da lat cafe - oslo, norway
Rating: 7 / 10
I have written at length over the years about the trials and tribulations of finding a consistently good bowl of Pho in Oslo.
Pho Mai used to be good, Sea Sushi is the best at the moment but even they have been prone to a couple of watered-down moments, Far East has decent Pho but is expensive and the portion is far too large. And then comes Da Lat.
A spot I used to remember for the smell of the restaurant rather than the the taste of the food, that honestly kept me away for almost a decade.
It seems they cleaned up their act (pun intended) and the restaurant was sans-odour the last time I visited, well, missing the wet-dog smell anyway. As far as the Pho went, it was the same as I remembered, almost great.
Bowl came a'balancing, and I sipped the broth clean before pouring and tearing in condiments and improvements. It was better than I remembered, but also had that over-sweet taste that I wasn't the biggest fan of. Too much cinnamon or star anise tilting the balance. The beef was rather dry and chewy, the meatball standard and the noodles were as expected.
Garnishes aside, since they generally are raw ingredients bought in, the chili garlic paste had a pleasant kick, and added much needed tempering of the sweetness.
At a stretch I'd eat there again if downtown and dying for some noodle soup, but there are definitely better options within a couple of blocks so I doubt i'll frequent their little place again. Perhaps in another 10 years to see if miracles have occured.
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.
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"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"