Another serious contender on the city’s New Nordic food scene, Bokbacka sits pretty in Oslo’s poshest shopping district. It takes its name from the Swedish farm where Chef (and Noma alum) Simon Weinberg grew up and offers a menu inspired by his childhood memories. Previously known for wacky bonsai presentations and indoor picnics, Bokbacka seems to have matured lately, though not without losing its knack for flavor and stunning presentations.
Like a short-term rental apartment in Stockholm, the interior is light and breezy with blonde wood and tiles, contrasted with disconcertingly dark Astrid Lindgren-inspired paintings.
After a glass of English sparkling wine, not Champagne, but grown on the same type of soil, with the same grapes, and in the same climate that Champagne experienced 20 or 30 years ago, our meal opens with langoustine kakigori, or Japanese-style shaved ice. The ethereal ice melts on the tongue and disappears, leaving behind a briny oceanic kiss. Lumpfish roe, tender egg whites and "tjukkmjølk" (fermented milk from Røros) is equally spectacular; subtly and brilliantly seasoned with caraway and lovage, two aromas that often overpower all others, but work magic here. The obligatory sourdough bread service is baked with local grains and accompanied by whipped butter that tries hard to soften the blow of the overly salty crust. Duck hearts are beautifully pink, with al dente peas, asparagus, and elm seeds, an unabashed love letter to spring. The meal rounds off with a pleasantly portly bread pudding with sour cream and white chocolate, it manages to be both rich and refreshing. Throughout the meal we are served a succession of interesting, whimsical wines, with an enthusiastic if somewhat programmed presentation by our friendly waiter.
Published January 2020