Vaaghals Restaurant An Evening with Arnold Lan from Visit Norway USA

Press invitation

I wanted to show Arnold Lan a restaurant where the food reflects the Norwegian cuisine, but with a modern approach to ingredients and presentation. “Who is Arnold Lan?” you might be wondering. I’ll get back to that shortly, but first a few words about restaurant Vaaghals.

Vaaghals restaurant Oslo
Vaaghals restaurant. Photo by: Arnold Lan

In the Norwegian TV-show “Gutta På Tur” two of the country’s most decorated cross country skiers, Bjørn Dæhlie and Vegard Ulvang, together with chef Arne Brimi and TV host Arne Hjeltnes goes hiking, hunting, and fishing. In the end of each show, they cook a meal of whatever they caught. The meal is either cooked in the wild or in a lodge along the route. Now, attempt to bring that atmosphere into a restaurant, and you have Vaaghals. The twist, of course, is the modern cooking techniques, ingredients, and presentations which steal inspiration from new nordic cuisine. They also specialize in dry-aged meat from their own dry curing cabinet.

Vaaghals restaurant Oslo

Open kitchen.
Open kitchen. Photo by: Arnold Lan

The quartet from “Gutta På Tur” has teamed up with experienced restauranteur Jørn Lie. Lie’s background is from the highly traditional restaurant Gamle Raadhus in Oslo, located in one of the city’s oldest venues. To demonstrate the concept of tradition meets modern, Vaaghals restaurant is located in the midst of Oslo’s new financial district Bjørvika. Steel kitchen meets wooden beams and walls of glass meets a rustic interior. The kitchen is completely open towards the restaurant. There are hardly any borders between chefs, waiters, and diners. All food is served in the middle of the table and is supposed to be shared. To uphold traditions, Vaaghals uses the old Norwegian word “skifte” instead of sharing, though.

Jørn Lie.
Jørn Lie. Photo by: Arnold Lan

Now, why was I here with Arnold Lan, and who is he? We have to backtrack a few days, to Mathallen. I was hanging out in Bondens Butikk talking to customer sweet talker and lady charmer Joachim Anker-Karlsen. Suddenly, this American film team showed up asking about dried whale meat. Joachim offered them the closest thing he could find, which was dried reindeer meat. The guys continued asking questions about reindeer, but Joachim got too busy with customers, so I answered them. Before I know it they wanted me to repeat my story about the Sami people on camera! Long story short; I was introduced to Arnold Lan, and this is how he looks like:

Arnold Lan
Arnold Lan

Arnold Lan is a Chinese-Canadian who had been chosen for the American TV show called Dream Jobbing. For two weeks he was living his dream, traveling all over Norway and working as a photojournalist for Visit Norway USA. He was granted full control over their Instagram account. Talking to Arnold at Mathallen he asked about my interest in food. We exchanged contact information (read: Instagram accounts) and a few days later he contacted me again. He wanted to see Oslo from a foodie’s point of view! I could think of many places I wanted to show him, but I figured Vaaghals would be perfectly informal and showcasing a modern yet traditional Norwegian kitchen.

Anders Husa foodie Oslo
Photo by: Arnold Lan

Obviously, Arnold wanted to take pictures for me, but I also brought my camera to get several perspectives. Most pictures are credited to Arnold as you may notice. I chose almost all from his library and only a few of my own, he is a professional after all. This is the meal we enjoyed together. I hope it inspires you to pay restaurant Vaaghals a visit.

Whipped butter with Icelandic ash salt.
Whipped butter with Icelandic ash salt. Photo by: Arnold Lan
Variations of cauliflower (cooked, raw and puree) with capelin roe and toasted almonds
Variations of cauliflower (cooked, raw and puree) with capelin roe and toasted almonds. Although the presentation didn’t look too good in my opinion, the flavors were great! Photo by: Arnold Lan
Salt cured halibut with dill, fish stock, fluid gel of brawn and crispy fish skin
Salt cured halibut with dill, fish stock, fluid gel of brawn and crispy fish skin. Photo by: Arnold Lan
Asparagus with yoghurt dressing and ramsons cream
Asparagus with yoghurt dressing and ramsons cream. This dish was a bit weird. The raw asparagus didn’t add anything, and the grapefruit flavor was odd as well. Photo by: Arnold Lan
Chicken liver mousse with juniper berry gel and oatmeal chips
Chicken liver mousse with juniper berry gel and oatmeal chips. My absolute favorite of the starters. Photo by: Arnold Lan
Lamb tartar with mint, seaweed salt and rice puffs
Lamb tartar with mint, seaweed salt and rice puffs. The lamb was very fresh, and the rhubarb was a good match, but the rice puffs were flavorless and dull. Photo by: Arnold Lan
Apple glazed short ribs of ox with burnt onions, caramelized onion puree, baked redbeets, Norwegian new potatoes with grain mustard
Apple glazed short ribs of ox with burnt onions, caramelized onion puree, baked redbeets, Norwegian new potatoes with grain mustard. Photo by: Arnold Lan
Norwegian blue cheeses with apple chutney
Norwegian blue cheeses with apple chutney. Photo by: Arnold Lan
Apple madeleines cake with vanilla cream and burnt white chocolate
Apple madeleines cake with vanilla cream and burnt white chocolate
Norwegian strawberries with almond and rye crumble and a sorbet of fresh cheese
Norwegian strawberries with almond and rye crumble and a sorbet of fresh cheese. The best of the three desserts, and a true representation of Norway.
Licorice ice cream, rhubarb compote and fresh rhubarb
Licorice ice cream, rhubarb compote, and fresh rhubarb. A bold move to serve such a big portion of liquorice ice cream! The sweetness and acidity of the rhubarb elements balance the flavors somewhat, but it was not my favorite dessert of the night.
Disclaimer

This was a press invitation by restaurant Vaaghals. 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.

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