Monday, June 22, 2009

Great champagne lunch at Tango

For some years I have heard about the champagne lunch at Tango but we have never gotten around to trying it out. We have eaten at restaurant Tango before and that was a pretty good experience but not outstanding in any way. But we decided to try out the champagne lunch on a Saturday in June after it was recommended by friends and I sent an e-mail in advance to book a table – it was a good thing I did that as there were only 1 table left. After a bit of bus trouble we finally arrived at Tango about 1 hour late – I did call the restaurant to make sure they didn’t give away our table and the table was still there waiting for us ;-) The first thing I noticed when I walked into the restaurant was that I was the only guy there! I don’t mind that of course but it was a bit weird – are champagne lunches a chick thing?
The champagne lunch at Tango is very simple: the menu is a set 2 course meal with the option of dessert and you can of course get champagne. So the first question we got at the table was “Do you guys want some champagne today” and we said of course. The champagne was a
GrĂ©millet Brut Selection and it was 400 kroner per bottle (about 60 USD at the moment) or 95 per glass if I’m not mistaken (about 14 USD). This is actually not that bad taken into consideration that it cost 210 kroner at the Vinmonopolet and many restaurants actually triple the prices when they sell it. I’m not an expert on champagne but the GrĂ©millet Brut Selection was easy to drink – or maybe I was just very thirsty as we arrived late :-) The waiter just left the bottle on the table but it was a bit strange that it was not put in a cooler.
After that the waiter came over to present the short set menu and as Nikki has a bit of lactose intolerance she asked if they could modify the dishes a bit and this was no problem at all. The first dish came to the table pretty fast and it was a small portion of pasta, mussels, shrimp, tomato, avocado paste and saffron foam maybe. Anyway, it was a delicious dish with lots of flavors to it.

The location of Tango is great on a nice summer day (like this Saturday was) – when you step outside the restaurant you are at the harbor of Stavanger. When we were there they were preparing for the annual beach volleyball tournament and there were two cruise ships docked.

But back to the food – the main dish of the day was chicken breast, with potatoes and cabbage. I know, it sounds terribly boring and chicken breast can easily turn into a dry disaster. But that was not the case at all at Tango – the chicken breast was delicious and the sauce was full of flavors – enough to compensate for the more anonymous flavors of the potatoes and cabbage.

We decided to go for the dessert as well while we were at it – I got the pannacotta that was on the menu served with strawberries and strawberry sauce and a small ball of lime sherbet on top. Due to Nikki’s allergy, the kitchen whipped up a separate dessert for her: ice cream served on a sweet cracker and sweet almonds. The total price including coffee, some Baileys etc added up to 1250 kroner (190 USD) – the lunch was 275 kroner per person and the dessert was 95 kroner per person.


So there you have it – if you want a lunch with your partner (or with your friends) I can easily recommend Tango and the champagne lunch. Make sure you book a table in advance as it seems to be popular and the seating is limited. You can find the contact details of the restaurant homepage - but don’t expect to find much more. Thanks for a great lunch Nikki – you looked stunning in your black and yellow outfit.

You can check out the location of the restaurant in my Stavanger Google map.

Gard - trip reports and pictures

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Visiting Uncle Toni again - Ristorante Allegro

I have been to Allegro a few times before and it has always been a great experience. The only problems have been the lack of tables and chairs and that it has been a bit cold in the restaurant as there has always been a draft when people come in the entrance door. To avoid the first problem I booked a table in advance for me and a couple of friends for a week night in May 2009.

When we got there I had to go to the bathroom and I noticed that there was a staircase leading up to the second floor and I had never seen this before. So I went upstairs and it turns out that the restaurant has expanded and the upstairs facilities looked better and warmer than the original restaurant downstairs. So I asked our waiter kindly if we could move up and that was not a problem.

Allegro is a small Italian restaurant and I associate it with Uncle Toni (or Antonio Bjelancic) and I think he has run the restaurant since 2001. My previous visits have been great as it reminds me a lot of Italy…the food is 'simple' but yet very tasty and it seems like he only uses the best ingredients. Nikki and I have gone here many times on special occasions. But this night it was time to see if Uncle Toni could also pass the test on my friends that had never eaten there.

We decided to go for a 5 course menu each and we started by having a 2006 Monsanto Chianti Classico. I started with the scallops in a sauce - you can’t go wrong with scallops and there were even 4 of them in this dish. The soup that came along with the scallops was thick and rich…excellent. After a while it was time for starter number 2 and it was a big prawn. I have never actually seen big prawns like this in a restaurant in Stavanger so I was a bit surprised. Once again it was a very tasty little dish.

From there we moved over to a fish on a bed of noodles. I’m not a big fan of noodles but this was not a bad dish at all. For main course I decided to have the monk fish on a bed of risotto. The risotto was a bit different than what I’m used to but it contained lots of chunks of vegetable and the fish on top was excellent.

In the middle of the meal we did go for bottle of wine number 2 and in order to compare the Chianti Classico we decided to go for a Rosso del Montalcino (Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona). For dessert I had a difficult choice…chocolate fondant or tiramisu. Life is difficult sometime. I did end up with the chocolate fondant and it was just like the one that I make at home…which means that Toni used good butter, good chocolate and lots of eggs :-)

We rounded of the meal with some limoncello and coffee and before we knew it we had spent the entire evening there. In the end we even got to meet the Godfather himself…uncle Toni and he even gave us a limoncello on the house.

Once again I had a great evening at Allegro and the food is excellent at this place. I’m pretty sure that their web site won’t win any prizes but don’t let that fool you: Allegro is one of the best Italian restaurants in Stavanger. I will certainly be going there again in the future :-)

You can check out the location of the restaurant in my Stavanger Google map.


Gard - trip reports and pictures