Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Far East, Oslo; A far cry away from real Thai food

Far East is a budget Thai-Vietnamese restaurant in the Oslo downtown area. I have had a number of meals here, without being too disappointed. The visit I had in February, however, was a slightly disappointing experience.

Location: BBBB-

Far East is located in Bernt Ankersgate, a side street to Storgata, Oslo's second main street. A rather dull downtown area, but very close to trams, buses and with reach of the city's main subway stations.

Service: BBBB

Decent service from the local staff, but hardly personalized and definitely not with a smile. You do not have to wait long to order or to be served.

Interior and atmosphere: BBB

Far East is located in an old building and the interior is an eclectic mix of different styles. Parts of the old interior is mixed with period furniture and Chinese / East Asian artifacts. Neither charming nor elegant, as all elements seemed to be placed accidentally and not according to any plan or idea.

We were seated comfortably enough, but we were a little short of space by and around the table. Cutlery and napkins were placed on table - self service.

Food: BBBB-

I ordered a spring roll, followed by a fried noodle dish with chicken. It was inexpensive by Norwegian standards, i.e. less than 25 Euros for the two dishes.

Spring rolls were promising and raised expectations on what else to come. Deliciously crispy on the outside, without being over cooked, and the vegetable filling was perfect. Well seasoned and slightly undercooked as a perfect spring roll filling would be.

Spring roll starter was followed by an enormous heap of cappuccino coloured noodles with vegetables and sliced chicken meat. Good texture, good bite on pasta and vegetables, tender chicken meat, but where the hell was the taste? A little salt, but no pepper, no other contrasting flavours, and no heat - very dull, as a matter of fact.

What to do? I poured soy and hot chili and garlic sauce over it, in a quantity that made my stomach ache the next day, but it really made the food a little bit more interesting, but hardly with the delicate aromas high quality East Asian food may harbour.

So fried noodles is definitely a dish the cook at Far East do not handle very well. You are well advised to choose something else from its menu, and you may have far more luck than I had. I left very disappointed.

Beverage: BBBB

Red wine and white wine are, in my opinion, not the best choice to Thai food. I chose a pint of lager to my spring rolls and fried noodles. It was a refreshing brew, slightly bitter and fresh bubbles.

Rating the Far East experience: BBBB- (3,79 points)

The Far East meal was a slightly disappointing experience. Good entre, but the main dish was a far cry from the intriguing flavours of the East Asian cuisine. Little, if any taste, and in need of an industrial quantity of chili to be of any culinary interest. I know that the staff at Far East can do much better, but if you judge it by its noodles, you should definitely try another Thai restaurant.

Far East
Bernt Ankers gate 4, 0183 Oslo
+47 22 20 56 28

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(Photo: English: Fried noodle, Jakarta, Indonesia (日本語: 中華風のミゴレン) by: Midori)

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