Monday, February 27, 2017

Sjøhuset Skagen is now Skagen Restaurant!

Back in 1976 the restaurant Sjøhuset Skagen opened in Stavanger and it was one of the first (if not the first) restaurants outside a hotel in Stavanger. Over the years it has been a rock in the Stavanger restaurant scene but in the end of 2016 it closed and it has now re-opened as “Skagen Restaurant”. The building that houses the restaurant dates back to 1780 so there is a lot of history here.

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We went for dinner there on a Tuesday night and I guess that people don’t know that it has re-opened yet as it was pretty quiet. The interior has been modernized a bit but they have still kept the heavy wooden structure feel to the place. We sat down and got the menu fast and decided to have a clipfish (salted and dried cod) skewer as a starter and I decided to have skrei as main meal. Skrei is arctic cod which is only in season in the beginning of the year.

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We got some bread and butter to start with which was great as I was starving and the bread seemed to be sourdough bread with a hint of caraway. But it didn’t take long before the skewer was served with aioli in a small cup, tomato salsa and oven baked potatoes. I enjoy my clipfish and I always like the salty and firm meat. This skewer was no exception – I enjoyed the clipfish pieces but the bacon pieces in between was a bit too fatty in my opinion. According to the menu there should also be chili in this dish but I did not taste any chili. The tomato salsa was very good.

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The main dish was served soon after and my skrei meal was maybe not a pretty sight. Many traditional Norwegian meals are a bit bland in colors. The skrei was served with the roe, pan-fried skrei tongue, carrots – and on the side the skrei liver and butter sauce. It is great to see that you can use so much of the same fish to create a meal. The skrei was all white and the layers that came of when putting the fork into it. I would have preferred the fish to be a bit firmer – some parts of the fish seemed a bit overdone. The roe does not have that much taste and feels firm in texture until you start to break it down. All of a sudden you can feel that it is fish eggs. The cod tongues are also good – I have tried to make this at home as well but I guess it is not that common any more.

All in all a good meal with roots in the Norwegian kitchen. But the question is if this is a place that we will keep on coming back to if we want an exciting meal. I think it will be popular amongst Stavanger visitors as the house has a history and the food is Norwegian inspired – and these days it is not easy to find a place that serves Norwegian food in Stavanger. I hope that Skagen Restaurant will succeed and that it will continue to be an “institution” of Stavanger restaurants in the years to come.

A skrei meal was 340 kroner, fish & chips 230 kroner. You can see menu and prices on the restaurant homepage.



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ups and downs at Gaffel & Karaffel

We went to Gaffel & Karaffel on a Tueday night for a Valentine’s Day dinner. I booked a table online – well, they don’t have an online booking actually but you can send them an e-mail. I find it strange that they have not implemented bookatable or something similar.

Gaffel & Karaffel has a good sharing concept which I have tried with larger groups. As it was only the two of us we decided to go a la carte. I decided to have the smoked chicken and pistachio terrine and Nikki ordered the scallop ceviche. The wine menu was quite extensive and I was quite impressed by this. We decided to go for something that we always find to be a safe bet: a Chianti Classico. It didn’t take the waiter long before he came back and said that they didn’t have this bottle. In the meantime the food was served so the starters came really fast. I ordered a new Italian wine and once again the waiter came back to inform us that they didn’t have that one either. In the end we got a good bottle of Italian wine but my first positive surprise of the extensive wine menu faded a bit.

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Back to the food: my chicken and pistachio terrine was good. The terrine was served cold but it came with fresh warm toast and a very good tomato chutney of some sort. I really enjoyed the tomato chutney and it was great as an addition to the slightly bland chicken terrine. We were quite hungry and the portions were not that big so we decided to order a starter to share. We went for the Thai style chicken wings and that also came pretty fast. I also enjoyed this dish as the chicken was fresh made and it had a hint of Thai flavors. It was not spicy but it came with soy sauce, peanuts, spring onions etc. It was not that easy to eat with a fork and knife but I tried to eat them discreetly with my fingers.

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Soon we got the main meal. Nikki had gone for the beef cheek and it was served on a wooden tray. The beef cheeks were tender, it was served with a wonderful celeriac puree and a very good red wine sauce of some sort on the side. I ordered the ribs and when it was served it looked a bit..simple. But once I started digging into the ribs I forgot about that. The ribs were wonderful both in terms of tenderness and taste! It was served on top of a Chinese cabbage salad and this cabbage can be very tasteless in my opinion. But in this case it was wonderfully spiced up with a nam jim sauce which seems to be a Thai inspired sauce.

I decided to go all in and ordered carrot cake for dessert. I guess I should have stopped while I was ahead because the dessert was a bit of a letdown. It was a strange mix of cake, oranges, lemon(?) and severed with ice-cream. I like a good carrot cake and I don’t think you should mess around with it too much. In this case I would never have guessed that it was a carrot cake if it was just put in front of me.


So all in all: this dinner had some amazing highlights and some dishes that were not totally to our satisfaction. I would love to go back again to try out more of the dishes – especially from the mains. And I also want to go back to try the sharing menu again with a larger group!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Guides to the best restaurants in Stavanger–by Anders Husa

In 2016 Anders Husa won the food blog of the year award with his “Foodie Stories by Anders Husa”. Anders Husa is Oslo based these days but he is originally from the Stavanger area. He comes home from time to time and he has just posted his “Guides to the best restaurants in Stavanger”. Make sure to check out his beautiful blog and read his recommendations. I agree with most of his recommendations – especially Re-Naa, Casa Gio and Egget!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Sandnes food festival: 100-ugå

This week (February 20th to February 26th 2017) the annual food festival takes place in Sandnes. A lot of the restaurant in Sandnes are participating and it gives you a chance to sample food from the various places. The places have made one or several dishes that costs 100 kroner (which gives the name to the food festival) which is about 12 USD. You can check out the participating restaurant on and check out the menu as well. Use this opportunity to check out new places in your local area!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Groovy – an American diner in Stavanger!

In the last year there has been a real hamburger trend in the area and you might have noticed my reviews about Døgnvill, Birger Burger and The Shack. In February 2017 it was time for a new restaurant opening in town: the diner called Groovy Burger & Dogs. It is located right on the city square (Torget) so I guess the location can’t get any better. When I walked in there it was like being teleported back to what I imagine diners used to look in the USA in the 1950’s and 1960’s (at last from what I have seen in Back to the future movies). There were checkered flooring, red leather bar stools and some tacky scenes of classical movies.
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But the interior doesn’t really matter as long as the food is good! The menu was already on the table when I sat down and the waiter came to take my order soon after. They have burgers, hotdogs, ribs and fries on the menu and I decided to go for “A Big Hunk O’Love” – the burger with cheese, bacon, pickles, caramelized onion etc. I was also tempted to try out fries and decided to go for the sweet potato fries. It was a bit strange that the waiter didn’t ask how we wanted the burger fried and when it was served it seemed to be well done. But it didn’t really matter – the burger was excellent. The meat was juicy and I loved the sweetness of the caramelized onion on the burger. The fries were fresh and tasty – I seem to have a problem getting this right when I try to make it at home. They also have desserts on the menu including shakes but I did not get to test them out this time.
Groovy also have a license to serve alcohol and they had a few different kinds of beer on the menu and some sort of house wine.
I will definitely check out Groovy again soon. I would love to try out some of the other burger and a fries – and their desserts of course. Check out the Groovy homepage for more information about their food and drinks!

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