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"

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