Friday, August 23, 2013

Xich Lo, a Vietnamese Restaurant in Oslo City Center

My wife and I are big fans of the Vietnamese cuisine. We have never been to Vietnam but we have tasted Vietnamese food in both France and Japan and had some nice experiences with it in both countries.

This is why we decided to try Xich Lo as soon as we heard positive comments about it. The restaurant is in Karl Johans gate (so you cannot do more central than this) and is on the 4th floor of a building with Nespresso on the first floor (just some help if you look for it).

Otherwise the restaurant is pretty and quite "classy". We were received at once and followed to the table. Before we even order anything, we get some water (flavored with lemon, orange and some herbs) and when we ordered, to make us wait, we got the following appetizer:

Vietnamese style beef stew - complimentary

It tasted really nice. The Vietnamese taste was rendered by the spices and despite the chili at the top, it wasn't hot. My wife removed the small chili part and had no problems eating it.

As a starter, we shared a "springroll"

Vietnamese Springrolls, 87 NOK

It was actually a combination of 2 fried springrolls (the usual ones) and 1 "fresh" springroll (cut in 2). Both type of rolls tasted good and at least the fresh one was hand made.

My wife ordered a lamb tenderloin with red wine sauce as a main:

Lamb tenderloin with red wine sauce, 257 NOK

It was good but it did not seem traditional Vietnamese to us (we may be wrong though, we are not Vietnamese). As for me, I went for the duck breast a la Xich Lo:

Duck breast a la Xich Lo, 257 NOK

The duck meat was really nice: soft, tasty but not too strong and I really appreciated it. I liked the sauce too but it was spicy and after a while, I couldn't take it anymore. I wasn't particularly impressed by the mushrooms but I may be too demanding about it.

Both dishes came with flavored rice::

Flavored rice, incl in the dish

Overall, we had a nice meal and we are satisfied with it. The prices are a bit high, but this has something to do with the restaurant being right in the heart of Oslo

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mahayana: a Very Good Asian Restaurant in Nationaltheatret

*** Update 14 Nov 2013: new photos at the end of this article ***

There are many Asian restaurants in Nationaltheatret and I have already reviewed two of them: Dinner and Tabibito. My wife wanted to try Mahayana for a long time but as we knew two nice restaurants in the same area already, it took us some time to actually do it. But we don't regret it as this is a nice place.

The decoration is classy, the restaurant is clean, the food tastes good, with the option to eat Japanese or Chinese (maybe even Thai, I don't remember). We actually ordered both Japanese and Chinese food. 

Everything tasted good but I must warn you that Chinese food may be spicy, even if the menu does not mention it. The Japanese dishes should be fine.

Here are a few photos:
Sweet-sour Pork

Chinese style beef in the foreground and sushi in the background ("natural born salmon")

Japanese style beef

Green tea tiramisu

A special mention for the sweet sour pork which is not the common dish we are used to but something particular which was very good. The Japanese-style beef was really good too. I didn't try it but my wife enjoyed her green tea tiramisu a lot.

All in all, a really nice restaurant and probably one of our favorite.

*** update ***

I took some new photos last time we went there. I still like this place very much. However, I now believe that they use the word "mild" in the menu to signify that the dish is spicy (if nothing is written, the dish is not, if the mention "only available mild" or something, it means the dish is a bit spicy). Kind of the opposite of the intent, in my opinion.

Anyway, here are the photos:

"Gu Lou Yuk", sweet sour pork, a bit spicy

"Gyuniku Teriyaki", Japanese style beef

Dinner at Grand Palais

A while ago, I wrote that we had been to a Friday Waffle event at Grand Palais and how I had been disappointed with it (link here). However, Grand Palais is still a nice place to have dinner and I was happy to go there with my family a few months ago.

The service was of course better than last time we were there, with just the small problem that the stroller was not accepted on the side of the table, despite my son being asleep in it and despite the available space for it (it was a sunny day and most customers were sitting outside while we were inside ourselves). But well, rules are rules and if you don't have a stroller, you will be fine.

Here are a few of the pictures I took:
A Starter

A Salad

A Main Course (meat)

We were three people and we took 2 starters and 3 main dishes (including a salad). Everything was good, especially the lamb shank (last picture), with is small vegetables and delicate sauce.

I also liked the fact that the menu was featuring some "local specialties" so that people visiting Norway would easily find what to taste in priority.

The menu is changing according to the season, so you will probably not have the same choice as we did, but all in all this is a good place to have dinner and I recommend it.