There’s been quite a buzz about Norse, the Scandi-inspired restaurant in the centre of Harrogate. Not least after Jay Rayner of the Observer turned up and gave it a major thumbs up.
It began as Baltzersons, a daytime café on Oxford Street and then morphed into Norse at night.
Chef Murray Wilson is a 2008 Masterchef Professional finalist. The waiters with beards and check shirts are the epitome of hip. Décor is equally ‘of the moment’ as Rayner described Norse: white, metro tiles, scrubbed wooden tables – you get the picture. The whole place hums, no doubt on the back of its glowing reviews.
The menu has eight dishes - no starters, mains or side orders, instead you’re advised to order two or three plates – lighter dishes are 8.95, more substantial dishes are 11.95 to 13.95, or the whole table can choose a tasting menu of six small courses.
Four of us chose two dishes each so we had the menu well covered: salad; poached cod, pigs cheek, slow cooked parsnip, wild duck, wild venison.
The dishes are made up of any number of ingredients. Some you will have heard of but I’d wager pickled pear, salt baked turnips, burdock, lardo, juniper and venison jam are not on many people’s Monday night in front of the telly menu. Much curing and pickling. Much work as you might expect from someone marinaded in Masterchef
Cod comes with a dill and buttermilk sauce; pig’s cheek is braised in beer; wild duck has a smoked duck sauce; venison has smoked potato puree and a single whole parsnip has been three hour braised in brown butter and given a ‘broth of autumn leaves’.
I’ve no idea what autumn leaves taste like. I still didn’t know even after I had eaten (drunk?) them. Mildly spiced, mushroomy, earthy, is the best I could come up with and it went well enough with the baked parsnip, kale and toasted buckwheat, but I won’t be sweeping up the garden leaves for the stock pot any time soon.
Puddings were poached (not quite long enough) pears and white chocolate sorbet with a scatter of nuts and seeds which was fine.
We liked Norse. We’d go back again. We liked their adventurous use of ingredients. We liked the bowls of nuts and seeds to start though they did turn up rather too regularly after that. We didn’t much go for the tear-up-conventions no starters, no mains conceit (we ended up with smaller, cheaper plates followed by larger, dearer plates) and the cod in buttermilk was stone cold. Noma it ain’t. But still, good for them, opening up something so original. A definite addition to the Harrogate revival.
22 Oxford Street, Harrogate, HG1 1PUTel 01423 202363
Review by Jill, 15 January 2015blog comments powered by Disqus