Barely 13 years ago Vijay and Sharda Shama took a risk and opened their Jewel of India restaurant in Oslo, Norway serving authentic Indian cuisine. Several Indian guests are claiming that their food is among the best Indian food in the world outside India. So, you should experience exquisite Indian dining in Oslo.
A chat with Vijay and Sharda, uncovers how destiny brought them together after they arrived in Norway in 1984. They started to collect everything they required bit by bit. Both being masters in their own field (Economics & Chemistry) always with a zeal to pursue their dream of opening their own Indian restaurant in which they have been working hard day and night for the last 30 years.
Exquisite Indian Dining in Oslo
“The learning process will always go on,” they say. Both of them were attracted to the western world with traditional India in their heart, which can be clearly seen when you visit Jewel of India in the Frogner district of Oslo. There you can feel India in everything, be it ambience, décor, staff – all is made in India.
“Our dishes are classical Indian cuisine with a modern twist presented at gourmet level,” says Sharda. “We have something for every palate; light dishes with few ingredients, festive dishes for indulgence with different meats and dishes for cleansing. We have many Indian and local guests, of which many are regular visitors,” he adds.
Celebrities enjoy excellent Indidan food
Many celebrities have enjoyed the excellent food at Jewel of India. The food is never premade. All dishes are made just before serving. Indian guests claim that “It’s the feeling of coming home to India. It’s our second home.”
The restaurant has carefully carved a distinct brand, from the nostalgic Indian interiors (red and yellow colors and original paintings) to its separate rooms allowing for any size of party in a friendly atmosphere. There’s also a branch at Grefsen in Oslo.
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“We are learning all the time,” says Vijay enthusiastically. “We enjoy reading good reviews letting us know how well our guests enjoy our food and our service,” she adds.
We had the pleasure of enjoying chicken mince mixed with fragrant Indian spices, nuts and cheese, finished with a gilafi (means cover) of onion, tomato and capsicum accompanied with onions, salad and spicy mint chutney.
Followed by Malabari Tandori Prawns made with Indian spices, lemon juice, coconut, curry leaves ‘singing garlic’, coriander seeds, finger-suck seeds crusted in Tandoori style.
Our main course was Murg Badami Pasanda and Champe Laziz, chicken breast stuffed with chicken mince, almonds flaube, onions, fresh coriander, salt, white pepper, green cardamom powder and masala around cumin powder. Excuse me for omitting Indian flavors I cannot even pronounce.
For dessert we were offered Rasmali, a typical Bengali festive delicacy made especially for us by the chef of the day, consisting of soft paneed balls immersed in chilly creamy milk and topped with a dash of liqueur.
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Selected wines – and beer
Jewel of India has a wide selection of wines, dry sweet red wines like Italian Passos and half dry Rieslings. For our meal, however, we chose Indian Kingfisher beer from Bangalore. Kingfisher is brewed under license by Heineken but to the same recipe as used in India.
Traditional but global
Vijay and Sharda emphasize that their cuisine is difficult to describe, but can be thought of as traditional but global. All the familiar flavors and spices remain, but the execution and presentation fall in line with modern fine dining. “It’s more like inventive Indian food,” they explain. “They are the same dishes reinvented in a global manner.”
Exquisite Indian Dining in Oslo, written by Tor Kjolberg
All photos: Helgard Mahrdt and Tor Kjolberg