yatai - oslo, norway
Rating: 2 / 10
I must admit, it's been over 15 years since I had two successive lunches in the space of an hour. That bashful memory is shrouded in the endurance of stomach cramps for going on two hours after foolishly thinking eating another steak moments after finishing the first one was smart. It wasn't.
Being a profligate ramen hunter, two fellow food enthusiasts and I have formed an unofficial eating club; testing and tasting the latest additions to the Oslo culinary scene.
Scepticism washed across my face upon seeing the location. This smelled of yuppie investment money. Happy to be wrong, we walked in and manged to interrupt the chef about to start what looked like a three-course lunch. The poor bugger was whisked away from his enjoyment and sent to the kitchen to prepare ours.
First out was a vegan sandwich served to my esteemed lunch-partner. The look on his face told a story of betrayal and loss. Next out was the ramen. I was glad I wasn't the only one eating it, because I needed a sounding board for the utter banality of this sacrilege.
In the wisps of air collecting behind me I distinctly heard the chef mentioning to two new customers that the ramen takes the most time because it must be served "piping hot". There are icebergs floating off Newfoundland that have experienced warmer climates than the contents of this bowl. Apart from the initial impression of extreme hesitation, the bowl offered up no charms with which to bend minds and alter perceptions. This was a magically mediocre ramen. Without dissecting it with surgical precision, i'll go as far as mentioning the cold soup, the buckwheat noodles, the huge chunks of spring onion, the bland and boring pork, the salty egg and the introduction of red pickled objects that served no purpose at all.
In this case we waited until the chef had exited the room to carry out some dirty dishes, before quickly grabbing our jackets and leaving without the indignation of being put in a situation where you are either forced to lie and say it was good, or be honest and ruin his day.
With mouths tasting of underachievement we walked straight over to Fredensborgveien, ready for our second lunch in the space of an hour, and ordered vegan Pho at the wonderful little gem: EatHappy.
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"