A great dining experience at Jans mat og vinhus

Note that this place has closed down :-(

Jans mat og vinhus is a kind of institution in the restaurant environment in Stavanger. They have kept it going for many years and most people in town know about the place. When I grew up I thought that I would never have the money to eat there as it is a nice and expensive restaurant. But over the years most people have gotten more money and we can afford to eat there on special occasions :-)
Well, let us talk about the dining experience. We arrived at 7.30 PM and the place is very cosy even if it is some kind of basement. There were candles on the tables and soft music in the background. This was a company dinner by the way and we were out with clients. We decided to go for the 8 course meal (about 500 kroner/80$) and the wine package to go along with it (635 kroner/100$)
We started with a Kir Royal but the first course arrived pretty fast. We started with foie gras served with some sort of apple "jam" and with beetroot syrup. We got a pretty sweet white wine to go along with this (Marc Tempé Tokay-Pinot Gris Vendage Tardives ’99). I don't think that I have had a sweet wine like this for a starter before (normally you get the sweet wine for the desserts) but it worked surprisingly good. Foie gras can be a bit overwhelming but in small portions and together with the acidic apples and sweet wine it was very good.

We continues with a soup based on cauliflower and truffles. The truffle taste can be a bit too much but in this soup it was just right :-) We went over to more traditional white wine now...Rieffel Riesling Brandluft ’2004. In the description of the dish it said that the soup would also contain ”chicken mousse and parma ham...”. I have no idea where this chicken was but I think I found a tiny piece of meat in the soup that might have been the parma ham :-) But the soup was good in any case.

We continued with the same wine and the next course was fried scallop. Scallops are not my favorite but having one like this is pretty good. I'm not quite sure I know what we got served on the side for this dish. The description said ”beurre noisette”? and I guess you have to check out Wikipedia if you want to find out what it is :-). Next dish in line was the traditional Norwegian klippfisk (salted and dried cod). This was a klippfisk tempura with pepper coulisse og saffron vinaigrette. I know...it sounds very fancy but I didn't find it to be great. It just tasted like deep fried something with a sweet and sour sauce. The fish was OK but it didn't really taste like klippfisk in my opinion...some might say that is positive :-) The wine to go along with this dish was José Michel Carte Blanche.

And then we started on the first main dish of the day...fish of the day. In our case this was cod with leek, spinach and anchovies mayonnaise. The fish was excellent and it was quite nice to get a red wine to this dish...we had a Terreno Chianti Classico ’2004. Maybe it was the food that influenced my taste buds but this wine didn't taste like a Chianti...but it was good and I think it went very good to the cod. The second main course was lamb carré with polenta, small onions and tomato based demi glace. Once again an excellent plate and the wine was Chateau des Sarrins Rouge ’2002. The wine was OK...when I say OK I guess you have to take into account that I have not developed a taste for French wines yet...until now my favorites are Spanish and Italian red wines.

On the menu it said ”Pina Colada” for the next dish. We thought that we would get a cocktail drink but it turned out to be a small dessert where small pieces of pineapple was topped with a sweet whipped cream with coconut taste. This was a very good dessert and it was refreshing. I have to admit that I have no idea what wine we got for this dish...maybe this shows that I had had too much wine already :-) The last dish was chocolate nemesis, some sort of eclaire with custard and a raspberry and champagne sorbet. The small chocolate cake was fantastic and it tasted like they had used dark, dark, dark chocolate to make it. And it was nice and fresh with the sorbet to go along with this.
All in all this was a very good meal. But this is a top restaurant so I would also like to mention some things that were not perfect.
  • When we ordered the aperitifs it didn't look like they had control over who was getting what. The result was that we got more Kir Royals than we wanted.
  • In the beginning of the meal I asked for the menu so that we could keep track of what we were eating. They said that they were going to bring it but I never got it.
  • On the toilet they had little towels to dry of the hands. When I went there they had run out of clean towels so I had to use toilet paper
  • When they were bringing out the main dish they had forgotten to take out the plates from the previous course and that created a bit of chaos :-)
  • the music was soft in the background...but it is the same CD they used when I went there last year. Maybe it is time to change?
  • The more experienced waiters served the ladies first. The not so experienced waiters didn't seem to care about this.
  • they were a bit stingy with the wine. But when I got up at 7 AM the next day I was kinda happy that they didn't give us too much :-)
As you can see this is just details and it did not ruin the experience in any way.

My conclusion: I recommend that you try out Jans mat og vinhus. Bring someone you love and go for the whole package with wine and food. It is a great experience.
Here is the review of the restaurant in the local newspaper RA: http://www.rogalandsavis.no/bruland/article2561379.ece - only in Norwegian I'm afraid. And here is a link to the restaurants homepage http://www.jans.no
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures

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