Oslo is the most expensive city I’ve ever visited, more so even than Tokyo. Never mind that beer that’s worth drinking is about £9 a pint, my native guide informed me that if I could find a main course for less that 100 Kr., that would be regarded as incredibly cheap.
On arrival, I didn’t have much time to decide where to eat, so we decided to play safe(-ish) and go for a curry. A quick search indicated that Indian House (Fred Olsens Gt. 11) had a reasonable vegetarian selection and it was close to the tram from our hotel, and the pub where we’d arranged to meet a friend. I had the mixed vegetable pakora to start, and followed it with Rajmah Masala – a red kidney bean curry. We were warned that Norwegian tastes tended to the bland, and they offered to make the dishes a little hotter for us.
I’d neglected to ask for no dairy (I was knackered, okay?) so the pakora came with a yoghurt sauce as well as a very tangy tamarind one. Okay, that was my fault, but the bigger surprise was discovering that cheese is apparently a vegetable as the pakora were cauliflower and paneer. I invoked travel rules, and made a mental note to check next time. I think the restaurant might make their own paneer, as it had a much better texture than the commercial stuff. The main course had been made hotter by simply adding chili. As the other spices were also under-represented, this just led to an unbalanced flavour, with the chilli dominating everything. Pity, as the dish is one of the standards that is rarely served in British curry shops.
To continue the bad start to the trip, the pubs we were hunting, Gambrinus, was not at the address we had for it, and there was no evidence that there had every been anything other than a jewellery shop there. Our friend had found an alternative address, but that was occupied by a loud rock bar. This suited us fine, and the beer wasn’t entirely bad (Leffe Bruin and Bedweiser Budvar in bottles) or excessively expensive so we stayed there.