Review: Bass (2016) Natural Wine Bar With Sharing Dishes

At the top of Grünerløkka in Oslo, you find Bass – a newly-opened natural wine bar. It’s located between Birkelunden (a park) and the hipster coffee shop Supreme Roastworks. According to themselves, they have no food concept, it’s just a natural wine bar with sharing dishes. It seems to be a trend these days, to not want to limit yourself by having a clear concept. We just visited the restaurant Anarki in Copenhagen, which – as the name indicates – have the same idea. They say they want to draw inspiration from the entire world and not limit themselves to fit into a specific genre. Another example in Copenhagen is Eldorado that makes food influenced by all sorts of cuisines.

Mackerel, pickled cucumbers, and mustard seeds. You have to eat the crispy skin, it really is the best part.
Mackerel, pickled cucumbers, and mustard seeds. You have to eat the crispy skin, it really is the best part.

Reviewed on the 17th of May

Bass had just opened a week ago and the first available day for us to test was on the 17th of May – Norway’s national day! Normally, I wouldn’t write about a restaurant experience from such a day, because it can be really busy and might not reflect the true potential of the kitchen. However, since we had such a great meal with delicious wines, I see no point in not telling the story. True to the tradition we started the day at Territoriet. Following the same procedure as last year, they served breakfast in the morning. There were toast and a self-service waffle station. Due to Norwegian alcohol legislation, we weren’t allowed to drink anything until 12:00 am. I was first in line, and at noon, I asked for four beers and a bottle of Champagne. The celebration continued with sausages topped with homemade pickled gherkins and crispy onions and, of course, the main attraction: liquid nitrogen ice cream!

Bass on the 17th of May.
Bass on the 17th of May.
Asparagus and goat cheese cream with brown butter and hazelnuts. A great dish!
Asparagus and goat cheese cream with brown butter and hazelnuts. A great dish!

Natural Wine Bar With Sharing Dishes

Fast forward a few hours and we started to get hungry for some proper food and walked the ten blocks north to Bass. We entered the bright venue, which is lit up by big lamps and natural sunlight that reflect in the light-colored concrete and wooden walls. I quickly scanned the wine list and to my great pleasure, I found some juicy natural wines from one of my favorite importers in Norway: Vin John. The particular producer La Sorga has wines with crazy names and labels, but most importantly, the content of the bottle is incredibly pleasing to the palate.

Since we were six people we asked for a taste of everything on the menu. Our waiter seemed pleased with this solution and promised us a few plates of each item to share. All of the dishes consisted of about four to five ingredients and the presentations were super simple in small, deep, white bowls. I wouldn’t have skipped anything on the menu, but some of the dishes were bigger highlights than others, obviously. The asparagus with goat cheese cream was a favorite. It was topped with heavenly brown butter and roasted hazelnuts. The Tartar Cesar was another great dish with tartare underneath and a light version of a Ceasar salad on top.

I’d easily return to Bass for another bite of the juicy chicken nuggets with black bean mayo, or the ribs with rhubarb – fatty and acidic at the same time! And that’s the great thing about Bass Oslo, you can easily go back just to share a few plates of food and a bottle of wine in the bar. I suspect it will be a hangout we’ll frequent often.

Salt, sweet, and umami in a great combination. I love brown butter, and the hazelnuts gave it a roasted aroma and a nice crunch.
Salt, sweet, and umami in a great combination. I love brown butter, and the hazelnuts gave it a roasted aroma and a nice crunch.
Halibut carpaccio.
Halibut carpaccio.
The menu at Bass in Oslo.
The menu at Bass in Oslo.
La Sorga "Don Quirotte" – a delicious pétillant naturel.
La Sorga “Don Quirotte” – a delicious pétillant naturel.
A "pet nat" or sparkling wine with no additives at all, not even sulfur.
A “pet nat” or sparkling wine with no additives at all, not even sulfur.
The interior design at Bass in Oslo.
The interior design at Bass in Oslo.
Cured duck and pickled fennel
Cured duck and pickled fennel
La Sorga "Sorgasme" with an X-rated label.
La Sorga “Sorgasme” with an X-rated label.
Tartar Cesar. Tartare underneath, with a delicate version of the Caesar salad on top.
Tartar Cesar. Tartare underneath, with a delicate version of the Caesar salad on top.
Fried chicken with black bean mayo. Damn this was juicy and delicious!
Fried chicken with black bean mayo. Damn this was juicy and delicious!
Happy 17th of May!
Happy 17th of May!
Ribs and rhubarb! A great name for a dish and it tastes as good as it sounds. Tender, fatty meat underneath, and just the right amount of acidity from the rhubarb on top.
Ribs and rhubarb! A great name for a dish and it tastes as good as it sounds. Tender, fatty meat underneath, and just the right amount of acidity from the rhubarb on top.
Lime & meringue tart.
Lime & meringue tart.
Licorice parfait & cherry.
Licorice parfait & cherry.
Happy 17th of May! We celebrated with this "pet nat."
Happy 17th of May! We celebrated with this “pet nat.”

Have you checked out Bass Oslo yet? Please share your experience below.

Anders Husa

Anders Husa and Kaitlin Orr are food & travel bloggers and creative content creators. From their base in Copenhagen, they operate the largest and most influential restaurant-focused travel blog in Scandinavia.

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