Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Jacobs Bar & Kjřkken
Kong Oscars gate 44
+47 55 54 41 60
Bergen is a town that has progressed based on the trade of almost a single product: codfish.
Since the times of the Hanseatic League traders, Bergen -- on the North Sea coast of Norway -- has been the premier export source of dried or salted codfish and cod liver oil for the rest of the world. Therefore, cod in different guises frequently appears on the tables of the city’s residents as well as its restaurants.
We had a tasting menu dinner at Jacobs Bar & Kjřkken accompanied by a great selection of organic and biodynamic wines. Actually, Jacobs has one of the better and largest organic/biodynamic wine lists I have encountered up to now and the waiter that served us has an extensive knowledge of the wines and was able to suggest nice pairings based on whatever the kitchen was preparing for us.
On the wall, was a list of more than 25 beers from local microbreweries and I decided to try a pint of Waldemars Brown Ale, a nutty, hearty ale with a long slightly salty/sweet finish. It paired well with the amuse bouche of toasted walnuts and what seemed to be deep-fried pork rinds.
A large bowl of boiled shrimp (heads and all) and crab-meat followed, and the wine paired with it, a 2010 Masieri Garganega from the Veneto, had enough aroma, body and acidity to accompany the seafood without overpowering the delicate taste of the shrimp. On the wine list a sparkler caught my eye, the 2009 Camillo Donati’s Malvasia from Emilia Romagna that I thought might have worked even better with the seafood, but I would not quibble much about the host’s decision, especially since I kept the Garganega with the next two dishes.
The next plate was North Atlantic Cod and Norwegian Lobster chunks with fennel and mayonnaise with truffle foam. Perfectly cooked fish is my litmus test for any restaurant and the codfish at Jacobs was cooked perfectly, just enough to allow the flesh to flake without drying out. The aroma of the sea was still there.
The next dish was a lovely Foie Gras and Ham Hock Terrine, served with wood-toasted bread and a fig and raisin chutney. The smoky flavors of the bread and the sweet chutney contrasted beautifully with the soft, buttery, slightly salty terrine. I’ve had foie gras pâté in many restaurants and this was one of the smoothest and tastiest combinations.
The meat course was a glazed lamb’s neck with chick peas and parsley. I never thought that lamb’s neck, a cut much despised in Greek kitchens, could be that tasty. The nuttiness of the chickpea sauce and the sparkle of the fresh parsley, contributed to the success of the dish. The wine paired, a 2009 Pérez Caramés Consules de Roma from Spain’s Bierzo region, matched the lamb well with earthiness and an intense black cherry and saddle leather ending.
The end was a Chocolate Cake with Yoghurt and Raspberry Sorbet.
Congratulations to the kitchen at Jacobs Bar & Kjřkken. They can handily compete with some of the better restaurants in major metropolitan cities of the world.
© March 2012 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.