Channel your inner viking at Norsk Dor
If Ragnar Lothbrok and his lover Lagertha weren’t fictional characters in a TV series about Vikings, but rather a modern day couple who met on Tinder, their favourite bar would be Norsk Dor. But first, they’d need to find it.
Situated off Pitt Street, there are no obvious signs pointing you towards this subterranean, Nordic inspired bar and restaurant. Look carefully for the warm yellow lights at 70 Pitt St and enter through a large metal door. Make your way down the stairs to a long corridor. It will feel like a scene out of an Eli Roth film but I promise you, no one is getting hacked up Hostel style at the end of this story. These vikings are lovers, not fighters.
Listen out for the sound of chatty diners and relaxed hip hop music. You have arrived. Let your eyes adjust to the dimly lit restaurant and notice the simple, Scandinavian style. This is the second venture from the team behind Uncle Mings, the popular CBD Oriental bar. These guys have a knack for transforming basements into cool venues. In the main restaurant kangaroo hides hang over each chair with yellow drop pendant lights creating a nice, intimate space for diners.
Norsk Dor has been opened for less than a month but is already drawing a crowd. On this particular night the restaurant is packed so we take a seat at the bar. It’s the perfect vantage point to check out the handy work of bar manager, James Portellas behind the bar. The man knows how to make a mean cocktail. All of the classics are available ($20) but it’s the signature cocktail list that draws our attention. For starters, all five have some sort of citrus involved. From the martini style mix of Four Pillars gin, vermouth, dill and orange served in a beautiful crystal glass ($22) to the tall serve of Tanqueray Gin, mead, gomme and orange ($22). Yes mead, as in what every good viking should be drinking on a Thursday night out on the town.
The menu is a simple one-pager with dishes designed to share. We start with a gravalax piled on hard bread and topped with roe, dill and a side of mustard ($17). It’s light and goes well with the heaviness of the bone marrow dish ($17) we also order as a starter. The bone marrow looks striking served with rye and comes with a glass of akvavit, a popular Scandinavian spirit that cuts through the greasiness of the bone marrow.
For mains we follow the seafood and protein combination starting with the venison sampler plate ($44). The venison is prepared three ways: smoked, tenderloin and shoulder and served with root vegetables, fennel, berries and carrots. The cured king fish with red currants and all spice kipfler potatoes ($35) is a nice dish to share with the venison.
There are some interesting dessert options including a liquorice brulee but the goats curd cheesecake with ginger, honeycomb and blueberry ($11) is large and rich enough to share between two.
Whilst the food is quite well priced at Norsk Dor the drinks are a little on the expensive side. They have a really interesting list of craft beers that have been brewed exclusively for Norsk Dor by Breakaway Brewing Co Sydney. They range from $12-$14. Then there is the list of unique gins and vodkas available to order and a specialty whisky list. If bubbles is your thing you’ve only got two choices: a sparkling Ross Hill Vintage from Orange for $16 a glass or $65 a bottle. Or take a massive jump to Dom Perignon 2006 for $450. The wine list consists of predominately regional Australian drops with a couple from New Zealand wines. They range from $55 for a bottle of Marlbourough Sav Blanc to a $160 for a bottle of Sevenhill Shiraz from Clare Valley.
Norst Dor translates to “north door” and any door that leads us to great drinks, delicious food and a warm night of hospitality beckons us to enter. Add this cool, relaxed bar and restaurant to your must-try list.
b2/70 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
Open Mon – Sat 5pm – 12am