St. Lars Burger Perfection at Bislett

Press invitation

I had the pleasure of meeting “the original foodie” and urban farmer Andreas Viestad earlier this year, when we spent two days together visiting restaurant Fäviken in Sweden. Andreas is one of three owners at restaurant St. Lars at Bislett in Oslo. The other day he invited me to try their new burger, which they had worked hard to perfect for a long time.

St. Lars restaurant Oslo burger perfection

I wanted to get some really nice burger photos. What could possibly look better than a juicy, greasy, dripping hot burger? Only that very same thing in the hands of a hot girl, of course. Thus, I brought my tattooed foodie friend Christina, who I suspected would love a good burger. Tattoos and burgers go hand in hand as well.

stlars-st-lars-andreas-viestad-gastropub-bistro-burger-perfection-brioche-oslo-norway-scandinavia-restaurant-review-food-foodie-eat-eating-dine-dining-best-tips-guide-travel-26-2015

On our way to St. Lars
On our way to St. Lars

St. Lars is a gastropub, inspired by and designed in the same style as the famous bar the Spotted Pig in New York. Dark red colors, velvet curtains, walls covered with huge mirrors and framed art in different styles. It is a rough bistro, with bad ass chefs who slap big chunks of meat on your table and throw some Béarnaise sauce on it. Well… sort of.

stlars-st-lars-andreas-viestad-gastropub-bistro-burger-perfection-brioche-oslo-norway-scandinavia-restaurant-review-food-foodie-eat-eating-dine-dining-best-tips-guide-travel-4-2015

The ham slicer - like every decent restaurant should have
The ham slicer – like every decent restaurant should have

stlars-st-lars-andreas-viestad-gastropub-bistro-burger-perfection-brioche-oslo-norway-scandinavia-restaurant-review-food-foodie-eat-eating-dine-dining-best-tips-guide-travel-23-2015We got the table right underneath the huge painting of St. Lars, who has given his name to the restaurant. This place is all about the grill, and almost every dish has an element which has touched the grill at some point. Before we were ready to dig into the burger, however, we wanted to try a few other exciting snacks and dishes on the menu. As a true gastropub, St. Lars do of course follow the philosophy of “nose to tail” eating, and serves pig’s ears and nose snack.

St. Lars is named after Saint Lawrence of Rome who suffered a martyr's death by being grilled alive. Here portrayed uttering his legendary last words "I'm well done. Turn me over!"; making him an idol for chefs as well as comedians.
St. Lars is named after Saint Lawrence of Rome who suffered a martyr’s death by being grilled alive. Here portrayed uttering his legendary last words “I’m well done. Turn me over!”; making him an idol for chefs as well as comedians.
Pig's ear and nose snacks. The real bacon crisp.
Pig’s ear and nose snacks. The real bacon crisp.

St. Lars is known for having exploited the “horse meat scandal” a few years back, by offering horse on their menu and making it their top seller. Horse meat is underrated for sure, probably partly because many considers it to be more of a pet than a source of food. Norway’s most famous superchef Eyvind Hellstrøm regards it as the best and most tender meat for a good beef. Thus, we had to try the horse tartare, which I have only ever eaten once before at the now-closed restaurant Tranen.

Horse tartare with a quail egg yolk, wood sorrel and parmesan chips
Horse tartare with a quail egg yolk, wood sorrel and parmesan chips
The waiter explained us about the high quality of marbled horse meat used here, which gives it an intense umami flavor. A great tartare which incorporates modern elements, while still being quite classic and simple.
The waiter explained us about the high quality of marbled horse meat used here, which gives it an intense umami flavor. A great tartare which incorporates modern elements, while still being quite classic and simple.

Another dish caught my attention because of the name; “Caesar salad anno 4th of July 1924”. “It is the original recipe,” our waiter explains. No chicken, bacon or other new fancy elements in this one. The only debated ingredient is the anchovies in the sauce, which turns out wasn’t actually in the original recipe, but are used by the Cardini family at Hotel Caesar as well.

The Caesar salad at St. Lars is true to the original from 4th of July 1924, consisting only of romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper.
The Caesar salad at St. Lars is true to the original from 4th of July 1924, consisting only of romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper.
There are so many amazing flavors in the Caesar, we only wished it would be even more of that creamy sauce to mix with the salad. And a bit of parmesan sprinkled underneath the top layer as well.
There are so many amazing flavors in the Caesar, we only wished it would be even more of that creamy sauce to mix with the salad. And a bit of parmesan sprinkled underneath the top layer as well.
Ossian 2012, a Spanish white wine. Rich in flavor, but still a fresh mouthfeel.
Ossian 2012, a Spanish white wine. Rich in flavor, but still a fresh mouthfeel.

stlars-st-lars-andreas-viestad-gastropub-bistro-burger-perfection-brioche-oslo-norway-scandinavia-restaurant-review-food-foodie-eat-eating-dine-dining-best-tips-guide-travel-11-2015Finally, we had arrived at the main course of the evening – the burger! General manager Niclas Wallin visits our table to explain the process. “The burger segment is tough these days. Many places sell only burgers. We used to have a good burger, but we wanted to make it exceptional,” he explains us. “We’ve experimented with different types of bread, bacon, cheeses, cooking techniques, meat and fat ratio, salt level & grinding sizes – we think we have found the right combination now.”

The brioche bun is buttery, but still full of air pockets inside, which makes it fluffy and nice to hold a burger. It doesn't soak the juices and become soggy too fast.
The brioche bun is buttery, but still full of air pockets inside, which makes it fluffy and nice to hold a burger. It doesn’t soak the juices and become soggy too fast.
Inside you find salt-cured bacon and a chili mayo. Simple. Tasty.
Inside you find salt-cured bacon and a chili mayo. Simple. Tasty.
The perfect burger in the perfect burger grip
The perfect burger in the perfect burger grip

In my opinion St. Lars have one of the best burgers in the city now. That is taking burger joint and restaurant burgers all into the calculation. The meat is perfectly pink inside and almost charred from the grill on the outside. Juicy and tasty. The garnish is simple with bacon, cheddar, and a chili mayo. Just the essentials. Lettuce, tomato, and onion are placed on the side. Optional. Like they should be! The brioche bun was just right, full of butter and flavor, but with the right texture to hold a burger.

The meat is just high quality meat and fat. Rolled to balls, smashed, salted and grilled.
The meat is just high quality meat and fat. Rolled to balls, smashed, salted and grilled.
Smash it down
Smash it down
Grill it on high temperature. This grill could reach temperatures of 6-800 degrees C
Grill it on high temperature. This grill could reach temperatures of 6-800 degrees C
Chocolate ganache with meringue and strawberries. It was served with a side of raspberry sorbet
Chocolate ganache with meringue and strawberries. It was served with a side of raspberry sorbet
Niclas Wallin, the general manager, posing with his pigs
Niclas Wallin, the general manager, posing with his pigs

The same night as we were here some sneaky thieves had stolen a jar full of truffles from St. Lars! Have you seen anyone with a conspicuous consumption of truffles lately? Please leave a comment below!

Disclaimer

This was a press invitation by St. Lars. As always, the content reflects my sincere opinion and is my personal recommendation.

Anders Husa

I am Anders Husa – a foodie living in Oslo. I eat at the best restaurants in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and the major food destinations in the world. I share my foodie stories here.

5 comments

  • Bruker du Google Translate til å oversette bloggen din? På britisk engelsk er managing director (MD) den vanlige tittelen på en daglig leder, på amerikansk engelsk er chief executive officer (CEO). Man kan også bruke tittelen General manager, som er vanligst i hotell- og restaurantbransjen.

    Å omtale noen som “the daily manager” skriker i ørene mine…

    • Hei Kai. Takk for korreksjon. Jeg skriver på engelsk for at det skal være en god guide for besøkende utenfor Norge. Dessverre sniker det seg nok inn noen feil iblant. Da er det supert at noen retter opp! Da er det rettet i teksten.

  • Hi
    I am a food consultant and writer based in London, I’ve worked in the industry for over twenty five years…
    I am coming to Oslo en route to the Arctic and have two nights, one at each end of the trip in late July.
    I’d love some restaurant recommendations, not fine dining but good modern Norwegian food. New Nordic ?
    Local ingredients, any up and coming chefs ?
    Thanks so much

    • Hi Nellie,

      Check out Pjoltergeist, Bass and Araktaka (either the restaurant or the food bar) for dinner. Territoriet if you want a cool wine bar. Search my page for more info and pictures from all these places.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *