For Taste and Travel Magazine, a short piece on where to eat in Bergen!
Possibly you’ve heard it’s ruinously expensive to dine out in Norway. And you’d have heard about right. All the more reason to be selective! Know where to find the good stuff, and then feast with that soaring feeling that it’s worth every krone.
You’ll certainly feel uplifted at Hanne på Hoyden, a green market gem close to the University of Bergen. Chef Hanne Frosta’s restaurant is homey-chic and dripping with personality. Photos – of fishing expeditions, family dinners, kitchen prep and working gardens – line the pale walls. Behind the restaurant is Hanne’s garden. The rhubarb is standing tall and containers are dense with herbs. A truck has just delivered the catch of the day. Small organic farms from nearby deliver produce, hams from Landas, cheese from Underdal, mushrooms and berries from local foragers. If it’s not Norwegian, it’s not served at Pa Hoyden. Frosta’s motto is “uncompromised.” (The woman’s got an indoor beehive, for crying out loud!)
Mussels and sweet baby leeks are steamed in Hardanger cider from Lekve Fruit Farm in Ulvik. Red ribbons of raw beet make a crunchy nest for local hake, improved with bacon (isn’t everything?) A few molecular gastronomy tricks are pulled into a starter of Norway’s famous King crab, fashioned into a mousse sharpened with herring roe, and with pearls of suspended raspberry vinegar that burst with bright red juice.
You can’t visit Bergen without sampling a smorgasbord of fish soup, a velvety brew of northern swimmers, root vegetables, stock and cream, with a subtle tang and touch of sweet. The best bowl? (Please don’t make me… there were so many.) OK. Pingvinen (The Penguin) after a long day of stoic touring in the horizontal rain. A small place, and clearly a local favourite, with a menu of exclusively Norwegian dishes – including fish soup, whale steaks, meatballs and dumplings with lingonberry jelly, stews like Mormor used to make, at prices she’d approve of.
GODT BROD and KAFFI
Hanne pa hoyden, Fosswinckelsgate 18, 5019 Bergen, 55 32 34 32 www.hannepaahoeyden.no
Pingvinen, Vaskerelven 14, 5014 Bergen, NO, 55 60 46 46 www.pingvinen.no
Godt Brod, various locations in Bergen centre, www.bakeverksted.no