Smalhans’ New Bar Menu Grab a Quick Bite & Have a Glass of Wine

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Smalhans is a top restaurant in Oslo, one of my absolute favorites and one of the few informal, more rustique restaurants mentioned in the Nordic Michelin guide. As a tourist coming to Norway, this should be high on your to-visit-list. Smalhans have just launched a new bar menu, and I brought my good friend Markus to test it.

Smalhans restaurant Oslo St. Hanshaugen

The wine cabinet at Smalhans welcomes you as you enter
The wine cabinet at Smalhans welcomes you as you enter
Laura is the restaurant manager and a great host!
Laura is the restaurant manager and a great host!

This is maybe the restaurant in Oslo you can go the most times without risking to have the same menu to choose from. The pace is even quicker than at their sister-restaurant Hitchhiker. I like the description that the Michelin guide has for Smalhans: It is a restaurant which morphs during the day. A lunch menu is served between 11.00 and 16.00 with some classic dishes, but also a lot of new replacements every week. The daily special Husmannskost is served between the hours of 16.00 and 18.00, and is a new dish every single day. Usually a classic, traditional dish from somewhere around the world.

Smalhans is located along what many describes as "Gullrekka" - the golden line, because of the quality of the restaurants, coffee shops and delis here.
Smalhans is located along what many describes as “Gullrekka” – the golden line, because of the quality of the restaurants, coffee shops and delis here.
During lunch hours from 11.00 to 16.00 you find great baked goods from Handwerk in the Smalhans bar area.
During lunch hours from 11.00 to 16.00 you find great baked goods from Handwerk in the Smalhans bar area.
Every day from 16.00 to 18.00 Smalhans serves their daily special "Husmannskost", which is a more or less traditional dish from somewhere around the world. Big portions, refill if you want to, and a great atmosphere for only NOK 160.
Every day from 16.00 to 18.00 Smalhans serves their daily special “Husmannskost”, which is a more or less traditional dish from somewhere around the world. Big portions, refill if you want to, and a great atmosphere for only NOK 160.

The evening menu consists of a 3- or 5-course meal, where everything is served on sharing platters. Big plates or pots are put in the middle of the table for everyone to dig in. Do not worry if you are still hungry because Smalhans will never deny you some refills. The small menu is called Smalhans, which means cheapskate or poor person. The big menu is named Krøsus, so if you are rich as King Croesus you go all in. You can also choose à la carte if you are less hungry.

The style is very informal at Smalhans
The style is very informal at Smalhans
You can also book "Leiligheten", the apartment, as a chambre séparée. It is decorated like a home with book shelves, TV, vinyl player (which you can operate) and a picture of Hipstakokken as a confirmand
You can also book “Leiligheten”, the apartment, as a chambre séparée. It is decorated like a home with book shelves, TV, and a vinyl player which you can operate
The owner Anders Braathen has a nice sense of humor, like this picture of his confirmation in the chambre séparée. Follow @hipstakokken on Instagram.
The owner Anders Braathen has a nice sense of humor, like this picture of his confirmation in the chambre séparée. Follow @hipstakokken on Instagram.

All wines at Smalhans are natural wines. That usually means organic farming, and natural winemaking and vinification processes. No chemicals are used, and very little is added to the wine. Small or no amounts of sulfur are allowed and the same goes for sugar and yeast. Some natural wines are not far from classic wines in taste and expression, yet others are definitely an acquired taste. After visiting Smalhans way too many times the last couple of years I am slowly becoming a fan. The two wine importers which deliver most of the wines to Smalhans are Non Dos and Vin John. If you want to learn more about nature wine, check this article (in Norwegian) from Vinstudinen.

We started of with a juicy, light Jean-Pierre Robinot: L'Opera des vins "Les Années Folles". Yeast and stable odors hit the nose, but the taste is quite different. Acidic and fresh, but not something you would usually expect from a wine. "It tastes like apple juice gone bad," as my friend phrased it. He was kind of right, but it's still quite tasty in a weird way.
We started of with a juicy, light Jean-Pierre Robinot: L’Opera des vins “Les Années Folles”. Yeast and stable odors hit the nose, but the taste is quite different. Acidic and fresh, but not something you would usually expect from a wine. “It tastes like apple juice gone bad,” as my friend phrased it. He was kind of right, but it’s still quite tasty in a weird way.

The bar area of the restaurant has always been more of a drop-in zone, even though you can reserve seats here as well. Now, Smalhans have launched a new bar menu, which makes it even easier to just spontaneously swing by for a quick bite and some glasses of wine. I love this kind of concept, it is the same thing Arakataka did recently, and I hope more restaurants adopt it. Even though you now have a special menu in the bar you can still order from the à la carte menu as well. It is rare that anything is a problem at Smalhans. My fellow food blogger and friend Julie has also written about the new bar menu. Here is a video of our test night.

The new bar menu at Smalhans
The new bar menu at Smalhans
Two types of oysters from the eastern oceans of North-America. Apple and Geuze in the right one.
Two types of oysters from the eastern oceans of North-America. Apple and Geuze in the right one.
Villvin! This is what my mother calls natural wines, so I had to laugh when we got one that was actually named "wild wine". This one was completely crazy, with a taste unlike anything else. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes cultured in Skåne, Sweden. High level natural wine lovers only!
Villvin! This is what my mother calls natural wines, so I had to laugh when we got one that was actually named “wild wine”. This one was completely crazy, with a taste unlike anything else. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes cultured in Skåne, Sweden. High level natural wine lovers only!
Fresh, high quality, buffalo mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil, pickled cucumbers and tomatoes
Fresh, high quality, buffalo mozzarella with extra virgin olive oil, pickled cucumbers and tomatoes
St. Hallvard, Andersen Pale Ale. Tropical fruits in the nose, but the taste is more intense, bitter, and full of hops.
St. Hallvard, Andersen Pale Ale. Tropical fruits in the nose, but the taste is more intense, bitter, and full of hops.
The kimchi at Smalhans! Quite different from their sister-restaurant Hitchhiker. More acidic and less hot.
The kimchi at Smalhans! Quite different from their sister-restaurant Hitchhiker. More acidic and less hot.
Le Mazel. Cuvée Raoul. A natural wine, but more similar to a classic wine than anything else we had this evening.
Le Mazel. Cuvée Raoul. A natural wine, but more similar to a classic wine than anything else we had this evening.
Carpaccio of beef with aioli, capers, beets and horseradish. Like we told our lovely host Laura as well; put more aioli on that thing! Great flavors, but more fat is always a good thing.
Carpaccio of beef with aioli, capers, beets and horseradish. Like we told our lovely host Laura as well; put more aioli on that thing! Great flavors, but more fat is always a good thing.
Natural wines have awesome labels. Like this Fable, Le Raisin & L'Ange. Maybe it was the label that made my friend describe the smell as exactly what is pictured. Once again a different taste, though.
Natural wines have awesome labels. Like this Fable, Le Raisin & L’Ange. Maybe it was the label that made my friend describe the smell as exactly what is pictured. Once again a different taste, though.
The main dish this evening. Duck rillette, with elderberries from @hipstakokken's garden. Toasted focaccia to spread on. Fat and deliciousness in a jar! All it needed was an extra sprinkle of salt & pepper.
The main dish this evening. Duck rillette, with elderberries from @hipstakokken’s garden. Toasted focaccia to spread on. Fat and deliciousness in a jar! All it needed was an extra sprinkle of salt & pepper.
Time for dessert wine. Carussin Moscato d' Asti Filari Corti. Carussin makes some great wines, and this was no exception. A delicate sweetness, light and refreshing.
Time for dessert wine. Carussin Moscato d’ Asti Filari Corti. Carussin makes some great wines, and this was no exception. A delicate sweetness, light and refreshing.
The great thing about the bar in Smalhans is that they won't deny to serve you from the main menu as well. That was perfect when we craved a dessert to finish the meal. A yogurt panna cotta with black currants and almond crumble.
The great thing about the bar in Smalhans is that they won’t deny to serve you from the main menu as well. That was perfect when we craved a dessert to finish the meal. A yogurt panna cotta with black currants and almond crumble.
Patrick Desplats, Vent Y Tourne 2013. I had to Google the name, as the label looks like it has been printed at home and tells nothing. Now, this was great! Light, juicy, very drinkable sparkling red wine. A perfect finish after the meal.
Patrick Desplats, Vent Y Tourne 2013. I had to Google the name, as the label looks like it has been printed at home and tells nothing. Now, this was great! Light, juicy, very drinkable sparkling red wine. A perfect finish after the meal.
Auduns Moneymaker IPA. An expensive beer because of the huge amounts of hops and Audun's greediness, the label explains. I certainly believe the part about hops! This leaves your tongue dry even more than the Andersen Pale Ale we had earlier.
Auduns Moneymaker IPA. An expensive beer because of the huge amounts of hops and Audun’s greediness, the label explains. I certainly believe the part about hops! This leaves your tongue dry even more than the Andersen Pale Ale we had earlier.
This yuzu sake is one of the most amazing drinks I've ever tried. Period.
This yuzu sake is one of the most amazing drinks I’ve ever tried. Period.
Two Foodies Eating did an event at Smalhans last year, serving the daily special to 88 guests. We used to have the 4th place, but now we are down at 8th.
Two Foodies Eating did an event at Smalhans last year, serving the daily special to 88 guests. We used to have the 4th place, but now we are down at 8th.

Did you try the new bar menu at Smalhans? What did you think? Please leave a comment below.

Lagre

Lagre

Lagre

Disclaimer

This was a sponsored invitation by LAVA Restaurants. 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.

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