Pjoltergeist My Favorite Restaurant in Oslo

Pjoltergeist is my favorite restaurant in Oslo, without comparison, and has been since the very first day they opened. Icelandic ingredients combined with Asian flavors and style of presentation in a lovely fusion, designed by star chef Atly Mar Yngvason. Former sous chef at one Michelin star restaurant Ylajali in Oslo, he now does exactly what he wants in the kitchen. The food is apparently slapped on the plate haphazardly, and yet it looks f*cking delicious. Almost every dish rolled out from this kitchen is a treat for your senses; smell, taste & looks. This is my no. 1 favorite restaurant in Oslo, and also a top choice for chef’s late night hangout.

Welcome to Pjoltergeist. No kids, no dogs, no flash, no credit cards. Yippee ki-yay, m*therf*cker!
Welcome to Pjoltergeist. No kids, no dogs, no flash, no credit cards. Yippee ki-yay, m*therf*cker!

I love Pjoltergeist because of the food, but also the people who run it. The owners Sverre and Susanne, or their trusted comrade Tore Kristian, behind the bar will always serve you excellent wines, and if you visit often enough they remember your preferences too. The atmosphere at Pjoltergeist is unique. I know of no other places like it. Originally a Hell’s Angels bar, the interior has only slightly changed. Dimmed light, dark wooden furniture, leather cushions, non-stop hip-hop playing over the speakers. I consider it my second home.

Atli to the right is the head chef. His trusted partner in crime Lars to the right
Atli to the right is the head chef. His trusted partner in crime Lars to the right
Pét nat de Conti – funky natural bubbles! Click on the picture to read more on this wine at Vinstudinen's blog.
Pét nat de Conti – funky natural bubbles! Click on the picture to read more on this wine at Vinstudinen’s blog.

The name Pjoltergeist is a mix of the words “pjolter” and “poltergeist”. A pjolter is a weird Norwegian word for a cheap drink; originally whisky and soda water. You’ll find a separate menu for their upgraded pjolters in the bar. Poltergeist is a noisy kind of ghost or supernatural spirit, which sort of fits the ambience here. The reason why I keep returning to Pjoltergeist, as often as I can, is because the menu changes and the doors are always open. There are some classics on the menu, of course, but almost every day you will find something new. The kitchen, as well as the wine serving, is open until 00.30 every Tuesday to Saturday. Despite a rising popularity, and a limited amounts of seats, I have yet to experience not finding a space to sit at Pjoltergeist.

A typical pjolter at Pjoltergeist
A typical pjolter at Pjoltergeist
The legendary Moomin plates
The legendary Moomin plates
The floor decorations inbetween the restaurant and kitchen
The floor decorations inbetween the restaurant and kitchen

If you book a table you commit to the tasting menu. It is a non-existing menu – you get what the kitchen wants to serve you. Typically it will be a 10-course meal with one or two snacks, four to five starters, one or two main dishes and a dessert. As for wine, I always ask them to serve me what they want. You’ll get to taste the wine first to see if you like it, but it’s always high quality. Alternatively you just drop by and sit in the bar (or at an available table). That is what I usually do. Remarkably enough, there seems to always be a vacant seat.

THE BAR MENU

Pjoltergeist is closed for two months during summer. Inhumane, in my opinion, and thus; once they opened again I couldn’t help myself to go here every night. Post summer 2015 I went to Pjoltergeist four out of five days the opening week. The results are as follows.

Pimientos de Padron! A classic on the Pjoltergeist snack menu
Pimientos de Padron! A classic on the Pjoltergeist snack menu
Takoyaki! A Japanese snack made minced octopus which is battered and fried into small balls. Topped with bonito flakes, which are shavings of dried, fermented, and smoked tuna. The heat from the takoyaki balls makes the waffer thin bonito flakes move like they're alive.
Takoyaki! A Japanese snack made minced octopus which is battered and fried into small balls. Topped with bonito flakes, which are shavings of dried, fermented, and smoked tuna. The heat from the takoyaki balls makes the waffer thin bonito flakes move like they’re alive.
"Pil Pil" shrimps in oil and herbs, with steambuns to dip in. F*ck that's delicious!
“Pil Pil” shrimps in oil and herbs, with steambuns to dip in. F*ck that’s delicious!
2013 Intellego 'Elementis' Skin Contact, Swartland, South Africa. A floral and fruity white wine with hints of spicy ginger
2013 Intellego ‘Elementis’ Skin Contact, Swartland, South Africa. A floral and fruity white wine with hints of spicy ginger
Lightly seared whale with spinach, lettuce stalks, sour cream, soy sauce and sesame seeds. The best whale I've ever had
Lightly seared whale with spinach, lettuce stalks, sour cream, soy sauce and sesame seeds. The best whale I’ve ever had
A classic on the bar menu since day one; steambuns with kimchi and a fried "burger" of shifting meats.
A classic on the bar menu since day one; steambuns with kimchi and a fried “burger” of shifting meats.
Deep fried sardines with a salad of fennel, coriander and chili. Chili mayo. Squeeze some lemon over and dig in!
Deep fried sardines with a salad of fennel, coriander and chili. Chili mayo. Squeeze some lemon over and dig in!
Ribs are best eaten with gloves
Ribs are best eaten with gloves
The Kobe beef in the kitchen, before processing. Check that fat marbling!
The Kobe beef in the kitchen, before processing. Check that fat marbling!
Kobe beef, lightly seared. So soft that it melts in your mouth and at the same time punches you with a rich umami flavor. Served with sticky rice, sugar snaps, soy sauce and salt.
Kobe beef, lightly seared. So soft that it melts in your mouth and at the same time punches you with a rich umami flavor. Served with sticky rice, sugar snaps, soy sauce and salt.
Mussels with chanterelles and spring onions, so simple and incredibly tasty
Mussels with chanterelles and spring onions, so simple and incredibly tasty
Gut Oggau, Mechthild Weiss, Neusiedlersee, Austria. Crispy and fruity, taste of plum and apples
Gut Oggau, Mechthild Weiss, Neusiedlersee, Austria. Crispy and fruity, taste of plum and apples
Croquetttes of ox tail, with a chili mayo dip and a salad infused with Västerbotten cheese, peanuts and insane amounts of flavor and yumminess!
Croquetttes of ox tail, with a chili mayo dip and a salad infused with Västerbotten cheese, peanuts and insane amounts of flavor and yumminess!
"Poor man's crayfish", aka lobster... in a butter garlic & tarragon sauce with chives and steambuns and lime on the side. Shut up and take my money!
“Poor man’s crayfish”, aka lobster… in a butter garlic & tarragon sauce with chives and steambuns and lime on the side. Shut up and take my money!
Julian Haart, Goldtröpfchen Spätlese 2013. I love this wine. Perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. Subtle taste of lemon and pineapple
Julian Haart, Goldtröpfchen Spätlese 2013. I love this wine. Perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. Subtle taste of lemon and pineapple
A dessert of milk chocolate cream, blueberry sorbet, strawberries, raspberries, black currants, wood sorrel and tiny crispy financier cakes with blueberry. A fresh, acidic and very well balanced dessert. The chocolate gives it the fat and creaminess it needs
A dessert of milk chocolate cream, blueberry sorbet, strawberries, raspberries, black currants, wood sorrel and tiny crispy financier cakes with blueberry. A fresh, acidic and very well balanced dessert. The chocolate gives it the fat and creaminess it needs
A homemade liqueur of black currants, sugar and vodka
A homemade liqueur of black currants, sugar and vodka

THE TASTING MENU

Booking a table means that you want the full treat. The price tag is ridcioulously low, though, with a lousy 750 NOK per person. The amount of food you get, and the quality of each dish, makes it the best value for money tasting menu in Oslo, in my opinion. Just sit back and relax, while Atli brings out one power punching dish after the other.

Snack to start the meal; puffed crispy pork cracklings with a bacon mayo dip
Snack to start the meal; puffed crispy pork cracklings with a bacon mayo dip
Keller Riesling "Limestone" 2014. Intense tropical fruit flavors, high acidity and nice residual sweetness that I love
Keller Riesling “Limestone” 2014. Intense tropical fruit flavors, high acidity and nice residual sweetness that I love
Baked pickled onion with shaved reindeer heart, Røros sour cream and chives
Baked pickled onion with shaved reindeer heart, Røros sour cream and chives
Grilled tomatoes from Brimse gård with red onion and avruga & söl
Grilled tomatoes from Brimse gård with red onion and avruga & söl
Cold fermented vegetable soup. A classic that has been on the menu since opening day.
Cold fermented vegetable soup. A classic that has been on the menu since opening day.
Lobster with shrimp salsa, grilled celeriac and padron peppers
Lobster with shrimp salsa, grilled celeriac and padron peppers
Sweetbread with chanterelles! Looks a bit dull on the plate, but super rich in flavors!
Sweetbread with chanterelles! Looks a bit dull on the plate, but super rich in flavors!
Breast of duck with cauliflower and broccoli in a schezuan pepper sauce
Breast of duck with cauliflower and broccoli in a schezuan pepper sauce
An insanely flavor rich dessert with white chocolate cream with lemon zest, white chocolate nemesis, caramelized white chocolate, forest berry sorbet, blueberries and raspberries
An insanely flavor rich dessert with white chocolate cream with lemon zest, white chocolate nemesis, caramelized white chocolate, forest berry sorbet, blueberries and raspberries
Coffee from Supreme Roastworks. Also served in Moomin cups
Coffee from Supreme Roastworks. Also served in Moomin cups

Have you been to Pjoltergeist? What is your favorite restaurant in Oslo? Please leave a comment below.

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