Pjoltergeist, Rostedsgate 15 B, 0178 Oslo
Pjoltergeist is a former biker bar and an unpretentious hole in the wall restaurant serving Icelandic/Norwegian traditional cuisine with strong Japanese and Korean influences. You don't stumble across Pjoltergeist- they don't market the restaurant in any way, and only take bookings via sms. Reservations can be made if you order the 'Zuper Pakki', a seasonal tasting menu of numerous dishes.
The space is unfussy, cosy and casual. The crowd is young, quite arty and seemingly mostly social rather than business. Food is served on Mummi-troll plates and Pjoltergeist's image seems to be one of deliberate non-conformist contrariness.
Pjoltergeist is not for the faint-hearted. Experimental concoctions include whale sashimi and broccoli salad with torn moose heart. Sea urchin cooked in its shell with fennel, and 'live' salad. The food is weird but wonderful and unpretentious, of high quality and imaginative presentation. Some of the compositions seemed slightly gimmicky in their deliberate oddness, and the sequence of dishes served did seem random. We didn't know whether we were being served a starter or a main, nor what would be next. If you like being constantly surprised, Pjoltergeist has it covered.
A highlight was the pan-fried turbot with bacon roasted brussel sprouts and the sautéed sea urchin. We were less impressed with the Korean kimchi soup served cold, it was exactly how that sounds. Weird. However, as the rest of the dishes were both delicious and interesting, the couple of stumbles did not much diminish the experience.
A high was the seriously sophisticated drinks program, curated with rare knowledge and precision. We enjoyed very succesful recommendations of Icelandic Einstök White Ale, a truly impressive Sauvignon petillante from Pet' Nat' that we'd crawl on our hands and feet to get again, and a crystal-clear Haiti white rhum.
A Zupper Pakki will set you back 750 NOK plus drinks, so this isn't the cheapest place in town. You do get a lot of weird and wonderful food for your money, though.
Who to take and overall impression:
Pjoltergeist is unapologetically unpolished, and a true rough diamond on Oslo’s restaurant scene. Take your adventurous friends, but leave the vegans and food intolerants at home. Pjoltergeist may be too theatrically eccentric for clients, unless your clients are very cool and a bit weird.