Friday, June 24, 2011

Déjà vu

This restaurant, in the middle of a small shopping center had a bad start with me.

To begin with, I am generally not a big fan of restaurants in shopping centers. Lots of noise and generally not so good or cheap.

Then came the name. A French name for a restaurant which does not serve French food, nor has anything to do with France in general. Also, "déjà vu" is for things you have already seen somewhere. It generally gives you some comfort ("oh I know this place"-feeling) but to me, it sounds more like ("oh this place is nothing original, it's all already-seen, already-tasted place").

Finally the first few times I ate there I was not too impressed by the food and found it a bit expensive.

Well, things have changed and I must admit that I like this place. I often go there and just order some food on the go and we sometimes gather with other families with small children.

On the right a photo of their tapas. As you can see, there is a lot of different things, lots of colour and lots of taste. Everything taste quite good and the plate is well presented.

Actually, tapas is not what we order most. We generally go for the dish of the day. Also, the restaurant proposes a dish of the day. It is generally really good and changes often enough not to be bored with it (oven-baked chili chicken, Spanish style meatballs and more recently bacon pie with cream-sauce pasta).

It is also possible to pick up exactly what you want in the display of the restaurant. I generally use this option if there is something in particular that I want (cheese-filled peppers for example) but I think their tapas is the best quantity/price ratio.

Finally the restaurant has a menu but we generally either choose the dish of the day or their tapas.

Dishes are always served with pretty good bread and a very nice aioli (garlic mayonnaise), it is always nice to see that they don't fall in the easiness of serving just standard mayonnaise.

All in all, that makes Déjà vu a pretty good restaurant, clearly above the average of shopping center/mall restaurants. This restaurant is not the ideal place for a couple looking for a romantic dinner but it is a really good option for families with children.

PS: I am sorry I don't have more photos for this review, most photos were on my mobile phone but it accidentally fell on the floor and well... I lost the photos on it (quite a long story).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

XO Bar

Many people coming to Stavanger want to try something typical Norwegian. Unfortunately, this is not easy because Norwegian people mostly eat "international" food: burgers, sausages, sandwiches, pasta, ... You can have steaks, oven-cooked salmon, ... but nothing of this is specifically Norwegian.

The solution I have found is the XO Bar. I will not review the "bar" side of this place (this blog is not about bars) but this place also serves food and they more particularly serve "Komler". Komler is a typical, traditional Norwegian dish and you will probably not have it anywhere else in the world, so this is perfect for curious people willing to try Norwegian food.

A precise description of this dish can be found in wikipedia:
(notice that this dish can be called differently depending on where in Norway you are).

So the komler itself is a quite compact ball of smashed potato, flour and other ingredients. It does not have too much taste in itself but the point is to have it with bacon, salted lamb, sausages and other very tasty meats. So all in all the dish is pretty good and very filling.

Back to the review of the XO bar in general: this restaurant is quite nice, the service is better than the average in Norway and the prices are OK (the steaks are quite expensive but the meat is of high quality and meat in general is expensive in Norway).

What we recommend:
- Komler (because it is typical Norwegian, because it is original and because it is actually quite good)
- Typical Norwegian Christmas food (this implies that you go there during Christmas time but I believe this is one of the best place in Stavanger for Christmas food)
- The tenderloin of beef was really good but quite expensive (well the meat itself is expensive in Norway)

Otherwise we have tried two of their burgers (beef and chicken) and they were quite nice. Last time we even tried their lasagna and we were impressed (we were not expecting italian food to taste great there).

The only dishes we are less happy with is the fish soup (quite good but not the best place in Stavanger according to us) and the meat balls (vey nice brown sauce but the rest of the dish was not really special).

We have not tried their dessert but last time we were there, their "creme brulee" had a big success around us.

Also going a bit off-topic, once an interesting discussion happened at a table next to us. Well, interesting because I think it is a common mistake for people visiting Norway. Basically, a customer was complaining to have ordered trout and to have got salmon. The waiter tried his best to convince him that it was trout but it did not work. I personally believe the restaurant was right and that the problem is that people are used to river trouts with grey flesh. In Norway, it is quite common to eat ocean trout with pink/orange flesh. It looks like salmon and it tastes like salmon unless you are careful. Actually, most Norwegian people will eat trout and let the salmon for tourists (because let's be honest, Norwegian trout is not as famous as Norwegian salmon). So next time you come to Norway and you order trout, don't be too surprised if something looking like salmon arrives (this is true in whole Norway, not only in this restaurant). From wikipedia: "Salmon belong to the same family as trout"