Genki

Genki desu ka?元気ですか?Or Genki for short is the closest thing to “How are you?” in English.  But in Japanese it literally means, “Are you fine/healthy?”

One of the newest  addition to Oslo’s restaurant scene is Genki (元気). A japanese restaurant located at Vika terasse not far from the main street of Oslo Karl Johans gate and the Royal Palace. The restaurants head chef Vladimir Pak and his team mix the long and old nippon traditions smootly with Nordic flavours, giving you a taste voyage through traditional Kaiseki setting in a new and innovative way. They strive to use only Norwegian and Japanese produce that you can enjoy in a modern and pleasant environment.

Clock wise from top left: 1. Rice cracker with lemon and pepper, from the kaiseki menu. 2. Salmon tartar and wakame. 3. Maki with tuna tartar, ox tongue tartar and king crab. 4. Ceviche miso, from the kaiseki menu

At Genki you can lower your shoulders, relax and enjoy the staffs informal interaction with you, were they make sure that you will have and enjoy a wonderful and tasty experience. In Vladimir Pak hands you will surely get a quality meal, he secured a third place in the World Sushi Championship last year.

Kaiseki is a traditional multi course Japanese dinner. The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, and is analogous to Western haute cuisine. Genki offers three different menus for dinner, a fourteen course kaiseki menu, you can enjoy all fourteen or sample two or three. If you are vegan, you too can enjoy a few dishes too and if you are vegetarian you can enjoy a few more. They also serve a set three coarse meal and maki menu with a vegetarian option.

Price wise this place is decent. The fourteen course meal cost NOK 825,-  about US$ 98,-  or Euro 88,- in today’s currency exchange. You can see two of the dishes in the second picture from the top.

You can also go and enjoy lunch at Genki. The lunch menu is shorter and not so elaborate as the dinner menu, you have the choise of four meals to choose from. The bento box in picture above is from their lunch menu, crispy tonkatsu, ceviche miso with toasted pumpkin seeds, mixed salad with sesame dressing, vegetable maki, fried maki with salmon and steamed rice. As my bento box was placed in front of me, an older petite japanese lady came in the door. I could hear her say that she had just heard about the place and wanted to try it out, she happened to order the same as me. I could not help myself and as she was paying I popped by and asked her if she enjoyed her meal and how she would compare it to a traditional japanese meal. She said it was very tasty and she enjoyed it very much and it was a lot of food, she was not used to so much for lunch.

Vegetarian maki, Genki Vika terasse, Oslo, Analiza Gonzales, Japanese
Vegetarian maki

Genki shares a kitchen with Omakase by Alex Cabiao the newly opened Oslo version of the only Michelin stared sushi restaurant i Norway, Sabi Omakase in Stavanger wich is runned by Alex’s  previous apprentice Roger Askila Joya. The Oslo based Edomae style restaurant as the name suggests will be headed by Alex Cabiao the grand master of sushi here in Norway and among the top sushi chefs in the world. He has trained every renowned sushi chef in this Nordic country.

The team of chef at Genki right to left Jonathan Romano, Alex Cabiao, Mark Subia, Vladimir Pak

A not so known member of this Sushi family is Mark Jayson Subia who also is an apprentice of Alex. He won the Global Sushi Challenge in Oslo in 2015 and represented Norway in Tokyo. Praised by both Alex and Jonathan, they predict that we will hear more from this guy in the future.

I give this place a thumbs up and if you are in Oslo, Norway, I recommend that you come and visit these places.

Taqueria

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The Tex mex I got in California is whats closest to my heart. Every time I read about the new taco places that have been established in Oslo, I dream myself away to a time when I sat in the sun and got served pico-de gallo with homemade tortilla chips while waiting for my ordered.

My Boss and I went and tested Taqueria at Paleet in Oslo for lunch

Me: how would you classify the food you serve here, Tex mex, mexican mex?
Waiter: What do you mean?
Boss: You see she is a foodbloger.

Oh please someone hit me over the head with something hard and i just smiled and flushed. Yes I had to admit I wrote about food.

Waiter: Oh I see, it leans more towards the Californian style of coking what we serve here.
Me: Fun I have lived.

We order drinks while we try to decide what we want to eat. Ta difficult task for I would have loved to taste everything, so we asked the waiter what he would recommend

He suggested a the Taco Tasting platter with four different tacos and a quesedilla

When the waiter comes back with our drinks to our table, he places three different sauces the table, one tomatillo sauce, a tomato sauce and a Diablo sauce made of Habanero.
I was a little skeptical and this made me think of a time I was in Houston Texas and would taste different salsa from a local producer. “You should try this one, it is the same as what our toddlers eat” the lady at the store said with her southern twang. I tasted the toddler hot sauce and that was it, no more hot sauce for me that day.
I like spicy and hot, but I do not like pain a little tingle yes but not pain.
The waitress told us that there were tomatoes in the sauce, so it was not as strong as pure Habanero sauce he reassured us.I just had to test them, a teaspoon of each sauce.
I started from the right, the green first, then the red and finally yellow.
I had to take a huge breath after the yellow Habanero, it was reasonably strong, but I did not have to beg for milk.
The sauces were tasty and perfectly matched to the food.
We got two tacos in corn tortillas with delicious lobster salad, lime mayonnaise and crunchy fried onions and onechicken adobado, pico de gallo, manchego and oregano.
Two served in wheat tortillas with prawns, garlic, Habanero, mintslaw and tamarindsalsa and the other was with tender pulled pork, pineapple, red cabbage relish, onion and garlic chips
For our last dish we went vegetarian, quesedilla with Manchego, Portobello cream, truffle and corn.
I can not rally remember the food like this during my four years in California and
we concluded that Taqueria probably served a modern California Mexican menu, with little influence from around the world. Ha ha ha, I do not think truffle was something they had on their quesedillas at the Mexican cantina just across the road from the school I attended. Mint and tamarind are a combination I know from my favorite Indian restaurant in Hong Kong
Anyway, the food was delicious with interesting flavor combinations, but does not

recommend having Diablo sauce on everything. I think my taste buds were a bit shocked when I left that place.

I do not have any criticism or bombastic claims that this is not so and so because …. as some others have said about similar places in Oslo. Traditions are made to be broken, we evolve ,we explore and make use of the raw materials that are available.

Although I have lived in California for four years it does not mean that I am an expert on this type of food and besides, it was 22 years ago, things have changed over there just as it has done here at home.

Maybe we should call this Nouveau Mex instead 🙂

PS. I have googled the word after I wrote this post and it’s actually something called nouveau mex, ha ha ha and maybe a perfect description of Taqueria on Paleet in Oslo.