Fragrance of the Heart has two vegetarian cafés in Oslo, and before leaving for the airport I visited the one inside GlasMagasinet, a department store on Stortorvet. The café is located by the entrance to the store on the corner with Møllergate, by the large ochre-coloured half-timbered building.
A department store café is never going to score highly on atmosphere, and I think they’d done pretty well, but it still felt like eating in the staff canteen of a New Age hobbit hole. Decorating a vegetarian eaterie with dangling slices of seashells was also a little odd.
Fragrance offers a set menu at lunchtime for 99Kr, which is outrageously good value in Oslo. It consists of a small bowl of soup and the curry of the day. The soup was lentil, and was thick, rich in flavour and warming. The curry was probably curry by Norwegian standards, but I would have called it a pea and mushroom stew. There was no detectable chilli in it, though the rest of the tomatoey sauce was rich with other spices, and contained plenty of coconut. It too hit the spot on a frozen November day.
Dessert is not part of the set menu, but knowing the odds of eating anything substantial for the rest of the day were quite remote, I had a slice of the wholemeal apple pie. There did not appear to be any vegan cream options to go with this, so I had it on its own, but it was moist enough. The coffee is also good, and the meat-eating partner was more than satisfied with the omelette baguette which was apparently much larger and more filling that it appeared.