Mjølner (pronounced “m-yol-near”) is Thor’s hammer, not Chris Hemsworth’s, the actual Norse god of thunder (same same but different). Mjølner is one of the single most deadly weapons in mythology and this buzzing Norse restaurant of the same name is a deadly weapon in the Sydney food game. It is decadent, elegant, ballsy, in your face, no frills (but all frills) and a damn fine theatrical venue that is so shit hot right now. I have been twice now and paid both times – I also ask you to be patient with this lengthy review – there is just so much to say about Mjølner.
Mjølner is a place where sophistication and opulence meets revelry and decadence. The venue is created in Thor’s image and delivers a unique dining experience, offering guests escapism with the enjoyment of fine food and world class beverages.
May Odin give you knowledge on your path. May Thor grant you strength & courage on your way. And may Loki give you laughter as you go….. – Skål
If you’ve watched Vikings, Game of Thrones, The Avengers or anything that embraces the world of Thor you will already love this place before you enter. It’s theatrical without being a kitsch theme restaurant. It offers an authentic balance between fun times and Norse museum that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Like Nordic restaurant Norsk Dor Mjølner, has no signage, you will need to locate the big door on Cleveland St with the symbol of Mjølner on it. It’s a big thick wooden door that looks like a Narnia-esque entry from the current world to another, much darker, Viking world. Upon opening the door you will see the front half of a viking boat pointing at you from the top of a staircase that travels down into a dimly lit underground venue. It has a slight feeling of entering the hold of a ship. There is no natural light and if you suffer claustrophobia you may get a twang. If you’re a food blogger or photographer you may internally groan at how this will effect your pics but make it work people because the place is fracking awesome.
Located in the basement of an old tobacco building from the 1800’s, there’s a number of low archways where the seating is located, and a couple of repurposed kilns along the back wall — where once tobacco leaves would have been dried — they are now the cured meat lockers.
Mjølner is the latest creation from the Speakeasy Group, responsible for such venues as The Roosevelt and Eau de Vie, in Sydney and Melbourne. Speakeasy’s owner is Norwegian born Sven Almenning who is slightly Viking obsessed and is proud to have opened a venue that embraces his native culture. Discovering his children are named Odin and Loki may explain a few things. Swords located throughout the venue are genuine replicas from the Viking era and he has recently purchased a real 9th century sword dug up in Germany.
It’s also a whiskey bar and whole animal carver….
Mjølner is more than a Viking museum of sorts, it’s also a remarkable whiskey bar and whole-animal carvery. At the time of my first visit I believe they were at about 500 different world whiskies with the goal being around 600. There is a whiskey there for any budget but the high end will blow you mind and your mortgage. There is also glass fronted meat lockers throughout the venue and the venue goes for head-to-tail with minimal to no food wastage.
Three of the highlights when dining at Mjølner are firstly the Skål when you are seated, this is a small shot you are given as a welcome to the venue. Much like a mead would have been placed in your hands back in the day. It signifies greeting and that you are welcome – it is also awesome when your mum doesn’t want it and you get two!!
The second, and the most exciting highlight, is the selection of your own personal carving knife for the evening. Each of these knives is hand forged, original and bloody expensive. They are fracking epic and cannot be soap washed, so if you don’t get one it is probably because all of them have been sent off for oil cleaning. The small ceremony to select one of these pieces of art was a highlight of both my visits.
And lastly, the ability to drink grog out of a horn, I never thought it would hold appeal but now I want one for home.
And a side note – one of the best toilets in Sydney restaurants – individual unisex toilets with a marvellous rustic washbasin – I do love a good restaurant toilet!!
Firstly, the drinks menu. The cocktails are off the charts and you need to take time to read the cocktail menu. They are listed in sections and all have a folklore story behind them – on both my visits I have tried a few from the menu and they have all been fantastic. But please note, you do not attend Mjølner for a cheap meal and some drinks – expect a minimum spend of $100 per head with two drinks included in spend. You could easily blow $250 on yourself if you enjoyed the drinks to their potential and I am sure there was a whiskey that was close to $1000- a shot.
The food menu is simple and exquisite. 8 entrees, 4 mains, a few sides and a few desserts. It is rotational and if you visit one day it might not be on the menu the next. They serve a bird dish, two beast dishes, a fish dish and a veggie dish. The menu is protein heavy and while the dishes don’t look massive expect to fill up quick.
What we at both for both visits:
- Roasted Bone Marrow with meat powder and watercress
- Spiced Pig’s Head Terrine with bronzed fennel and fresh pistachio
- Charred Octopus Tentacles with roast kohlrabi and squid ink sauce
- The Mjølner Trencher – large juicy meats stuffed inside a bowl made of bread
- Dry Aged Pork Belly cooked in milk and honey
- Whole Quail cooked in Odin’s Raven Beer, miso, orange and celtuce
- Roasted Celeriac with confit garlic and maple
- Short Rib with Jerusalem artichoke and juniper
- Mascarpone Parfiat with macadamia, charred lemon and plum
- Rice Pudding with salted caramel, fennel and rhubarb sorbet
I must stress this was two visits – I’m a pig but not that much!!
What we thought:
I am bone marrow obsessed, Norsk Dor’s bone marrow dish was my favourite of 2016 and Mjølner’s could end up being my favourite of this year. The one problem is that on the two occasions I have visited Thor’s den I have had to share the bloody marrow and ended up with the smallest piece each time, I may have to return myself just to eat a bone marrow serve to myself!
Besides the dining menu they do offer a bar menu, I believe on Sunday lunch you can eat the bar menu at your table. From this menu you MUST and CANNOT LEAVE WITHOUT EATING the Mjølner Trencher. In medieval times, a trencher was an old loaf of bread cut in half and used as a plate during a feast. Royalty would eat their fancy meat and the centre of the loaves for their dripping and the rest would be passed on to the servants. All meat offcuts and offal would be cooked as a stew and served in the bread plate. Mjølner has taken this next level.
The kitchen roasts the bread from the middle of the loaf with spring onion, garlic, thyme and beef fat to make a crumb. Once the trencher is filled with meat (and a dollop of horseradish sour cream for good measure), it’s “shined up” with a meat sauce poured over everything, then it’s topped with soft herbs and the extra-golden bread crumbs. It is sublime and could feed two or three people.
Pig’s Head Terrine:
Divine – I also ate this on both visits. The pistachio is a perfect match to the terrine. I could eat this terrine every day, even for brekky with an egg.
Charred Octopus Tentacles:
Rustic, tender and beautifully flavoured – second best squid I have eaten this year behind Aristotles.
Dry Aged Pork Belly:
I am never one to shy away from the pig’s belly, it is one of my all time fave meats. I loved this was soaked and cooked in milk but it was dry and this saddened me. The presentation was beautiful and (don’t tell anyone) I loved the kale with it and the sauce was divine but this one sadly failed.
I literally ordered this on my first visit because my mum ordered the pork belly (that I would have) and my stepdad ordered the Short Rib (my second choice). I was not a fan at all. Quail is so bloody difficult to eat and there was little I liked about it. But I put this down to the fact I am just not a quail fan. I asked the guys eating next to us what they thought when they finished theirs and they loved it.
Roasted Celeriac and Braised Short Rib:
These are two separate dishes but we ordered them together and the combination was perfect. I haven’t eaten much celeriac in my time but my dining partner on this visit suggested it and I just loved it. The garlic and maple and the crunch on top was all bloody delightful – I swilled from my animal horn of mead in delight at this yummy flavour. And the short rib was amazing on both visits although the prep was different. On my first trip the rib came with celtuce and the celery lettuce added a nice green addition to the meal but I definitely preferred the short rib with the Jerusalem artichoke. The meat shed off the bone just by looking at it. Tender AF!
Both the desserts were tasty and we enjoyed them on our first visit but desserts are not Mjølner’s specialty and neither were highlights of the visit. The rice pudding stood out for me out of the two – anything with salted caramel will find a place in my heart (and waistline).
Mjølner is one of my favourite venues of 2017. The attention to detail and love the owners have put into this venue makes it all the more special and if you love whiskey then there is no better place for you in Sydney. I will return for more. Þakka fyrir.
If you have made it this far you deserve praise for reading, I tried to cut a few 100 words and just couldn’t. A venue this unique deserves attention, respect and a thorough review, so thanks.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
PH: 0422 263 226
267 Cleveland St, Redfern NSW 2016
HOURS: Tue – Sat: 5 – 12am, Sun 12 – 10pm
BAR: Fully licensed
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Check with Venue
KID FRIENDLY: Not really
*** This meal was paid for TWICE, loved it so much I went back for more ***