Thursday, November 13, 2014

M/S Bjørnvag - Floating Restaurant

I don't think I've ever written a restaurant review, but this one was so out of the ordinary, I can't help myself. It is indeed a tiny restaurant on a boat, the M/S Bjørnvag in Trondheim, Norway. Despite this sunny picture, it was dark at about 5:00. All of 10 people were served a kind of Nordic Kaiseki meal. Two people in the kitchen, the owner/chef and a helper. The whole thing took about 4 or 5 hours. And there was a LOT of beer/wine/aquavit through it all too.

There were 9 courses in all. First a pile of tørrfisk, which was perfectly fitting (shredded stockfish, dried but not salted) some seaweed flakes and crispy fried fish skin, the I swear tasted like pork rinds. Then stockfish in another guise, cooked with a kind of chili oil. Third was a bread made from beer lees, spent barley and a little packet of steamed trout that the owner caught with cubed vegs. The fourth course was the most interesting, a wedge of Greenland seal on pumpkin. I can't really describe the flavor, not fishy at all, but in texture a little grainy and chewy like grass-fed beef. I would eat it any day of the week if I could.

Potatoes with trumpet chanterelles stood on their own as a course. And trust me if you have never had potatoes in Scandinavia, it's worth the trip. The sixth was a rolled leg of kid with orange sauce, roasted vegetables and everything seasoned with pine shoots. Remarkable combination of flavors. Seven was little blood pancakes with wedges of cured pig fat. Eighth was a plate of charcuterie and cheeses: bellota, lamb sausage, tetilla, goat, and a blood and kidney sausage that was very tasty. Apple tart with black currant sauce from the chef's mom's yard to end. And of course aquavit.

Each was a tiny course and it was spread out so well that you never tired of anything, and each course enticed the palate to continue. Every course followed the other nicely too, the cured meat and cheese definitely went better toward the end than beginning. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world in winter, this place is highly recommended.

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