Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sharing menu at Timbuktu

In the end of January we went to Timbuktu…no, I’m not talking about the town in the African country of Mali but the restaurant in Stavanger that serves “an innovative fusion of Asian and European cuisine”. As we were going to the movies we booked a table as early as 7 pm. The restaurant is located right by the harbor in Stavanger on the Skagen side so it is not hard to find. Please see this page for more info:

Photo from

The place is a mix between a bar (downstairs) and the restaurant upstairs. And when seated in the restaurant you look down on the guests in the bar. I guess Timbuktu is Asian inspired as they have Buddha figures etc. But also the huge red lanterns in the ceiling reminds me of the flying lanterns that you sometimes see in Asia (e.g. in Thailand). Anyway, we decided to go for the sharing menu that Timbuktu offers and that gives you a taste of all the starters and main courses. You can also order a la carte and they even have some sushi on the menu. The lighting in the restaurant was dim – it usually is like that to create the right mood. But for me it is kinda annoying as it makes it hard to read the menu. But hey, there was a candle on the table that I could use to light up the menu. It was also pretty cold in the restaurant but I guess it gets warmer later in the evening when there are more guests.

The starters that we got was a bit of sushi, a warm potato and leek soup served in a shot glass with smoked eel and blue mussel, scallop with blueberry syrup and Earl Grey jelly and tuna tartar with some tofu. The soup was wonderful and it had a nice taste of the smoked eel and you can’t really go wrong with scallop (unless you fry it up the wrong way). The scallop here was made in the right way and tasted great. I’m not sure what fish that was used on the sushi (maybe it was scallop too) and it was served with soy sauce and wasabi of course. I’m not a great fan of sushi but it was fun trying it in Japan (see my trip report from Japan here). The tuna tartar was good but the tofu on top was horrible. But I don’t have much experience with tofu so maybe that is the way it should be?

I had the wine package together with the meal and I think it is a bit expensive with close to 300 kroner for 3 glasses of wine. And I would also have preferred to have the wine served with the food instead of 10 minutes before the food was saved. I have a tendency to start tasting the wine and all of a sudden you are almost out before the food is served.

The second round was fish and I also got white wine with this. The wine menu is not too bad but as usual the wine is expensive. A quick look at the menu shows that the price are multiplied by about 3 compared to the local Vinmonopol which is a shame but that is common practice for restaurants here. A Chianti La Pieve 2007 was 525 kroner, Barbera D’Alba Gagliasso was 560 kroner, la Bracchesa Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2006 was 725 kroner to give you some idea of the prices. In the second round we got smoked sea bass with a Dijon sauce, black cod with mushroom and poached salmon with an orange sauce. The sea bass and cod were pretty good but I would have enjoy the salmon a bit more cooked. But maybe that is what poaching is all about. We also got some ratatouille and salad on the side.

To round it of we went over to the meat section and this was served with red wine. As you can see from the photos the sharing menu is more like a tasting menu and the pieces are quite small. Due to this I would have enjoyed to see heated plates as the plated cooled down the food very quickly. We got pork rib served with canneline pure, deer tenderloin with a red wine sauce and duck marinated with teriyaki. All of the meat was nice and tasty and with a nice red wine it was delicious.

All in all it was a pretty good meal and I do enjoy the small tasting menus compared to just a huge portion of one thing. But as you have seen from the test above there are some things that can be improved. The sharing menu that we had was 490 kroner per person and my wine “deal” was 285 kroner for 3 glasses of wine. As I mentioned, this is both a bar and restaurant so if you get there a bit later I think the noise level can be high so keep that in mind if you want a romantic date.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Joke about Norwegian food

I have just found a great new comic series called "Lunch" by Børge Lund. A lot of the jokes are focused on the office environment and you will recognize many of the issues if you have been in the business for a while. Most of his stuff is in Norwegian but I came across this lovely little piece in English about Norwegian food and it is spot on. I have tried the smalahove (see a photo here) but I haven't tried rakfisk and I'm not too much of a fan of lutefisk :-) Well, press the link if you want to read more Lunch by Børge Lund.