If you love caviar, vodka, and fine fun dining that breaks all the rules, you’re in luck – Punk Royale is opening in Oslo. Chef/owner Joakim Almqvist is the man behind the raunchy restaurant group, which originally opened in Stockholm in 2015 and added a second location in Copenhagen in 2018. The Oslo outpost will complete the holy trinity of the Punk Royale restaurants in Scandinavia. The restaurant is set to open in October in the Frogner neighborhood of Oslo, in the former venue of Hai Pai on Frognerveien 5.
Looking for more great spots for food and drinks in Norway’s capital? Check out our city map of Oslo!
Meet Punk Royale
Allow us to introduce you to Punk Royale, a dining experience like no other. If you’ve been to the locations in Stockholm or Copenhagen, you know that the restaurant is the epitome of high brow / low brow: “punk” defines the atmosphere, and “royale” defines the food. If a restaurant ever needed a “trigger warning,” it’s this one – for the smoke, for the flashing strobe lights, and potentially even for some nudity. Let’s just say, what happens at Punk, stays at Punk. (More on that later.) A meal at Punk Royale is a wild, raucous affair – one that is not recommended for the faint of heart. It’s provoking, it’s chaotic, and it’s absolutely one-of-a-kind.
Punk Royale is a place to let loose and abandon all preconceived notions of what a tasting menu restaurant should look like. It’s theatrical, it’s outrageous – and, most of all, it’s delicious. That’s the thing about Punk Royale that catches you by surprise – the food is worth a visit alone. The surroundings aren’t there to distract you from the meal, they’re there to make you laugh and help you embrace your inner wild child. You could have the whole menu served to you on white tablecloths with fancy cutlery and posh service and be quite impressed – but where’s the fun in that? Only at Punk do waiters say “open wide!” and spoon-feed you, or plop generous amounts of caviar right on your hand. Life’s too short to waste time with precise, picture-perfect platings. The servings are over-the-top and decadent – truffle shavings piled high atop plates, foie gras, lobster, caviar, and beverage pairings (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) generously curated to compliment the menu. To have the best time, our advice is to go in with an open mind, and expect the unexpected.
The Team at Punk Royale Oslo
For Almqvist, opening in Oslo is a long-awaited dream come true. “This is something we have been aiming for during the last two and a half years,” he told us. Now with pandemic delays behind him, he’s bursting with energy and excitement about the new project. “I’m pumped! This is gonna be something very special,” Almqvist said. Alongside Almqvist leading the Oslo opening is Katherine Bont, who worked at Noma for almost a decade before becoming the Head of Guest Experience for the Punk Royale group. “I’m excited to be part of this opening from the very beginning,” Bont shared with us. “I have been part of Coco & Carmen from the early stages, but this is the first Punk restaurant that I have been fully involved with from day one.” Both Almqvist and Bont will be onsite in Oslo starting on September 1st, when they get the keys to the new space. This autumn, they’re ready to get out their spray paint, graffiti up the walls, and punk-ify the space – Oslo is their new Punk playground. They hope to open the doors to the public in October.
Punk Royale Oslo will have a small team of around six people, which will include both Almqvist and Bont in the beginning. These Punk veterans will lead the Norwegians during the opening, and help the team set the rhythm. Once they have the right people and the right atmosphere, they’ll let the leading group take charge and make the Oslo space their own. (Want to join the team? Send an email to reataurant.oslo [at] punkroyale.com with your CV.)
The Space = The Punk
After setting their sights on Oslo, Almqvist and Bont conducted quite a lot of research to find the perfect location for Punk in the city. When they stepped inside their future venue, it was love at first sight. They bought the first space they toured, the former Hai Pai cocktail bar on Frognerveien 5, near Solli plass. The beautiful Frogner neighborhood on Oslo’s west side is, without a doubt, one of the most upscale and boujee parts of the city. Home to the stunning Frogner Park, and some of Oslo’s most beautiful residential buildings, the area definitely leans more “royale” than “punk.” But Punk Royale is ready to shake up the status quo. “If there ever was a space designed to be Punk Royale, this is it,” Bont laughed. “It’s the perfect site for the restaurant,” Alqmvist agreed. “We’ll be the ugly duck in a posh area. I love the contrast.”
The venue can seat a maximum of 50 guests, but, in the beginning, they will start with closer to 35 seats and feel out the vibe. The kitchen pass opens into the dining room, so the chefs have a direct line of vision to the guests. Let’s just say, Almqvist and Bont are ready to punk things up. The space is located in the building’s basement, a half staircase down, with the bar “Brød og Bar” on the street level. “We’re not gonna have neighbors living above us, so we don’t have to worry about any noise complaints,” Alqmvist added. That’s good news, because in addition to the fog machines and strobe lights, they plan to have DJs and go absolutely nuts. A word of warning: do beware of the Wheel of Misfortune, Punk Royale’s infamous spin-the-wheel game with dangerous prizes, including tequila suicide, body shots, and even the opportunity to get naked in front of your fellow diners. (Indeed, there’s a reason why Punk Royale locks away your phones.)
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The Food = The Royale
In contrast to the rock-and-roll environment, the menu showcases some of the world’s best and most luxurious ingredients. The tasting menu will lean heavy on small snacks, with around 15-20 servings. It will be different from the ones served in Stockholm and Copenhagen, and will incorporate some Norwegian flair (maybe even some brunost?). Of course, Punk’s signature dishes aren’t going anywhere, so you can look forward to eating the blood waffle with smoked eel, the caviar bumps and vodka shots, the foie gras smiley faces, and the spoon-fed lobster bites. Of course, the food is always of the highest quality, but it’s also important to Punk to offer great value for money. A drink pairing is included in the price of the menu – you can choose between an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage pairing.
Not a Swedish Invasion, but a Norwegian Embrace
Both Almqvist and Bont are bursting with excitement about the upcoming opening. “We love the Oslo food scene, and so much is happening in the city right now. We’re really impressed with the high level of restaurants in this region,” Almqvist said. They hope to show respect to the existing Oslo food space, and integrate naturally into the community. “We’re absolutely thrilled to explore a new, unfamiliar destination,” Bont added. “Even though we are Scandinavian siblings, our cultures are very different,” Almqvist pointed out. “We’re excited and grateful for the opportunity to learn about a new country.” They’re looking forward to incorporating Norwegian traditions and dishes into their menu, and in the restaurant experience in general. “This is not a Swedish restaurant in Norway,” Almqvist clarified, “it’s a Norwegian restaurant in Oslo, with Swedish owners.” This will probably be Punk Royale’s last restaurant opening in the Nordic region, and they couldn’t be more pumped to get started.
Want to get a sneak peek of Punk Royale Oslo before it opens? Join The Hungries, and get access to an exclusive pre-opening event. (Come to the dark side, we have caviar and vodka!)
Are you excited for Punk Royale Oslo to open? Let us know in a comment below.