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FOOD & DRINK

Norsk Dor Is Sydney's Mysterious New Underground Nordic Restaurant

Hiding under Pitt Street is a snuggly corridor of hearty Nordic nosh.
By Imogen Baker
May 17, 2016
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Norsk Dor Is Sydney's Mysterious New Underground Nordic Restaurant

Hiding under Pitt Street is a snuggly corridor of hearty Nordic nosh.
By Imogen Baker
May 17, 2016
  shares

Winter is a notoriously difficult time for the hospitality industry. The month of May, teetering on the cusp of winter, is not the best month to open a restaurant unless, of course, that restaurant has a Nordic theme. While Sydneysiders rug up and rooftop bars citywide bunker down, Norsk Dor has set up shop on Pitt Street. And who better to guide us through the chilly months than a cosy Scandinavian-inspired restaurant?

Norsk Dor isn't 'Nordic' as you may imagine it — you won't find any allusions to Vikings (aside from that fur draped on the back of your chair). But you will find a hearty menu, chock full of fresh produce and protein. The venue is inspired by the years head chef Damien Ruggiero spent in Sweden, where he lived on a salmon farm with no power and no gas — but plentiful salmon and potatoes. What he learned? Ingredients are king, and they certainly are at Norsk Dor, where the menu fluctuates not with the season but with the availability of good produce. Each component is sourced close to home, such as salmon from Mount Cook in New Zealand and kingfish from Manly.

"For us, it's about respecting the raw ingredients, getting the freshest produce, keeping it simple and using Scandinavian traditional techniques (like curing) and reinventing that for Australian produce,' says general manager Stephen Byrne (formerly of fellow basement dweller Uncle Ming's in Wynyard).

Norsk Dor consists of an closely-linked bar and a kitchen, intimate not just because of the atmospheric lighting that cloaks the whole venue, but in the way they interact. The kitchen feeds, shares ingredients with and inspires the cocktail and bar menus. Tired of olives and crostini for bar food? This bar menu is a challenge to the palette, an adventurous little taste of the restaurant menu with dishes like salmon on crisp rye bread, king crab pate and quail egg.

Visiting Norsk Dor is a bit of an 'experience' — especially in a rather whatever part of the CBD. A nondescript industrial door gives way to a yellow-lit corridor, leading to a dark, earthy lair. Foliage grows here in abundance (helped along by hydroponic lamps) and fluffy kangaroo hides are folded over elegant chair backs. Rich wood and simple concrete work together in the space to create the perfect frame for Ruggiero's dishes and Byrne's cocktails.

Byrne says the interior design was also a labour of love. "We did it all ourselves. We've been working on this project for nine months now… Justin Best and I worked really closely on the design. It fits in with the whole ethos of the place, it follows through into our menu as well and we wanted the food and drinks to shine through."

Find Norsk Dor at 70 Pitt Street. Open Monday - Saturday 5pm - 12am.

Published on May 17, 2016 by Imogen Baker

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