Norse Gets Better, or Does it?

I fell in love with Norse, the Nordic influenced restaurant in Harrogate three years ago when they opened as the evening switch over of the daytime café Baltzersens. Like any love affair, there’s the possibility it would fade, but having been back several times since, it has not, not even when the head chef Murray Wilson left. However, recently things changed radically.

Norse decided to go as a stand-alone which was a surprise when they were doing so well with accolades and awards rolling in. And what about the cost of a move on this scale? A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign plus private investment, however, sorted out the money side once they had secured the location on Swan Road in the former Mirabelle (another of my great favourites).

So what has changed? The understated jeans and lumberjack shirts remain, but the beards, for the most part, have gone; the front of house crew is no longer just blokes and the menu still offers just 11 dishes plus snacks. The significant difference though is the décor; it is all grown up and serious and quite rightly so; the stripped-back industrialised simplicity of the café wouldn’t work here.

 

My Norse favourite of flavoured schnapps and a bowl of nutty grains to kick off dinner had gone but replaced with two great snacks of a fresh radish and seaweed butter or linseed crisps with pickled beetroot and an ever-so-slightly bitter sorrel emulsion. An exceptional Palomino Fino Sherry ordered alongside lived up to its promise of being expressive, saline and moreish. There is a well-researched gin menu and carefully thought through wine list of less common varietals (note wine by the glass only comes in small quality-over-quantity 125ml measures).

 

The abandonment of listing dishes as starters, mains, pudds, which I so liked the first time, is now pretty much old hat; everyone is on that one to the point of annoyance as not many carry it off as well as here. Choosing three savoury plates is recommended with the promise of ordering more if you are left hungry, which I doubt you will. From Ken’s Salad to the top-dog dish (and star of the evening for the accomplished cooking) of yeast glazed short rib of beef, Jansson’s Temptation and greens they cover all bases read on

 

Norse, 28A Swan Road, Harrogate, HG1 2SA. 01423 313400, norserestaurant.co.uk.

Open: Wednesday to Saturday, 12–2pm; Tuesday to Saturday, 5–9pm. Dinner for two with snacks, sherry, two glasses of wine each £84.80.