Yesterday evening we attended at test night at Oslo’s brand-new restaurant Sentralen. This eatery can seat more than 100 people and is located in Kvadraturen in the heart of Oslo. The official opening is Tuesday the 8th of March, but head chef Mads Andre Hansen is doing test dinners now to prepare the team of cooks and waiters and tune each of the dishes. In case you missed my sneak peek inside Sentralen restaurant, I’ll recap: This is the latest project of Even Ramsvik and the Lava restaurant group. Together with Tom Victor Gausdal from restaurant Strand, Anders Braathen from Smalhans and Stian Floer from Hitchhiker they are running a restaurant, a bakery and pizzeria, and two bars in this huge, newly-refurbished community center.
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Most of the restaurant was filled with restaurateurs, wine importers and the like. Just to be clear: this was not a free meal. We paid for our food and drinks, although the prices were reduced to compensate for the fact that it was a test night. Afterall, both the food and service needed some tweaking. Nothing really big though, and I imagine it should be sorted during these test dinners with the feedback from us and others.
The menu is not clearly divided into starters, mains, and desserts. Instead, it’s a long list of dishes, and each has been marked with an indication of how filling it is. You’ll still find the smaller savory dishes at the start, bigger savory dishes in the middle and cheese & sweet desserts at the end. About six starters (NOK 75 -130), six main dishes (NOK 110-135), two cheese platters (NOK 85-95) and four desserts (NOK 65-95) along with three different bread servings (NOK 35-75) make out the complete menu.
The style is, as Even Ramsvik described it, a continental brasserie using high quality, mostly local and seasonal ingredients. One of the first things I noticed and knew I had to order was the svele. This Norwegian pancake was a classic dessert serving from Ramsvik at his now-closed restaurant Ylajali. At Sentralen restaurant it’s a savory starter instead, filled with lumpfish roe, sour cream, dill, and onion. Very delicate and tasty.
As you can see the style is very casual at Sentralen restaurant. The food comes out from the kitchen on big plates or wooden boards and is meant to be shared. The presentations are rustic with a contemporary touch and should be recognizable if you have dined at Smalhans in particular or at Hitchhiker.
I think the only point of improvement we gave as feedback was about the grilled sourdough bread. It was supposed to be crunchy to the bite, but with a soft core. The pieces we got were a bit too hard to bite, especially at the edges. Also, the bone marrow could have needed some more time in the oven or a higher temperature. Apart from that, we had some lovely dishes, and I only wished I could have tested more from the menu. I might just have to return to Sentralen restaurant …
Are you excited to check out the new Sentralen? Please leave a comment below with your first impressions.
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Anders Husa & Kaitlin Orr