If you've read any of my articles on Oslo food, you'll know that I pine for the old days of Hai Cafe. Since they shut, there have been rumours of a re-opening, but nothing reached fruition. Dalat was visited once almost a decade ago, and I remember not being overly impressed, and honestly quite put off by the over-riding smell of wet dog and dried fish. Times have changed, and without Hai to tempt my hardly earned Kroners, and others more recently tested, I made it a point to give them a second chance and see if things had improved.
In short, they had.
The smell was rather more pleasant. The service was friendlier than I remembered (tho i'd take a grumpy asshole and retching odours if the soup was up to par). I ordered their Beef Pho and sat watching the ice cubes in my water glass melt quicker than was reasonable. It was a scorching day.
Bowl came a'balancing, and I sipped the broth clean before pouring and tearing in condiments and improvements. It was better than I remembered, but also had that over-sweet taste that I wasn't the biggest fan of. Too much cinnamon or star anise tilting the balance. The beef was rather dry and chewy, the meatball standard and the noodles were as expected. Garnishes aside, since they generally are raw ingredients bought in, the chili garlic paste had a pleasant kick, and added much needed tempering of the sweetness.
Ultimately, the bowl was a good substitution for the vacuum left by Hai, and probably ranked as the best bowl of Pho i've tried so far in Oslo, since Pho Mai swings so wildly in consistency.