Review: Fauna Bjørn Svensson's New Restaurant (Closed Permanently)

In 2015 I set out to cover all the Michelin star restaurants in Oslo. Restaurant Fauna had been on my wish list for a long while, although I was uncertain what to expect. The place is fairly new in the Oslo restaurant scene. They opened in 2013 and got one Michelin star the following year. That is an impressive achievement! However, considering who runs this place, I don’t think it was a huge surprise to anyone. Chef and owner Bjørn Svensson used to have a star at his old restaurant Oscarsgate before it closed down. A place I never got to visit, sadly. Co-owner Jo Bøe Klakegg has experience from top restaurants, like Noma, and returned to Norway and Fauna after a trip to Asia where he gathered valuable experience. Together with Anne Heggberget, former head sommelier at Oscarsgate, they make up the Fauna team.

Note: This restaurant has closed permanently.

The dream team! "Wine-John" and Siri
The dream team! “Wine-John” and Siri

The style at Fauna is Scandinavian, with a focus on fresh, Norwegian produce. There are also a few typical Swedish ingredients on the menu, like cheese from Västerbotten, råraka (hash browns), and löjrom (vendace roe) – presumably since Sweden is Bjørn Svensson’s home country. Fauna is more modern than traditional, but in terms of the Nordic kitchen, it is way more classic than other Oslo restaurants in that genre, e.g. Maaemo and Ylajali.

I also found restaurant Fauna less experimental than Kontrast. To me, it feels like a refined Arakataka. Refinement sometimes ends up a bit boring, though. Don’t get me wrong – we had a great night. Everything at Fauna is professional to the last details. Most of the food is cooked to perfection, but very few of the dishes got me super excited.

In terms of the price level, Fauna is roughly on par with Kontrast, despite the fact that they have a Michelin star! In other words: they have chosen not to ask for a significant premium after receiving a star in the red guide. Something which probably would have been tempting to many. That means you won’t get ruined from an evening here. This is a safe bet if you want to enjoy an evening at a classic one Michelin star restaurant. I will definitely be returning to restaurant Fauna to see if their food can get my dopamine level rising higher next time!

Barley grain biscuit, crispy chicken skin, Västerbotten cheese, and cress.
Barley grain biscuit, crispy chicken skin, Västerbotten cheese, and cress.
The second snack of smoked mackerel with "krondill" and fermented fennel, in parsley oil, and buttermilk.
The second snack of smoked mackerel with “krondill” and fermented fennel, in parsley oil, and buttermilk.
A bonus dish we chose: Swedish "råraka" with sour cream, "löjrom" and dill. Råraka is a kind of hash browns. The best dish of the night! Yum!
A bonus dish we chose: Swedish “råraka” with sour cream, “löjrom” and dill. Råraka is a kind of hash browns. The best dish of the night! Yum!
Tartare with kale, watercress & rye. Nice contrasts in textures, but I missed a bit more acidity
Tartare with kale, watercress & rye. Nice contrasts in textures, but I missed a bit more acidity
Festejar! Strawberry aroma, very fruity. Lightly sparkling with a cool color.
Festejar! Strawberry aroma, very fruity. Lightly sparkling with a cool color.
Another bonus dish: Lobster, celeriac, and juniper berries. This dish looked so promising, but in the end, it disappointed a bit. I wanted a richer flavor.
Another bonus dish: Lobster, celeriac, and juniper berries. This dish looked so promising, but in the end, it disappointed a bit. I wanted a richer flavor.
Dario Princic Bianco Trebez 2009. Orange wine! Strong whiskey aroma, bitter orange flavor, and a dry finish.
Dario Princic Bianco Trebez 2009. Orange wine! Strong whiskey aroma, bitter orange flavor, and a dry finish.
Scallops, lovage, and endives. I found this dish weird. I'd rather have the scallops in bigger pieces and less pickled and acidic garnish. It wasn't balanced enough in my opinion.
Scallops, lovage, and endives. I found this dish weird. I’d rather have the scallops in bigger pieces and less pickled and acidic garnish. It wasn’t balanced enough in my opinion.
The bread serving. The bread was fresh and warm from the oven. Crispy crust, velvet soft inside. Perfect! Great butter with salted meat shavings. So tasty!
The bread serving. The bread was fresh and warm from the oven. Crispy crust, velvet soft inside. Perfect! Great butter with salted meat shavings. So tasty!
Cod, chanterelle puréee, and horseradish. I don't remember this dish. Not sure that is a good thing.
Cod, chanterelle puréee, and horseradish. I don’t remember this dish. Not sure that is a good thing.
Lamb, leek, and wild ramson capers. The first serving was inedible, because the lamb meat was too tough and chewy. We got a new dish immediately when we pointed it out, though. The second round of meat was perfect melt-in-your-mouth quality.
Lamb, leek, and wild ramson capers. The first serving was inedible, because the lamb meat was too tough and chewy. We got a new dish immediately when we pointed it out, though. The second round of meat was perfect melt-in-your-mouth quality.
2012 Benedicte & Stephane Tissot, Poulsard, Vieilles Vignes, Jura, France. Very easy to drink, nice acidity.
2012 Benedicte & Stephane Tissot, Poulsard, Vieilles Vignes, Jura, France. Very easy to drink, nice acidity.
White chocolate, blueberries, and thyme. This was ok, but when you have tasted the chocolate and blueberry desserts at Pjoltergeist it becomes dull.
White chocolate, blueberries, and thyme. This was ok, but when you have tasted the chocolate and blueberry desserts at Pjoltergeist it becomes dull.
Delicious petit four! Soft, sticky, creamy chocolate with an acidic berry gel inside
Delicious petit four! Soft, sticky, creamy chocolate with an acidic berry gel inside

Have you been to restaurant Fauna? How was your experience?

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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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