June 12, 2011

Norwegian fine dining

Arne Brimi is one of Norway's best well-known chefs. His food is typical Scandinavian and Norwegian, using local produce to mix and match both taste and texture in new ways. As famous chef he has of course written cookbooks, done TV-series and has his own brand on food, wine and other lifestyle products. More or less Norway's answer to Jamie Oliver. He's everywhere and people love him.

Onboard Stena Saga sailing between the Norwegian capital Oslo and Frederikshavn in Denmark, the a la carte restaurant is serving a special 3 course Arne Brimi meal with matching wine. Last year travelling on the route I tried the meat menu and this year just a couple of weeks ago I tried the fish menu.

It was really nice to see Metropolitan, as the a la carte restaurant is called on Stena Saga, to be almost full. Last time there was only three of us eating there. Obviously a Thursday night in late May is a lot better day to travel than a Tuesday in early April.

The starter is called Syrlig fisk med urtemajones or Pickled fish with herb mayonnaise. The fish is made up of salmon and monk-fish (or similar) served in nice bite size cubes. Unfortunately the pickle is a bit too vinegary for me, but the mayonnaise take away some of the sourness. Still though I do not finish my serving.

A glass of Hugel Riesling is the perfect match, even though I have to bite my tongue not tell the waiter off when he pours the wine and put the bottle on the rim of the glass. He doesn't just do it once, but for all five of us in the party. In the end I'm just speechless watching what he's doing. I'm sure it might be difficult to pour wine sometimes in a crowded restaurant out on sea, but this is an a la carte restaurant and a waiter working there should know better. Putting the bottle neck on the rim of the glass when pouring is a big no-no.

The waiter then goes on to astonish me again with serving the wine to the main course at the same time as he serves the Riesling. The wine menu calls for two glasses of wine for the main course, and since I'm the only one having fish and Bonaterra Chardonnay I get a large glass filled more or less all the way up. When I ask the waiter what he's doing he tells me that the wine is too cold and need to warm up since the glass has been in the fridge. Again I'm speechless.

Yes, white wine sometimes need a bit of warming up, but for crying out loud that is not the guest's problem. Also if the menu says two glasses of wine please serve it in a normal size glass and top it up if needed.

Despite having a not very knowingly waiter the main course Ovnsbakt breiflabb med fløtekokt sjalottløk smaksatt med vermouth. Serveres med vårgrønnsaker or Oven baked monk-fish with vermouth and butter sauce served with spring vegetable is plain delicious. As usual the monk-fish comes apart in perfect slices and is very tender. Way to go Chef!

For dessert everybody have Sjokoladekake med romtopf og vaniljerømme or Chocolate cake with rumtopf and vanilla sour cream. A glass of Torres Moscatel Oro also makes the desert complete.

Just like last time the Brimi menu is very nice and it's an easy choice to spend the evening in the Metropolitan restaurant. Some of the waiters need to brush up on their service skills and learn a bit of first class style though.


AussieFoodie said...

Yum! We had monkfish last night but yours has me wanting to eat it again now!

Kanga_Rue said...

The service has such an impact on the experience, so it's definitely an important aspect... most likely the waiter just needs more training, but you're certainly right in saying these things shouldn't happen.

The menu sounds & looks delicious, beautiful presentation. Hungry now!