Scan Magazine | Restaurant of the Month | Norway
“Right now, root vegetables play a part in four different courses. Jerusalem artichoke, for example, is at its best, and the sea food is extra fresh because of the cold water. We use local and regional ingredients, but there’s no rigid neo-Nordic regime in Astral – only light Nordic food with tonnes of inspiration from abroad. The chefs cook what they think is best at any given time, so I can never really guarantee what I’ll be serving tomorrow,” admits Ousland. Two common mistakes, however, have been rooted out from the very beginning. “When we go to other restaurants, there are mainly two things we hate,” says Ousland. “The first thing is when you don’t get full enough and have to buy more food late in the night. The second thing, which is really quite common, is when you get way too full. You just want to go home to sleep instead of having fun.”
Interior for the industrial Astral aims to strike a balance between the two extremes – too hungry and too full – and serve food that inspires a night out. That does not mean you are supposed to finish up quickly and leave; the relaxing bar lounge, situated as an island in the middle of the restaurant, is ideal for a drink both before and after dinner.
“We never wanted the style to be too industrial, so we’ve softened it with mellow, cosy colours like brown, grey and green. Low chairs and tables also create a chilled-out vibe, in which you can explore our wine list, which consists of carefully selected wine producers from Burgundy, Piemonte and California; taste Scandinavian craft beer; order some small dishes from the daily menu, and enjoy the fireplace,” suggests Ousland. The fireplace is one of many interior details designed by the Astral team itself. “Again, the vision was to create the place we always wanted. That means good food and drinks, but we also needed some unique items in the restaurant,” says Ousland. “One of the most eye-catching objects, which we designed ourselves, is the large chandelier in metal. It’s a statement piece. The process of finding all the right things has been a real treasure hunt, which has really improved our googling skills.”
have to go alone, but there will always be someone new you can get to know – just like at a dinner party. Some people think it’s some sort of ‘Tinder table’ for single people, but that’s not true,” Ousland affirms and laughs. Now that the Astral team has had a few months to warm up, they have launched a Saturday brunch. “The brunch is a smaller version of the five-course menu. I think it will make a nice addition to Oslo’s riverside,” says Ousland. For more information, please visit: www.astraloslo.com
Dine with strangers at Table X Another idea they wanted to try out in Oslo was social dining. After a research trip to Copenhagen, where they could see the concept up close, they created Table X. “Table X is designed for those who want to dine with strangers. You don’t
Left: Owner and head chef Steffen Hansen has done everything he can to create the place he always wanted to visit. Top right: Astral’s food was named the 15th best in Norway by White Guide. Right: Low tables and chairs create a relaxing vibe.
Issue 95 | December 2016 | 105