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The Viking

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  1. It had been brewing for quite a while, rumours within the community, but on saturday it was official:

    Eyvind Hellstrøm, Norway's "Grand Chef" resigns at Bagatelle, effective 01 Jan. 2010. Reason listed as inreconcilable differences with the major shareholder the financial tycoon and investor Christen Sveaas.


    The news dominated the front page of "Dagens Næringsliv", considered Norways leading financial newspaper.

    Lots of debate has followed in all major media including televised talkshows.

    Bagatelle's future now hangs in a rather thin thread, which might just have snapped when it earlier today was announced that the entire(!) staff has resigned simultaneously effective Jan 1st as well.


    For those not in then know: Eyvind's position within the restaurant world in Norway is a combo of Paul Bocuse and Gordon Ramsay. Uncompromising, free-spoken, but at the same time rock solid.

    He's reluctant about the future, but it will definetely include a restaurant of som sorts. Maybe a bistronomic approach?

    As one of Norway's other leading chefs pointed out (Bjørn Svensson of 1* Oscars gate): "Eyvind would be able to make a hot dog stand interesting".

  2. Tristan will be just a leisurely stroll down the road from your hotel, and is both expensive (Especially the markups on wine!) and to me provides an impersonal Michelin *style. I would think that many of the other restaurants along the same waterfront will provide better value/experience.

    Whatever you do: Do NOT eat dinner at The Mardavall! Poorly executed, bland, overdone, you name it... The breakfast spread is fairly good though, with eggs/omelettes made to order.

    Otherwise I concur:

    1. Do hire a car.

    2. Go to Bens D'Avall or El Raco D'en Teix.

    And I do believe there actually is an Asador Tierra de Aranda in Palma, just of Jaume III.

    As to Costa Brava: I have a sweet spot for Sant Pau as a lunch destination after el bulli.

  3. I'll answer two of your questions in the above mentioned post:

    1. Etxebarri: I consider it unique, and would go there for lunch even if not having the full menu. To me the not-to-miss dishes are: The lightly smoke infused caviar, the beef, espardenyes.

    One alternative for lunch that offers lighter fare, but to me also a unique experience is Kaia-Kaipe in Getaria, approx. 20km west of San Sebastian. Uniquely fresh fish, wine list to die for (If you're into Spanish wines).

    2. Regarding the jamon iberico: Oh yes!! There is definetely a lot of difference! Calling all Bellotas equal is like considering all Bordeaux 1er Cru equal.. :shock:

    My favourite place in Barcelona is Jamonissimo in Provenca #85. They have a wide selection of bellota hams, and 2-3 tables in the back for informal sampling of the different varieties.

  4. December's Conde Nast Traveler recommended: Sult + Hell's Kitchen for pizza, Delicatessen + Yaya's for tapas and Thai respectively and Brasserie Blanche + Nodee for Asian.

    Sult hardly serves any pizza worth mentioning, and calling Brasserie Blanche Asian will have its chef running after you with a set of FRENCH steak knives. Brasserie Blanche is definetely bistro French influenced. :wink:

    Nodee though is spot on Pan Asian with arguably the best sushi in town.

    Oscarsgate is very much back on form after its first Michelin*. Reserve well ahead.

    Cru is an exciting new local bistro with extremely limited menu, but reciprocally extremely nice winelist.

  5. The title says more or less all: being a true nerd, also when it comes to grilling, bakingand roasting, particularly Spanish style, I've come across this range of traditional/innovative ovens that I might fit in my new house.


    Apparently they weigh in at a hefty price and also weightwise, so I'd love to hear from anyone that har had a first hand experience, either privately or professionally.

  6. Is it completly out of the blue or has the food there been lacking lately? Very nice with two good restaurants beeing recognized.

    Defiinetely not as of lately, I believe that the last 23 months the kitchen has become even more focused and cutting edge than ever before, BUT in the fall there was a period where I felt that Bagatelle's performance slumped ever so slightly. Alas, this might have been just the time that the inspectors were there.. :sad:

  7. Well, the news is out and most surprising part is that Bagatelle loses one of its two * and totally undeservedly so.

    Amongst the restaurants in the Frogner area Bagatelle definetely is in a league of its own, and rqanks way above both Feinschmecker and Le Canard who both keep their one*. Shame on the guide for this demotion!!!


    In the Oslo area Restaurant Oscarsgate and Haga gain 1*, very nice (I'm hardly totally objective having a personal interest in the former of these two).

  8. Reading Dan's mouthwatering suggestions for tapas/pintxos I'm definetely looking even more forward to my trip next week; "The Viking's gastronomic crusade" of the region.

    But: I'd love some up to date info on the following places:


    (Have been rather dissapointed foodwise since Elena took over, and unfortunately Juan Mari's memory and mental capacity seems to be suboptimal.. Stellar wine list though).


    Martin Berasategui

    (Disappointed paricularly with the service/attitude last time, but that was 3 years ago, any improvement?)

    Kaia-Kaipe in Getaria for lunch

    (Chose that over Elkano due to great selection of wines).

    And before anyone beats me to it: Yes, we have already booked Etxebarri.

  9. I'm pasting in my experience of about a year back, I believe my visit falls just about in between these two rather contrasting reviews..

    society donor

    Posts: 127

    Joined: 11-August 03

    From: Oslo, Norway

    Member No.: 10,570

    Judith: I'm sorry to say that my two last visits to Moo in February and April 2006 duplicated your visit. On the latter occasion I was hosting a group of colleagues and friends and the service was totally off any pitch. The waiters, maitre d' and bartenders have the unique ability to act busy whilst achieving and doing absolutely nothing... After 1,5 hours we had received our first appetizer, had been proposed the wrong wine 3 times and had to beg for some bread...

    This promoted me to pull the maitre d' aside and politely in Spanish suggest to him that both service and attitude left rather much to be desired, at the same time pointing out the flaws I had experienced on this and former occasions...

    The maitre took our point and from there on in the service improved to such an extent that my colleagues whispered whether I had any connections with the mafia..:-)

    Alas: The food: Less than inspired, and as mentioned before, its sibling further north provides a far better experience.

  10. I totally agree with the above posts, and one does have an opportunity to taste lesser known wines that I definetely consider a bargain quality/price wise. If you're a sucker for big names the opportunity is more than ample with names like Dauvissat, Coche-Dury, Leflaive, top Italians and French wines as weell. All of them at less than average price.

    Two albarinho gems from our last visit this May:

    Do Ferreiro Cepas Viejas 2004(?) that is slightly crispier than its corresponding Seleccion de Anada from Pazo de Senorans.

    Also Gran Vegadares 2002, fantastically sublime floral overtones with a mineral foundation. The 2001 is better if you can still get it. We were first offered the 1999 but that was past its prime, changed without any objection, rather we had the impression that they more than akonwledged our judgment.

    The Riesling Vi de Gel from Gramona is a great dessert wine..

  11. Just back from "The Viking's Gastronomic crusade" last week starting out in BCN, which in 5 days included Mugaritz, Etxebarri, Arzak, Cinc Sentits, L'Esguard, Coure and sunday lunch at elBulli.

    2100km on the odometer, threw in a meeting with Satolaya at Roda with superb tapa lunch on our way to San Sebastian. The Cirsion 2005 was stunnning!

    Will post short reviews of the other places later, but back to Etxebarri:

    Our tasting menu was more or less like the one of Joe Gerard, expect that they did not have any espardenyes, which to me was a major disappointment.

    We did however have the finest smoked salmon I think I've tasted, ever sop slightly smoked over orangewood embers with an accompanying delightful contras of salted shallots.

    Winewise we opted for a plate clensing Txacoli initially, then took the full monty and went for Leroy Meursault Perrieres 2001 which was delightful and an extremely good value. Marques de Vargas Reserva Privada 2000 as a red was a good choice for the meat dishes as well as the bacalao, good performance in a slightly weak year.

    We left with 6 chorizos envasillo tucked securely under our arms... :biggrin:

    To me this was clearly the highlight of our trip, echoing the voices of the earlier posts regarding pristine freshness and careful preparations.

    Or rather; to quote a famous govdernor of California: "I'll be back".

  12. One thing: Be aware that thursday 17th of May is Norway's version of 4th of July; lots of parades, festivities etc., which also means that the restaurants might have different/amended menus and opening hours than usual. It also means that more places than usual will be open for lunch..

    Although the childrens' parades and festivities on this day have lost some of their traditional touches, it is still very wothwhile to visit downtown early in the morning (from around 10), combining this with a visit to Frognerparken in the early afternooon.

    At either Bagatelle or Oscars Gate I'd go for the set menu with wine pairing.

  13. For Oslo, please strike D/S Louise and Babette's off your list unless you have an extremely strong inclination for either one (Like being a personal friend of the owners or anything similar) Babette's used to have a good atmosphere back in the days that Helge Rønn ran the place, but we're talking 10 years past its prime.

    D/S Louise does not serve anything near quality food, but has a good location.

    I do second Christophers suggestion of Bagatelle for THE best cooking within Oslo's (And Norway's?) borders.

    I equally second his suggestion of Oscar's Gate, (But then I might be considered not quite objective and impartial enough as I have acquired a rather large %-age of their stock as of lately), but why not put my head on the block anyway... :wink:

    Less formal: Kampens Hete, Oslo Spiseforretning, and Falcon Crest (Situated in a residential area, 10 minutes out of town by tram and the stop "Åsjordet" is literally on their doorstep). Innovative cooking, but be aware that they do not accept reservations after 9 pm.

    For lunch with a view: Nothing beats "Ekebergrestauranten", foodwise many places do though..

    Stay away from Feinschmecker and Le Canard in spite of their Michelin*.

    For people watching and a quasi-gohtic atmosphere with a set menu: 2.Etage at Hotel Continental.

    Restaurant Haga, run by Bocuse D'Or winner from 1999 Terje Ness, 20 minutes from downtown by taxi might also be worth the trip, although my main objection would be that there is not enough variation throughout the meal, all courses seem to be built along the same mould..

    Oslo in May is fantastic though, when'll you be arriving?

    Edited for spelling.

  14. Still looking for the white wine back in the states we had at Commerc24- something like Guitian Godello (sp??)..

    Guitián is a wine from Valdeorras in Galicia, the winery is called La Tapada and Godello is the name of the grape. I don't know if this will be available in the States.

    It comes in two versions; unoaked and oaked, very different in flavour, aroma and texture (Much like when you barrel age the albarinos), and can be distinguished by the latter having a black label and a heftier price tag.

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