As we rush inside to escape a sudden downpour of spring rain, we’re enveloped by a blanket of good vibes, appetizing aromas and happy sounds that transport us far from the habitual humdrum. The staff at Le Benjamin greets us with sincerity as we’re ushered to our seats and left to salivate over the menu and the cheese selection on display.
We’re offered a decent glass of wine, but when the astute waiter realizes we’re interested in more than just common plonk he quickly produces a Chenin Blanc whose slight salinity and powerful acidity pairs well with the Alsatian-leaning bacon tarte flambée, a thin yet assertive and Gruyère-heavy pizza-like thing with thin slices of rich bacon. Thank God for the tea towel-sized napkins we’re equipped with.
They come in handy again when the two whole Norwegian langoustines arrive, split down the middle, grilled and served with browned butter. This is messy-toothsome, finger-licking food. A fresh and intense white Burgundy cleans the palate. The aforementioned napkin is ready for a boil wash. A little pause is advisable at this point. Why not check out the impressive wine list.
In spring, Le Benjamin serves epic sweetbreads with seasonal new vegetables in a morel and pea sauce, it’s a famed dish that countless Oslo gourmands keep on their annual bucket list. We enjoy them with a soft and moreish Pinot Noir from Bourgogne.
Le Benjamin is an Oslo institution and a must for any food lover––Francophile or not. Husband and wife team and owners Magdalena Rosenblad and Ove Andre Jakobsen named it after their kid, it’s unequivocally a place built with love and attention. Naturally, they offer a children's menu.
Published January 2020