was cooked rare, and the quality of the meat didn't let it down. It was like butter.
The corn was the star of the show, spotted black in parts adding that delightful smokiness that just bounced off the rich chanterelles plundered from nearby forest floors. My friend complimented the wine also.
Moments after pushing away the final clean plate, the waiter popped over to see how we were, shuffled off to print out the cheque, re-appeared cheery and collected his payment and wished us a good day. I cannot think of a single thing to fault the service, it was polite, friendly and not constantly fussing around making you feel like a spoilt child. For the prices, the food was superb value and every dish shone in it's own way.
If The Vandelay survives the Covid 19 crisis, I rest assured that this place will build on it's strong foundations and be a homestay in the Oslo culinary scene for years to come.
All 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 in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"