As tradition dictates, husband of feitpingvin and I celebrated my recent birthday by going out to eat at a gourmet restaurant. This year, we went to Le Canard (anda/the duck), which has one star in the Michelin guide.
The restaurant itself is located in Briskeby, one of the posh parts of Oslo. The dining room is spacious and airy; there is ample space between the tables. The tables are also spacious (you're not elbow-to-elbow with the person next to you, and there's plenty of room for the food and wine), and the chairs are very comfortable. Leading to the dining room is a bar with a fireplace; it is possible to come just to sit at the bar and enjoy a glass of wine or whatever.
Anyway, we started the evening with a glass of champagne, which we sipped as we studied the menu. This was served along with a little plate of thin potato chips with a truffle cream; I was told that the truffles used were winter truffles from Piemonte. I really don't know what truffles are supposed to taste like (for some reason, I think "mushroomy") and while the cream did have a distinct flavor, it wasn't an overwhelming flavor...
We ended up ordering the 6-course menu of the week. No regrets at all! Here's what we got:
Warm king crab salad, topped with foam. A tasty start!
Butternut squash soup, scallop (from Trøndelag), mushroom & truffle ravioli
Wine: Albarino 2007 Lagar de Costa Rias Baixas
This was my favorite dish. Everything was perfect - the soup was pleasantly sweet and creamy, the ravioli was perfectly cooked, and the ravioli filling was very tasty, as with the scallop (I love scallops!). I enjoyed the wine almost as much as I enjoyed the food; it's one I plan on buying in the future. It had some fruity sweetness but at the same time it had a pleasant bitterness (grapefruit/pomelo peel) that made it a perfect match to complement the sweetness of the butternut squash. It's also something I could very easily and happily quaff on its own.
Roast halibut (from Langesund), braised endive, caper & clam beurre noisette
Wine: Chablis Dom. Chantemerle 2006
Halibut is one of my favorite fishes. I wasn't overly crazy about the sides, but the fish itself and the bit of shellfish that was with the side dishes were perfect. The wine was an excellent match, but it's not one I could drink on its own.
Cocoa crusted sweetbreads, parsnip puree & licorice jus
Wine: dom. Michel Juillet Mercurey Clos des Barraults 2005
OK, so sweetbreads are the thymus gland of the animal (veal in this case) and that kind of thing freaks some people out, but I think they're quite OK. The sweetbreads we were served were very delicate and pleasant, and the parsnips and liquorice sauce were an excellent complement. The wine was also an excellent match. I'm also interested in buying some of the wine. It was served from a half bottle; our waiter told us that wine matures faster in a half bottle.
Cleaning the palate
Shaved ice flavored with Earl grey tea and cranberry. Mmm...
Fourth (main) course
Venison from Røros with caramelized apple, red cabbage, chestnut & red wine jus
Wine: Chocapalha 2001 Vinho Tinto
Delicious! The venison was so tender that it melted in my mouth. The only "complaint" I have is that the wine (which was amazing!) was better suited to the caramelized apples than to the venison itself. Not that it was a bad match, but I think it could have been a little better. (And yeah, I want to buy this wine too! :)
Cheese from Affineur H. Mons
Wine: S.A. Prüm 2007 Riesling Spätlese Graacher Himmel
Cheese is one of those things where we always have to make sure they don't throw in anything that will make us sick. I can't eat blue cheese, husband of feitpingvin can't eat chèvre. So I got the chèvre, he got the Roquefort, along with some other very tasty cheeses (don't remember what they were... grr... there's one in particular I'd like to sink my teeth into again), as well as some nut bread and apricot jam. Yum yum! And the Riesling... sweet but not nasty sweet, balancing well with the tanginess of the cheeses. I love how Riesling is versatile like that...
A little cone filled with a refreshing apple and basil sorbet. This was quite cute!
Chocolate crème brulee, passionfruit sorbet & foam
Wine: Capitel Santa Libera 2004 Recioto Classico
The chocolate crème brûlée was amazing, and I really liked that they didn't spare the vanilla. The passionfruit sorbet was pleasantly tart; I'd like to be able to make something like that at home! It was served with some kind of crispy chocolate "ribbon." We also got some kind of passionfruit mousse topped with chocolate cream. The wine was nice too...
We ended the evening with coffee - I got amaretto coffee and husband of feitpingvin got an Irish coffee - and petits fours.
It was a very enjoyable evening. As were were on our way out, husband of feitpingvin and our waiter discussed whiskies (he had commented the bottles that were at the bar), and our waiter let husband of feitpingvin taste a Bruichladdich from 1973 :) He says it was absolutely lovely.
My general impression is that Le Canard is more on the "traditional" side of gourmet, unlike Restaurant Oscarsgate (also with one Michelin star) is a bit more "playful creative" (we got a gourmet mini hot dog there, among other things). Not that I'm going to complain about it ;-) It's nice to try the different places with their different ways of doing things...
Next up... Bagatelle? Or The Fat Duck? (to continue on the duck theme hehe)