Straa is a riverside patio restaurant located in Ivan Bjørndals gate along the river Akerselva at Lilleborg in Oslo. There are not many eateries in this small neighborhood between Sagene and Bjølsen to the west and Torshov and Sandaker to the east. Kolonihagen has a bakery, which also provides Straa and the soon-to-open restaurant Astral with bread and baked goods. Currently, Straa is serving a teaser of the menu that you’ll find in the restaurant indoors. Astral opens on the 10th of August, but you already know that if you read my restaurant rumors.
Note: This restaurant has closed permanently.
Once Astral is open the plan is for Straa to serve simpler food prepared on a grill on the patio. It will also be a great place to enjoy a glass of wine as long as the summer season lasts. I’ve known about this restaurant opening for a while, but the details have been leaked one by one. From the location to the name and finally the concept and opening dates. If you got any tips on restaurants opening in Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, then please get in touch. All sources are anonymous.
In the kitchen, you find head chef Steffen Hansen, with experience from restaurants like Grefsenkollen and Vaaghals. His sous chef is Matthias Hauge who has previously worked at the well-known culinary hotel Scandic Nidelven in Trondheim and restaurant Lothes Mat & Vinhus in Haugesund. The two main sommeliers are Marius Hansen and Ragnhild Wright Ousland. The latter used to work at Vaaghals and has been popping up as a guest sommelier several places this year – among them, the wine bar Territoriet and restaurant Kontrast.
The food at Straa & Astral is definitely following the latest Nordic restaurant trends: casual and rustic presentations, mainly local and seasonal produce, lots of foraged or self-grown plants, herbs and flowers, cooking techniques from different corners of the world and no clear concept. Except, that is the concept. It’s like Vaaghals meets Pjoltergeist, or a sort of Bass Oslo with bigger portions.
We had some great dishes and some that still need work. The kitchen is clearly testing stuff for the final menu of Astral. If you go there now I would highly recommend the klippfisk and poached egg. Tasty and fresh with a good balance of textures and flavors. The veal sweetbreads had too many soft, mushy, and fatty ingredients combined and need adjustments, I think. My favorite dessert was the raspberry and brioche. Rhubarb and red beets is an interesting and fun combination, but wasn’t that pleasurable in my opinion. I’m excited to revisit once Astral opens, and in the meanwhile, I’ve added Straa to my recommendations for restaurants in Oslo that are open all summer.
Will you be checking out Straa before restaurant Astral opens, or would you rather wait till the menu is all set? Please leave a comment below if you end up going there and what you think.