Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Egon in Stavanger – not a culinary adventure

photo 5Recently a new restaurant opened in Stavanger and that does not happen every day. This time it was a place called Egon – a part of the Egon franchise that you can read more about on http://www.egon.no . We stopped by the place on a Sunday afternoon as we wanted a quick snack – the last time we ate at Egon was actually in Tromsø (read the trip report here) – the Egon restaurants are located all over Norway and I think the Stavanger one is the largest one of them all. The places is located at the harbor in Stavanger (Vågen) so the location is perfect – another things that is nice with the location is the fact that they also have a small area outside where you enjoy your meal on nice sunny days (when that happens in Stavanger Winking smile).

photo 1The first impression of the restaurant when you enter is also quite good – they have created a theme to honor Stavanger’s history and there is a focus on our maritime, canning and oil history. But the place is also a bit confusing with tables on lots of levels and staircases in many directions. And what is up with all the steps that you have to look out for? We saw lots of people almost falling as they were not aware of a step up or down.

photoThe menu at Egon is quite extensive and one positive thing is that it comes in many languages so I guess this place is ready for the hordes of cruise ship tourists pouring in Smile I think the menu was available in English, German, Norwegian etc. The restaurant opens early so in this place you can enjoy both breakfast and lunch and even various buffets. I chose a crispy chicken wrap from the lunch menu costing 129 Norwegian kroner (about 20 USD) and Nikki went for the burger and that was 155 Kroner (about 25 USD). The place is very informal so you just make a note of your table number and then you head over to the cashier to order, pay for the meal and pick up your drinks. Egon is licensed to serve beer, wine etc by the way. 

photo 3The food was brought to our table after a few minutes and the first thing that Nikki noticed was that there were only like 4 onion rings served with the hamburger and lots of French fries. It also turned out that the french fries was lukewarm and were a bit on the chewy side – I guess they were not that fresh. But what was also surprising was the fact the the hamburger was also lukewarm and I’m not sure how that is possible. But at this point we were quite hungry so Nikki ate the burger and the onion rings but left the fries as a silent protest Winking smile

photo 4My crispy chicken wrap was not bad at all actually. It contained chicken in some sort of soy sauce and with some vegetables and it was served with some sort of sour cream dip and together with melon. And as you can see from the photo the presentation of the dish was not bad either. It would have been good to also have some sort of salsa sauce on the side but I guess you can’t have it all. I was starving too at this point so I ate all of it Smile

So what photo 2is the conclusion? I think Egon will make it in Stavanger. The location of the restaurant is great, the menu is large and it serves standard food that most people like (like burgers, pizza, salads etc) to eat. As the title says, this is not the place for a culinary adventure but rather a place that you stop by when you are hungry and need some food fast and you want to avoid going to the fastfood stores nearby. The prices are not that bad either – the lunch items range from 110 to 150 Kroner and burgers are from 150 to 170 kroner – not bad when you compare it to other Norwegian restaurants. Well, I’m not dying to go to Egon again but I’m pretty sure that I will end up going there again in the future Smile

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

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sharing menu at Timbuktu

In the end of January we went to Timbuktu…no, I’m not talking about the town in the African country of Mali but the restaurant in Stavanger that serves “an innovative fusion of Asian and European cuisine”. As we were going to the movies we booked a table as early as 7 pm. The restaurant is located right by the harbor in Stavanger on the Skagen side so it is not hard to find. Please see this page for more info: http://www.herlige-restauranter.no/timbuktu/


Photo from http://www.herlige-restauranter.no/timbuktu/

The place is a mix between a bar (downstairs) and the restaurant upstairs. And when seated in the restaurant you look down on the guests in the bar. I guess Timbuktu is Asian inspired as they have Buddha figures etc. But also the huge red lanterns in the ceiling reminds me of the flying lanterns that you sometimes see in Asia (e.g. in Thailand). Anyway, we decided to go for the sharing menu that Timbuktu offers and that gives you a taste of all the starters and main courses. You can also order a la carte and they even have some sushi on the menu. The lighting in the restaurant was dim – it usually is like that to create the right mood. But for me it is kinda annoying as it makes it hard to read the menu. But hey, there was a candle on the table that I could use to light up the menu. It was also pretty cold in the restaurant but I guess it gets warmer later in the evening when there are more guests.

The starters that we got was a bit of sushi, a warm potato and leek soup served in a shot glass with smoked eel and blue mussel, scallop with blueberry syrup and Earl Grey jelly and tuna tartar with some tofu. The soup was wonderful and it had a nice taste of the smoked eel and you can’t really go wrong with scallop (unless you fry it up the wrong way). The scallop here was made in the right way and tasted great. I’m not sure what fish that was used on the sushi (maybe it was scallop too) and it was served with soy sauce and wasabi of course. I’m not a great fan of sushi but it was fun trying it in Japan (see my trip report from Japan here). The tuna tartar was good but the tofu on top was horrible. But I don’t have much experience with tofu so maybe that is the way it should be?


I had the wine package together with the meal and I think it is a bit expensive with close to 300 kroner for 3 glasses of wine. And I would also have preferred to have the wine served with the food instead of 10 minutes before the food was saved. I have a tendency to start tasting the wine and all of a sudden you are almost out before the food is served.

The second round was fish and I also got white wine with this. The wine menu is not too bad but as usual the wine is expensive. A quick look at the menu shows that the price are multiplied by about 3 compared to the local Vinmonopol which is a shame but that is common practice for restaurants here. A Chianti La Pieve 2007 was 525 kroner, Barbera D’Alba Gagliasso was 560 kroner, la Bracchesa Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2006 was 725 kroner to give you some idea of the prices. In the second round we got smoked sea bass with a Dijon sauce, black cod with mushroom and poached salmon with an orange sauce. The sea bass and cod were pretty good but I would have enjoy the salmon a bit more cooked. But maybe that is what poaching is all about. We also got some ratatouille and salad on the side.

To round it of we went over to the meat section and this was served with red wine. As you can see from the photos the sharing menu is more like a tasting menu and the pieces are quite small. Due to this I would have enjoyed to see heated plates as the plated cooled down the food very quickly. We got pork rib served with canneline pure, deer tenderloin with a red wine sauce and duck marinated with teriyaki. All of the meat was nice and tasty and with a nice red wine it was delicious.

All in all it was a pretty good meal and I do enjoy the small tasting menus compared to just a huge portion of one thing. But as you have seen from the test above there are some things that can be improved. The sharing menu that we had was 490 kroner per person and my wine “deal” was 285 kroner for 3 glasses of wine. As I mentioned, this is both a bar and restaurant so if you get there a bit later I think the noise level can be high so keep that in mind if you want a romantic date.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Joke about Norwegian food

I have just found a great new comic series called "Lunch" by Børge Lund. A lot of the jokes are focused on the office environment and you will recognize many of the issues if you have been in the business for a while. Most of his stuff is in Norwegian but I came across this lovely little piece in English about Norwegian food and it is spot on. I have tried the smalahove (see a photo here) but I haven't tried rakfisk and I'm not too much of a fan of lutefisk :-) Well, press the link if you want to read more Lunch by Børge Lund.