Thursday, July 28, 2016

Døgnvill burger: Good burgers but a few isues with the side dishes

When Døgvill Bar & Burger first opened in Stavanger, I checked them out and I was not that impressed. After this I have been wanting to go there many times to check them out again but it has become so popular that it has been tricky to get a table there without booking in advance.  But on a weekday in July we managed to get the last available table (at 5 PM).

Photo 28.07.2016, 16.55.53 Photo 28.07.2016, 17.21.18

The table that we got was more of a bar table with bar stools so not the most comfortable seating. The menus were on the table as they also act as paper place mats. It didn’t take long for the waiter came to take our order and we decided to check out a classic burger and Saucy Joe as well as coleslaw, onion rings and French fries.

Photo 28.07.2016, 17.21.29 Photo 28.07.2016, 17.21.33

The place was pretty busy so it took about 25 minutes before the food was served. Well, we got the burgers, french fries and coleslaw but the onion rings were not served. The burgers seemed to have lightly fried buns and the classic came with onion, tomato and green salad while the pickle was served on the side. The burger was fried to medium just like the waiter had suggested.  I had the Saucy Joe which had a great sauce of cheddar, parmesan and jalapenos (so it had just a little sting) and it came with bacon, fried onion and salad. All it all a very good burger and I was more impressed with it this time compared to when I ate there originally. The coleslaw was good with large chunks of the vegetables. The French fries was a bit of a let down – the fries seemed lukewarm like they were not quite fresh and that was a shame as they came with parmesan and bacon and could have been great. At 60 kroner (7 USD) they should get them right. The chili mayonnaise on the side was good and had a pretty good sting. 10 minutes after we got the burgers we finally got the onion rings – we were almost done with the burger at this point so their timing was not very good. The onion rings were good and seemed to be fresh out of the fryer.

Photo 28.07.2016, 17.21.39 Photo 28.07.2016, 17.32.28

All in all Døgnvill serves a pretty good burger and even if they messed up the fries and served the onion rings 10 minutes late. So if you are craving a burger, Døgvill is worth a visit. Just make sure to book a table before you head over there. You can check out Døgnvill Burger on this page.

Gard
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Villa 22 Trattoria & Bar–new Italian place downtown

We were on our way to another restaurant when we walked past the brand new Villa 22 Trattoria & Bar! We like to think that we are on top of what is happening in Stavanger but we did not know that this Italian restaurant had opened. We went in to check out the menu and we decided to check it out. It turned out that they had opened that very day at lunch time!

IMG_5564 Photo 30.04.2016, 19.52.29

The restaurant occupies both the ground floor and the first floor. The first thing that catches the eye when you enter the restaurant is the orange domed wood fired pizza oven imported from Italy. We first got a table on the ground floor but we were quickly moved upstairs. It was easy to see that the place had just opened – there was hardly any decoration on the walls, no sun screening on the huge windows, toilets where the neighbors could see in due to no curtains etc. But I assume that these are things that the management will look into when they get some feedback.

Photo 30.04.2016, 20.04.34 Photo 30.04.2016, 20.04.41

The menu seemed quite limited at first glance with only three starters, three main dishes and five pizzas. We decided to go for chefs special – a sort of tasting menu. We also ordered a bottle of red wine and the waitress seemed to struggle quite a bit to open it. She was wandering around with the bottle and when she finally got it open she was so stressed out that she didn’t offer us to taste it and there were also a few cork floaters in the wine glasses.

Photo 30.04.2016, 20.04.53 Photo 30.04.2016, 20.06.28

The starters were served relatively fast and we got bread in a big, old measuring scoop, olive oil, a plank of cheese and salami and a couple of pastes served in Odd Standard tableware – it is great to see that the restaurant is using local products! We asked a bit about the plank of cheese and meat. Mostly because Nikki is lactose intolerant and we appreciate recommendations on the eating order. Although we were quickly enlightened that the cheese was cow milk based, there was some hesitation regarding the ham. We took an educated guess and they did get back to us in the end - it was a type of chorizo, coppa and parma ham – so pretty safe choices. What type of cheese we were actually served remains a mystery. The service in general was excellent – attentive and enthusiastic – but they will need to improve their knowledge of what they are serving. The pork and duck fat mash was good with the toast and yet surprisingly not a defined flavor as expected. Both of us kept on dipping the toast and smearing the bread with the spicy salami mash – definitely a winner for us.

Photo 30.04.2016, 20.17.45 Photo 30.04.2016, 20.30.23

The starters were followed by a sharing sized plate with small tomatoes. I’m pretty sure that the tomatoes were local (Hanasand maybe) and they were quite tasty! It was served on top of a white spread and we asked the guy who served it what it was. He suggested risotto and we said “no, this is not risotto”. Maybe it was burrata. Regardless this was a simple dish which highlighted the naturally tasty ingredients.

The next dish was a lightly smoked carpaccio with parmesan cheese and capers. Again, simple and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. The carpaccio could perhaps have been sliced into smaller pieces, making it easier for more people to share.

Photo 30.04.2016, 20.49.27 Photo 30.04.2016, 21.01.37

It was time to move on to the main dishes. The first warm dish we got was a pizza margarita. We only got half which seemed a bit weird based on the half-finished presentation. Nonetheless, the pizza margarita was excellent! Neapolitan style airy and easy to slice and chew crust; the kind of buffalo mozzarella that holds its consistency even when you leave your pizza to get cold; and creamy tomato sauce that complemented the rest. After a while the waitress came to serve the next dish and she presented … pizza margarita! I’m not sure what happened there. Were we supposed to get a different pizza? Or should we not have gotten pizza part 2? The second pizza margarita was even better and looked like it was the one we should originally have been served – based on the better presentation.

The next main dish was a bean cassoulet. Not exactly a dish that hurtles me back to lazy days in Tuscany but a solid, very tasty dish and the salty pork meat worked great with it.

Photo 30.04.2016, 21.07.15 Photo 30.04.2016, 21.37.14

At this stage we were both feeling quite satisfied but not overly full. We had enjoyed the rest of the wine and were tempted to ask for the spicy chorizo paste recipe. We rounded off the meal by having tiramisu and lemon curd/meringue dish. The tiramisu was not that great – a bit dry and not as rich in flavor as I prefer them to be. However, the lemon curd/meringue dish was an explosion of tastes. The lemon sorbet looked like beaten egg whites to start with! It was fluffy and the taste was heavenly. The lemon curd and Italian style meringue rounded off the experience.

As we were waiting for the check we could smell some smoke and all of a sudden the fire alarm went off. We were told that it was a false alarm and that we didn’t have to evacuate. I guess this summarizes the evening in a way. The service from the wait staff was exceptional but they still have a few kinks to sort out, which was understandable as it was opening night. We look forward to trying the restaurant again in the near future and I hope that they can keep up the standard and not fall into the trap of becoming a low budget diner that serves the people that are visiting the bars in the vicinity.

The meal that we had was about 2000 Norwegian kroner (250 USD) with a prosecco aperitif and a bottle of red wine.

Second visit – lunch in the sun

Photo 07.05.2016, 13.22.58 Photo 07.05.2016, 13.23.01

We did end up having a sun filled lunch at Villa 22 a few days later. Summer came to Stavanger and we indulged by having pizza in their outdoor seating. When summer comes to Stavanager, finding a spot downtown to eat some lunch is almost impossible but the staff made it happen and we were quickly seated at the table of our choice. The lunch menu also had sharing / tasting menu options. We had the pizza marinara and a parma pizza. You have to give them credit for being brave enough to offer an anchovy pizza. Both met expectation from our previous experience. Dessert was a double espresso and the lemon curd/meringue dish. The sorbet was served a little more rustic and the consistency was a little more compact this time but certainly Nikki’s new favorite. Service was still excellent and we shall certainly be returning to share a meal with friends.

Regards
Gard
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hverdagsgodt: New breakfast and lunch place in Stavanger

We stopped by Hverdagsgodt for lunch on a Saturday afternoon in April 2016 in their small cafe in Pedersgata 23. Hverdagsgodt means something like "Every day good stuff" and it seems like this is one of the few breakfast and lunch places in Stavanger as they open at 7 am and closes at 4 pm - or maybe the only one! They focus on sandwiches (made on bread freshly baked in the shop) and smoothies.

Photo 23.04.2016, 13.43.34 Photo 23.04.2016, 13.49.03

When we walked into the place, the girls behind the counter were busy making sandwiches while they were grooving to the music. The menu is limited but there are a few sandwich option as well as chia porridge. We decided to go for a hummus sandwich and cured ham sandwich. They also make a lovely smoothie that we have tasted before - a kale, apple, avocado and ginger smoothie that tastes great.

Photo 23.04.2016, 13.44.22 Photo 23.04.2016, 13.47.48

The sandwiches were made fast and we got them served wrapped in paper together with a serviett. My sandwhich was with cured ham, mozarella cheese, salad, carrot and a tomato pesto. It tasted lovely and the tomato pesto had a great taste. I would have enjoyed having a bit more mozarella on it. Nikki had the hummus sandwich and she was happy with this. The hummus had a taste of cumin as far as I could tell and the sandwich was served with carrot, feta and the tomato pesto. The bread was excellent and contained lots of seeds.

Photo 23.04.2016, 13.53.42 Photo 23.04.2016, 13.54.17

All in all this is a great new addition to the cafe scene in Stavanger. There are not many (if any) places you can go to in Stavanger to get a healthy breakfast sandwich in the morning. Well done guys - we will stop by to taste some of the other sandwiches and smoothies. Check out their homepage on http://www.hverdagsgodt.no/

Regards
Gard
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

Photo 23.04.2016, 13.48.53 Photo 23.04.2016, 13.54.03

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lovely risotto at Fish & Cow

We went to Fish & Cow late in the afternoon on a Wednesday in April 2016 and the place was quite empty when we got there. I have been there a couple of times in the past and the food has been good but with concrete walls it has also been quite noisy when the restaurant is packed. It seems like they have done some changes to the place (carpets and curtains) and maybe this will fix the issue.

Photo 06.04.2016, 16.11.25 Photo 06.04.2016, 16.11.31

The menu was presented and we decided to go for steamed buns and risotto to start with and then spare ribs shared as a main meal. We also decided to go for a glass of wine each. Wine is expensive when you buy it at a restaurant in Norway but it is quite a bit when you have to pay 140 kroner (17 USD). Luckily the Norwegian kroner is quite weak these days so at least it won’t feel that bad for foreigners.

Photo 06.04.2016, 16.36.19 Photo 06.04.2016, 16.36.26 

We got some bread when the steamed buns and risotto was served. The bread was toasted and was maybe a bit on the oily side and the honey butter on the side was too sweet in my opinion. The steamed buns were lovely with a good piece of pork belly and intriguing Asian flavors. The risotto was a risotto prima vera – a risotto with vegetables. I like risotto a lot and I think this was excellent. It was rich and creamy and there were lots of flavors from the peas in the dish. There were also pieces of asparagus in the dish but they did not seem to impact the dish as much as the peas.

Photo 06.04.2016, 16.36.31 Photo 06.04.2016, 16.55.48

The main dish was baby back ribs served with a Korean bbq sauce. The fries were fresh and tasted great and the baby back ribs were good but I was maybe expecting them to be even juicier.

To get a full experience I also went for dessert. I first asked the waiter about the frozen cheesecake and it turned out to be a non-baked cheese cake and I’m not sure that I agree calling a cake a cheesecake when it is not baked. I decided to go for the chocolate fondant with vanilla ice. The dessert was presented in a beautiful way and the chocolate fondant was warm and had a runny center.

Photo 06.04.2016, 17.23.33 Photo 06.04.2016, 17.24.54

All in all Fish & Cow still works. The location is great (right at the city square), the menu is not extensive but has some interesting dishes. But it was a bit on the price side. We had the dishes mentioned above and three glasses of wine and that was 1000 Norwegian Kroner (122 USD).

You can read more about Fish and Cow on their website www.fishandcow.no .

Regards
Gard
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

Monday, April 4, 2016

26 North Restaurant & Social Club

April 1st 2016 was a typical spring day in Stavanger and we made a dinner reservation at the relatively new restaurant 26 North Restaurant & Social Club. The restaurant is located in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, in more or less downtown Stavanger. We had a reservation for 5.30 PM as we were going to a show at Stavanger konserthus later that evening. When we came in, we were taken to our table by a friendly waiter that preferred to address us in English and we were fine with that. The online booking system bookatable worked great for booking a table by the way.

Photo 01.04.2016, 17.34.00 Photo 01.04.2016, 17.44.03 

26North has joined the trend of being inspired by the cuisine of the Nordic countries and tries to make the dishes based on locally sourced products. A great concept and it has been a trend for a few years now. The menu was impressive, as it contains quite a lot of starters – ideal if you just want to stop by with some friends and share a few dishes. The menu was descriptive and also contained information about allergens – excellent! We decided to go for 4 starters and skip the main meal as we thought the starters looked more interesting. The waiter seemed to think this was a reasonable choice and was attentive enough to suggest splitting it up into two batches for us – which was handy as the table was a bit small, so we would probably not have had enough space for all 4 dishes on the table at the same time.

Photo 01.04.2016, 17.48.58 Photo 01.04.2016, 17.49.04

On the table to start with we had a pitcher of water and we also got a small loaf of freshly baked inhouse bread with a delicious butter and creamy aioli. The first two starters came relatively quickly – Norwegian crab spring rolls and a bucket of handpicked mussels. The crab spring rolls were served with a sweet and sour sauce and a carrot, coconut and sesame salad. The spring rolls were warm so it seemed like they came right from deep frying. The pastry was rather thick and not much crab meat. The sweet and sour sauce was a balanced accompaniment but the carrot salad needed a little less sesame and little more livening up. The mussels were served in a small bucket, sprinkled with garlic chips and accompanied by mash of salt baked avocado. The spare bucket for the empty shells was convenient. All in all presentation of the food was excellent as it came on a warm wooden platter etc to give you the link to the Nordic nature. The mussels were steamed well and tasty but maybe a tad bit on the dry side. The garlic chips were certainly a favourite for us – crispy and smoky. We slurped up the juices the mussels were steamed in, which came across as rather salty but this may have been due to the salt baked avocado. I think I would have preferred the avocado to be served plain or with lime zest to counter the saltiness of the mussels.

Photo 01.04.2016, 18.15.24 Photo 01.04.2016, 18.15.30

The next round of starters was sliding moose and fish & chips. The fish & chips came in a small box with two pieces of fried cod, French fries, a chunck of lemon and the house tartar sauce. It also came with a mini-bottle of vinegar to spray the fish and chips according to one’s liking. Again the fish was straight out of deep fryer with a nice crust and the cod inside could have been a bit more tender and separated more gently than flaky. The fresh french fries were excellent, maybe even twice baked. The house tartar sauce was just the right dip, with lots of taste of the capers in it. I think the “sliding moose” was the best dish of our 4 starters. The 3 moose sliders had a good chunk of braised tasty white goat cheese on top. The sliders were just the right size mouthfuls and the meat seemed to be served medium but certainly not overcooked. The wooden serving plate was warm with a side of onion compote, that that had a good taste of honey. The pickled mushroom strewn on the plate, gave the right body to the slider – a bit of needed sourness but not squishy drowned in vinegar mushroom consistency.

Photo 01.04.2016, 18.50.01

I also had to try out dessert – after all I do have a sweet tooth. On the menu they had 4 different desserts – and you could even get a combination of these. I decided to go for the combination of all the dessert. Again the presentation was great. The chocolate tower was tasty with 4 layers of chocolate cake varieties and served with passion fruit dots that had an incredible sour sting to it – it worked perfect with the chocolate cake. There was also a kumquat that came along with the chocolate but that didn’t really fit in there, if you ask me. I also got a mille-feuille which is puff pastry served with cream of different kinds. In Norway the most common version of this dessert is the Napoleon cake. This mille-feuille had a lovely taste of cherry and the puff pastry was quite thin and delicate. And it was served with an awesome sea buckthorn curd! The last dessert was apple and cinnamon strudel served with vanilla ice cream and small caramel drops. The vanilla ice and the caramel drops were excellent but the portion of apple strudel was a bit too much even if it was served nice and warm.

We had high expectations for this place. The interior is modern and new, the service was refreshingly good and the different food that was served was presented (and explained) in a beautiful way. I think we will have to go back to try it out again with some friends so that we can taste some other starters as well as some main dished to reach a final conclusion. The food was good but we were not blown away by the various dishes that we had this time. The potential is there and I look forward to trying it out again.

Read more about the restaurant and see the menu on the restaurant 26North homepage.

Regards
Gard
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

Photo 01.04.2016, 17.35.51 Photo 01.04.2016, 17.42.14

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lunch at Noodle Noodle

I have been to Noodle Noodle a few times but it is not my favorite place to eat in town. It is located in the shopping mall Magasin Blaaa which means that it closes quite early (at 8 PM) and you are seated while people are walking by to their next shopping mission.

Photo 12.03.2016, 12.03.29 Photo 12.03.2016, 12.21.19

We went there for lunch on a Saturday afternoon in March 2016 and instead of picking from the regular menu, we decided to order from the special of the day menu. Nikki had the kimchi ramen and I had beef short rib. It didn’t take that long to get the food and Nikki’s ramen was good. It was not too spicy, had just a hint of kimchi taste and was quite a large portion with good chunks of meat and there was even a soft boiled egg that was cooked to perfection and served as half an egg.

My dish was quite the colorful creation – the short rib seemed a bit dry when looking at it and the jalapeno puree had a yellowish color. I started with the puree and it was good in taste but it was served chilled which was a bit odd as the short rib was warm. But the puree was still good and not spicy as I thought it would be. The best part was the short rib that was amazingly tender, very juicy and great in taste.

Photo 12.03.2016, 12.03.33 Photo 12.03.2016, 12.17.29

The conclusion is that we had a great lunch at this place. But the atmosphere is not that great as you are in the middle of a mall – I was wearing my jacket during the meal as there was a cold breeze. I’m not sure this place deserves to be rated as one of the top restaurants in Stavanger given that it is not really a proper restaurant – but I can’t deny that they served us a good lunch when we were there. So be sure to check it out if you want a good lunch but go somewhere else if you want a restaurant experience.

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

Photo 12.03.2016, 12.03.19