My frame of reference on Viking theme bars isn’t great, even after having kicked off this particular journey into the unknown in Copenhagen. So it was with equal parts trepidation and pioneer spirit that I popped into Mjolner for an evening of who knows what.
Through an impressive iron-studded wooden door, you are presented with the option of upstairs for the restaurant or downstairs to the bar. I headed up although I did eventually make my way to the cellar bar for a very good hanky panky digestif.
The restaurant was lively and abuzz. It’s a place well suited to boisterous group drinking but I was very content with my situation seated at the kitchen bar.
Their beer selection can all be served in a drinking horn. I jumped in with both feet ordering their sessionable mead. This arrived in a little jug for me to pour into my ceremonial horn. With technique advice imparted I slugged back the glorious stuff as if my admittance to Valhalla depended in it.
The menu is meat heavy but with decent veggie and seafood options. I kept to the script ordering bone marrow to start and shortrib for main, but I prefaced that with three local rock oysters to enjoy with my mead. These were very good.
The roasted bone marrow arrived looking much as expected. It was topped with a meat powder and bitter leaves, with rye bread on the side to smear the gooey marrow across. This was good stuff.
What came next was quite the memorable moment. They offered something called a whisky luge. This involved torching the fatty remnants of the marrow then pouring a shot of whisky down the bone groove. This is not recommended for the faint-hearted, but was a true rite of passage.
The shortrib to follow was massive and hearty, which are often applied as euphemisms for plentiful but ordinary. Not is this case, though, as the slow cooked beef was beyond excellent, really an exceptional ingredient treated to best advantage.
I’d chosen a side of roasted cauliflower with IPA soaked raisins. With a base of cauliflower puree topped with florets, this was outstanding stuff.
I rounded things out with the aforementioned hanky panky in the basement – cost not included in the reckoning – and then toddled off into the night.
So overall, from a potentially horrid conceptual premise, I was highly impressed with the quality of the food at Mjølner. This was deft and adept cooking with a Viking skol exterior. I enjoyed it, would be happy to return and would extol fans of bone in meats to visit as soon as possible.
Blythe scores Mjølner
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16/20
I ate: oysters, bone marrow, short rib, roasted cauliflower
I drank: mead, red wine, whisky luge, water
I wore: orange trousers
Total bill: $147
Address: 106 Hardware Street, Melbourne VIC 3000