OK – let’s just kick off this review by stating that Norsk Dor s in the running for possible Spooning Favourite Venue of 2016. I had a bloody fantastic time and was constantly wowed. It nearly has the best food of the year, definite best dish of the year but what is the winning factor for this amazing place is the experience. It is unique and has stuck in my head ever since, whenever I think about it I smile. Huge thanks to Renae at The Atticism for making this experience happen.
NORSK DOR VENUE:
Some of my favourite venues are the ones that do not have a giant Coke-Styed Sign in neon blaring their entry so everyone knows where they are. It is more the smaller boutique places with complete lack of pretentiousness and need for everyone to know about them that make my fave’s list. There is a reason Shady Pines is my favourite bar in Sydney and Norsk Dor just enters the same realm of awesome. All there is on the street level is a black and grey drawing of a deer, of sorts. Then what appears to be stairs that disappear down into a basement fire-escape corridor. OK – not the best first impression, I actually thought we were going to be kidnapped and sold into beautiful-people sex slavery.
Alas we were not. As you walk down the stairs a creep factor enters the fray as piped sounds of animal howling actually do make you believe you are about to be bagged and tagged. As you walk through a lengthy corridor underground you start thinking “what the fuck am I doing?” then you come to a door, a heavy locked door with a buzzer next to it. You press said buzzer and get the message “one moment” before a wait person opens a door and you enter a basement Nordic culinary oasis.
DESIGN AND SERVICE:
The design is elegant and warming. Lots of wood and soft lighting, a touch of industrial and a heavy splash of the Nords. Every seat has an animal skin on it – literally – do not take vegans! The only thing that disappointed me was that the staff weren’t all nearly naked Vikings with horned helmets and swinging Thor hammers :). But they do not disappoint – we were basically only served by very attentive Swedish ladies. The staff looked after us well, one other gentlemen did not enjoy his experience though – he decided to have a go at the staff towards the end of the meal, our gossipy ears did not pick up the convo but we both thought the guy was being a douchebag.
NORSK DOR COCKTAILS:
We started with cocktails and as I always seem to be doing of late, I ask the wait staff what I should drink (and eat). The above cocktail was a special for the night and as I am a goose I did not write it down. It was citrus heavy and the alcohol was strong! I have a feeling it was Akavit. All cocktails are $22- (FYI) and while the food works out affordable the drinks will cost you – I bought a glass of wine for $16- and while it was awesome I nearly cried :).
My cocktail, on the other hand, the wait lady said I would enjoy and then she listed out….
Tanqueray n10 / vermouth / dill / house pickles.
To me I was not happy to order this one – I usually dive in for anything fruity and sweet but the wait lady said this was amazing. And she was not wrong. It was strong and the vermouth made it. I love any form of gin and that minty gin cocktail paired perfectly with pickled vegetables. Little vegetable, sip of cocktails, repeat – I got this.
HOW THE FOOD WORKS:
A few things you need to know about the food. Firstly it is a (mostly) set menu. Don’t freak out at the mains. They are all around $65- but this includes EVERY SINGLE ENTREE as part of the sharing degustation set menu. Just pick your main and then wait for all the amazing entrees to arrive. And don’t be surprised if those entrees aren’t better than your main.
ROUND ONE ENTREES:
All the food rounds have suggested drinks and trust me – they all work wonders.
Our round one entrees started out in insane fashion – the odd thing was we weren’t expecting all of them – they just kept arriving so we just kept eating.
The first was a fresh Sydney Rock Oyster with a Cider Sorbet – I got giddy with excitement for the rest of the meal because this was sublime.
Then came a Smoked Cheddar plate with figs, pears and a cherry chutney. The Smoked Cheddar was actually a King Island – one I have had a lot of times in the past but for some reason never tasted better.
Next up was a delightful Swedish meatball each with a “brown” sauce, a dollop of what I am certain was pomegranate and some dill potatoes. I could have been done with these three dishes and still raved about the place.
But then came out my meal of 2016. My favourite dish of the year, a dish I will return for alone. Bone Marrow with soft herbs and rye bread and a side of Akavit. I literally giggled in a stupor when this arrived. I LOVE BONE MARROW but had never seen so much of it and the pairing with the Akavit was nearly as good as the pairing of Bacon and Eggs – I experienced culinary enlightenment.
ROUND TWO ENTREES:
We then moved to round two of the entrees. This kicked off with Gravlax, served with dill and brown mustard and topped with salmon roe. LOVED!! My guest for the evening wasn’t a huge fan of the mustard but it worked for me. If you aren’t familiar with gravlax – it’s a Nordic dish (derrr) consisting of raw salmon. It’s cured in salt, sugar, and dill. It is usually served as an appetiser, sliced thinly and accompanied by hovmästarsås (literally steward sauce, also known as gravlaxsås), a dill and mustard sauce, either on bread of some kind, or with boiled potatoes. We had no bread or spuds for accompaniment but I will take salmon roe as a substitute any day of the week. That light crunch and pop with the tenderness of the salmon saw my eyes roll back.
The last of round two of entrees settled into what I would call a more light palette-cleansing dish. Goat’s cheese with beetroot and honey. I regularly eat beetroot and goat’s cheese but I will most definitely be adding a little drizzle of honey from now on.
NORSK DOR MAINS:
There are six mains to choose from – they actually change daily based on what is available – I doubt they would all change but they are seasonal and based on what is the best produce for the day. I gather they have about twenty dishes on rotation pending what is available and fresh on the day.
Now in full disclosure – while I thought the mains were nice, beautiful even, I found they did not match the impressiveness of the entrees, my dining partner thought the same. I have pondered on this for ages since we dined and had a similar experience at another venue this week. I have to put it down to the amount of entrees we were served. On reflection I do believe if we had one or two entrees, to share, my love for the mains would have been higher, but as we had so much it detracted from the supposed “hero” dish.
My main was a regular order for me – Pork Belly. This delightfully tender serving was served with artichoke and a poached cherry sauce with jus. It melted in the mouth but was lacking in no crispy crackling. I understand not all pork belly dishes are served with crackling but I thought this one would benefit from it.
My dining guest, Nat, wanted a dish out of her comfort zone so was persuaded to order the Venison, a meat she had never eaten before. It was served with a celeriac puree, onion and artichoke. I got to eat some and enjoyed it but thought it needed more of a sauce. Nat found it too tough – I thought it was cooked to perfection, did not notice the tough.
NORSK DOR DESSERT:
There is only one dessert at the end of the mains and it costs extra – it is $12- and it is a Swedish chocolate cake for two. We were offered it complimentary so indulged. I have no idea how we fit it in, it was, however, simply delicious but was really a chocolate cake with ice-cream, berries and sauce, nothing to to stop The Crusades over.
The experience we had was sublime on nearly every level. I would rate the entrees a 5/5, a 6/5 for the bone marrow and the mains a 4/5. I would also rate the dessert a 4/5. Drinks were a 4.5/5, service 4/5 and the experience itself a 5/5.
Averaging those scores out this one scores a 5/5 spoons for me. I am paying to return and bring the parental units for a pre-Xmas dinner. That pretty much sums up my thoughts. Thanks to everyone who saw our meals happen, bravo!
Norsk Dor Deets:
BAR: Yes – exceptional but pricey
KID FRIENDLY: Definitely Not
Monday to Friday 1130am – 3pm
Monday to Friday 5pm-10pm
Bar & Bar menu
Monday to Friday 1130am-12am
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.