7 Dec 2014


Oslo, Norway

Burger Joint is a newly opened restaurant behind Oslo's boardwalk Aker Brygge. It is already well established for selling the city's most expensive burger of £ 30 (excluding fries). I had only one day in the city, and braved the cold and rainy weather to make my way to this little restaurant. After stepping over a construction site, we managed to get inside, and picked one of the few tables. I'm in two minds about the interior, as I think they have managed to achieve a cool and casual night-time atmosphere, but the way it's been done is a bit forced. They have cut up an Airstream trailer and used it to frame the kitchen and bar. This idea is just not practical or logical at all, but I appreciate the effort. The rest of the space is cosy, with brick walls, timber furniture and a decorated tin ceiling. We ordered and paid at the counter, and after some deliberation I decided to go for the Less is More w/Cheese and not the famous pricey number with foie gras. On the side I of course had to try the Fries Royale, served with black truffle oil and parmesan. They have a small, but interesting selection of beers. I had a glass of the wonderfully tasty Amundsen Pale Ale on tap, from a local Oslo brewery. The service was unfriendly and rushed, even though the place was only half full that evening. At least the food arrived swiftly, and we dug into the juicy burger. It was seasoned with way too much pepper, so much so that it was spicy. I haven't really been posed with this problem before, so I found it difficult to judge the taste of the meat and the toppings. I'm pretty sure they were good beneath all the pepper. The consistency was perfectly juicy, and the bun remained intact throughout the meal. Burger Joint has also imprinted their logo as a burnt stamp on the bread; a nice little gimmick. While the burger was good and not amazing, the fries stood out as the winner. Even though you find truffle oiled fries all over London these days, these ones were something else. The fries themselves had the ideal in-between thickness, and were super crispy while still keeping a little bit of soft potato inside. The truffle was blended with mayo to form a heavenly sauce, and the parmesan grated over it. To me, the trip would be worth it for the fries only.

The day after my meal, I saw an article in one of the biggest newspapers in Norway about how Burger Joint had decided to remove their foie gras burger, The Fifth Taste, from the menu. This was due to pressure from online activists, and Burger Joints instagram account is filled with comments asking them to remove it from the burger. Their catchphrase 'Forbidden Taste' might have less relevance now that the foie gras is off the menu, but they will no doubt win over some of their critics for responding to the reproach on social media.  

1 Dec 2014


New York City, New York

Belonging to renowned New York chef and restaurateur John De Lucie, the Lion sits comfortably as a partner to the New York heavyweights:The Waverly Inn, Minetta Tavern and the legendary Monkey Bar. With a discreet entrance just north of Washington Square Park, the Lion is a charming enclave in the West Village reminiscent of an English tavern with heavy emphasis on dark wood features, round wood chandeliers and a mixture of photos on the walls. Unlike a tavern though, the Lion boasts a beautifully adorned central dining room in a double height space, and different to your typical English tavern, the seats are very comfortable with tables well spaced making the ambience cosy yet spacious. On the matter of brunch, which is when I visited the Lion after a very long night of partying, the experience was par excellence and the food provided the much-needed nourishment for recuperation. To start I ordered the Bloody Mary (the non spicy version), which is sufficiently spicy in its own right, so I can’t imagine what the spicy one contains! It was the perfect pick me up, delicious and fulfilling. Starters were ordered to share and we got the shrimp cocktail, which was very fresh with an excellent cocktail sauce (not as good at Ed’s Lobster Bar though). On a lighter note, we also ordered the heirloom salad that came served with fresh avocado, as well as the avocado on toast that proved to be an exceptional choice. What impressed however were the muffins that were served as a precursor to the meal, a substitute to your ordinary bread and butter basket. The muffins, served with maple honey butter, were freshly baked, warm and divine, and worth placing as a menu item. For mains I ordered the Eggs Royale, while a friend went for the Eggs Benedict with crispy bacon, and my other friend ordered the omelette with salmon and fine herbs. All choices were excellently cooked and beautifully presented, where special mention must be attributed to the hollandaise sauce, which was spot on perfection in flavour and texture. With three starters down, a main and a Bloody Mary, we were unfortunately too full to proceed onto desserts and concluded this great meal with a shot of espresso. The Lion lives up to its hype and it comes as no surprise as being one the hottest brunch spots in the city needing a reservation of up to three weeks in advance. Totally worth it.

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The Lion