Kamai is a new Japanese & Peruvian restaurant with a Nordic style to the food. It is located in Korsgata in the southern part of Grünerløkka, in the old venue of Kolonihagen. The café facing the street offers bao and sushi to eat or take away. The actual restaurant of Kamai is in the backyard. The fusion of Japanese and Peruvian food is called Nikkei. According to the restaurant, they are not limiting themselves to this style, however, and with the Nordic twist, it certainly isn’t classic Nikkei food.
By chance, I noticed the café of Kamai on their first day of opening. It happened to be just around the corner from another favorite hangout of mine: Territoriet. We went inside to check the menu, which featured sushi, baos, and something called pizza salads. Fortunately, the latter has later been removed from the menu.
Kamai Sushi & Bao
Kamai is actually the latest installment of Jonathan sushi, but they chose a new name to reflect a different concept. I haven’t tested the sushi yet, but it should be decent quality considering who runs the shop. We tested the baos and they were great! I would say they are second only to Hitchhiker and Pjoltergeist in Oslo.
Less than a week after Kamai café opened, I bumped into Christer Magnusson at Torggata Botaniske. He was the former bar manager of Piscoteket and told me he was now general manager of Kamai. Furthermore, he could reveal that the restaurant was opening shortly in the backyard. Christer was surprised that people had already discovered the bao shop since they had done no marketing thus far. I got an invitation to a test night of the restaurant the following week.
Halvor Woll Sørlie, the former sous chef at Aymara, is head chef of Kamai. He is an exceptionally skilled chef, which impressed me a lot the first time I tasted his cooking. Andre Berberan, who some might remember as the awesome bartender at Bon Lio, is bar manager and head sommelier. A fantastic character, a great guy and extremely knowledgeable about wines as well as cocktails. You should check out the recipes he shared with my friends over at Rosemary & the Deerhunters.
The menu gives you three options. The 4-course Eat & Njoy at NOK 395, the full Kaiseki Menu to get the proper Kamai experience at NOK 715, and à la carte dishes priced between NOK 95 and NOK 149. We had the Kaiseki menu, which is a Japanese term for a multi-course haute-cuisine meal, where each dish is small and artistic. If you go for the more reasonable menu you get a selection from the big one, and the à la carte is basically a free choice from the Kaiseki menu.
The food at Kamai was almost too perfect. Each dish was so balanced in textures and flavors. Fat and acidity, salt and sweet, crispy and soft. To the extent that it became almost predictable. I missed a dish or two in between that was simpler and more playful, like the meal I had at restaurant Taller. We shared our opinions with the chef, and Halvor told us that he’s looking forward to being even more creative as he settles in his role and the new kitchen. Kamai is a restaurant I’m excited to return to.
The restaurant at Kamai actually consists of four parts. The dining hall and a Chambre Séparée upstairs, and a big table and the minibar downstairs. The bar is to the right as you enter. You can go there for a drink without dining in the restaurant. It is a beautiful bar, which I can imagine will have a nice vibe to it once people start using this place.
Have you been to Kamai yet? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.
This was a sponsored invitation by Kamai. The restaurant had no influence on the content of this article, there is no form of cooperation between us, I was not obliged to publish anything, and I received no monetary payment.