There are no other restaurants in the world I have been to more often than Pjoltergeist, and it’s not only because it’s walking distance from where I live (although, admittedly that helps). People often ask me what my favorite restaurant is, and I’ve had the same boring answer ever since the day Pjoltergeist opened back in 2013. Boring, because I’d love for there to be some competition, and for that question to actually make me have to think. But the fact remains, I’ve never left dissatisfied after a meal at Rosteds gate 15 B.
1. There’s No Other Place Like Pjoltergeist
The food, the ambiance, and the constant beat of hip-hop music over the speakers. There’s simply no other place like Pjoltergeist. Where else can you get deep fried white asparagus with parmesan and chives mayo, langoustine with Icelandic söl seaweed, or crispy pork fat served with pork fat mayo? Sure, some restaurants have similar elements, like Egget in Stavanger, Brutus in Oslo, or Geist in Copenhagen. But I would only compare them to Pjoltergeist, and not the other way around. Punk Royale in Stockholm is rumored to have a resemblance as well, but I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting yet. Feel free to leave a comment below if you got tips to similar restaurants around the world.
2. Pjoltergeist is a Chef’s Hangout Serving Comfort Food
You’ll see young and old at Pjoltergeist. Big spenders and poor students. Business dinners and romantic couples are rarer, but not unheard of. More than anything, though, you’ll find industry people. Chefs, waiters, sommeliers, restaurant owners, and foodies. They all have one thing in common: a craving for comfort food. Kitchen genius Atli Mar Yngvason delivers. The Icelandic head chef has admitted that he’s not a big fan of vegetables. “I hate red beets,” he once said to me. Jerusalem artichoke and celeriac gets the same verdict (I don’t share that sentiment, though). However, Atli loves meat, fat, salt, and spices and he’ll serve you lots of it with plenty of carbs on the side. Langoustine in an oily sauce, to be scooped up with steam buns, or minke whale served with sticky rice and sea salt.
3. You’ll Get Weird and Exclusive Ingredients
During my visit to Noma Mexico, I got a text from Atli. He needed more chapulines. In case your Spanish is poor, that’s grasshoppers! The entire Pjoltergeist family had been to Tulum a week prior and purchased a few kilos of the Mexican specialty, but they were quickly running out. The salty and crunchy insects were to be used as topping on blue corn tortillas. Bug taco! I’ve also enjoyed delicious Japanese Kobe beef, wagyu beef in bone marrow sauce, shavings of elk heart, half a pig’s head, and rotten shark from Iceland. That’s a lie. I didn’t enjoy the latter.
4. The Wine Selection Pleases Both Natural Wine Lovers and Traditionalists
If you love wine, Pjoltergeist got you covered. Whether that’s naturally fermented grape juice or more conventional stuff. Personally, I have one foot in each camp, but I tend to lean towards producers like Matassa, Testalonga, and Patrick Sullivan. To be honest, though, I just ask Susanne or Sverre for a recommendation. They always know what I want before I do. Get a pjolter if you don’t fancy wine.
5. If You’re Lucky, There Might be a Special Guest Chef
Pjoltergeist won’t warn you, but sometimes there’s a special guest chef lurking in the kitchen. Like Even Ramsvik did the other day. Ramsvik used to be Atli’s head chef when they worked together at the now-closed, former one-Michelin-starred restaurant Ylajali.
6. The Michelin Guide Hasn’t Even Got Pjoltergeist Listed
Imagine that. The Michelin Guide hasn’t even got Pjoltergeist listed in their Nordic Guide 2017. I’m not talking about stars, but their regular list of recommendations rated from one to five fork and spoon symbols. Instead, the guide lists completely outdated places like Hos Thea. That’s how special Pjoltergeist is! Inspectors won’t even set their foot inside.
7. The Kitchen is Open Past Midnight!
The kitchen of Pjoltergeist is open past midnight! Clearly, this should have been point number one on this list, and I hereby apologize for this error.
8. The Zuper Pakki is Only Bookable by SMS
The only way to book a table at Pjoltergeist is via SMS. The mobile number is +47 40 23 77 88. There you go. My pleasure. Please note that by booking a table you automatically sign up for the Zuper Pakki for the entire group. It’s currently priced at NOK 795, and it’s one hell of a deal with 10+ courses. You’re guaranteed to leave stuffed.
9. You Can Drop by the Bar if You’re Smart
If you know what you’re doing, you can drop by the bar at Pjoltergeist and skip the booking altogether. That gives you the freedom to order as much or as little as you want to. You can choose from the bar menu, but you can also ask what’s available from the Zuper Pakki. Usually, they have some leftovers. I shouldn’t be revealing this particular secret, but here we go: The trick to dropping by the bar is to come either very early or very late. Especially on busy Fridays and Saturdays. From 5.30 PM until 7 PM is normally safe, but after that, you have to wait until 10.30 PM or maybe as late as 11.30 PM. Don’t tell anyone!
10. There’s a Happy Ending
Pjoltergeist is always glad to offer you a happy ending if you want it. Not the kind your dirty mind is thinking of, though. Remember: they don’t accept credit cards, but Icelandic kronur are ok (I swear, I will test that one day).
Where do you get your comfort food cravings satisfied? Please leave a comment below.