Norse has a new home and I was lucky enough to be invited, which gave me immediate flash backs to 3 years ago when I was sitting down to one of the first plates of food served by the Scandi restaurant almost exactly 3 years before. To have seen Norse and the team flourish has been a pleasure and I was thrilled to be one of the first to eat in their new home.
It’s been quite a journey for Norse, Paul and the whole team as Harrogate has gone through what can only be described as a chain takeover, more big chain restaurants have opened in the last 12 months than the 4 years previously. However, as always the indies shine brighter when faced with the mediocrity of big businesses. And truly, no one in Harrogate shines as brightly as Norse, from the food on the plates, to the art on the walls and the service of the staff.
Norse, and it’s sister scandi coffee joint Baltzersens are a homage to Paul’s Norwegian Grandma, creatively merging together local ingredients with the essence of Scandinavia.
Before heading over to the dining area, we we’re presented with a exceptionally moreish cod roe and salmon parcels along side celeriac crisps with smoked curd, sat a-top a tiny slate like glassy barnacles by the sea. Without doubt the most unique way to start a meal I’ve ever been fortunate to try.
Not to mentioned it was paired with a really fantastic glass of fizz from the Champagne Concept, the local indie bubbles specialists that supply Norse. I decided to take the opportunity to snap chef Simon Jewitt in action, plating up the most delicious looking scallops…
Once we had polished off the fizz, it was time to move through to the elegant dining area, which is decorated in a sleek, sophisticated style that makes for a relaxed dining experience whether in a large group like we were, or more intimate pairings.
First up I had to order a glass of the 2014 Viogner, a particular favourite of mine and one I was thrilled to see on the menu. It really is the perfect scandi food pairing in my humble opinion. Paired with my lovely wine, in stemless glass which I love, were two more foodies there with tmrw magazine. Whilst I was absolutely there for the food, the company certainly made the evening more enjoyable!
The menu at Norse recommended 3-4 savoury plates per guest, to ensure we got to know the menu, we we’re presented with a selection of each to taste and share, something I was more than a little excited about. Having eaten at Norse numerous times, both in blogger capacity and as a fully fledged paying customer, I had an inkling of the level of deliciousness soon to be placed in front of me, but the dishes were more than I could have dreamed.
I started melt in your mouth pork cheek, accompanies by a mustard glazed artichoke and pumpkin seed puree, in true Norse style this was something completely new to me, and was delicious!
Then the star of the evening for me arrived, a circle of tender lambs shoulder, topped with slivers of fennel, cultured cream (another first for me) and the most beautiful beetroot sauce which was the perfect mix of sweet & tart. The final addition to this triumph of a dish was the topping of oats, which gave it a nuttier flavour and a fantastic texture.
Following closely behind in favourite stakes was the hassleback potatoes, an 80’s throwback that is very much on trend, the Norse take on it did not disappoint with Keen’s cheddar and broccoli, which to me, is surely the greatest comfort food in the world.
One of the best things about the food was the lack of pretence or grandeur, instead all the focus was on the flavouring, textures and dish appeal.
I won’t lie, there was a fantastic glazed short rib, which was melt in the mouth perfection, so good in fact that I forgot to take a photo! You’ll just have to take my word for it!
Norse do fish so, so well, and the new menu didn’t disappoint, a pairing of turbot and asparagus accompanied by decadent, rich flavoured mussel sauce, something I would happily pour on every meal, for the rest of time!
I never thought of myself as a side dish/salad kinda girl, but the delicate bowl of Ken’s Salad, packed with greens sourced from the famous Ken (ask the staff about him when you visit) was the perfect light pairing for meal, fresh, crisp and full of flavour.
The world of desserts is usually, in my humble option, a swath of brownies, Creme brûlée& tartlets and if I’m honest despite my sweet tooth, are usually over looked when dining out. Not at Norse, at Norse I would have every dessert time and time again given the chance. These aren’t any desserts; they’re Norse desserts!
The most beautifully presented chocolate ganache was placed in front of me, light, mouse texture, paired with a tart buttermilk sorbet & nestled on top was a tangy yet sweet blackcurrent purée, truly the cherry on top! Finished with a dusting of roasted buckwheat & a micro herb garnish, his was without doubt one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
If for some ungodly reason chocolate is not your thing, along came it’s fruitier mate, a deconstructed skyr cheescake with gin soaked strawberries, sorbet and tonka bean meringue, which mum rightly suggested, to the agreement of the table, should just be bagged up and sold on the way out.
I could go on for 1000’s more words about my love for Norse, for the culture it’s created, the passion of the staff, the creative mastery of the chefs, instead I’ll simply say this; Norse is the best place to eat in Harrogate, hands down.
It may not be big, but it is mighty, in all ways.
Its stylish decor is the perfect compliment to the food served and the attention to detail is evident at every turn.
So cheers Norse, to Paul, Simon and the rest of the team, it’s a triumph!
Norse is located at 28A Swan Road, Harrogate and is open for lunch Wednesday-Saturday, 12pm-2pm & dinner Tuesday – Saturday 5pm-9pm.