Nordic flavors at Restaurant SÖL
This restaurant opened in February 2018 and the reviews were good. We decided to check it out on a Friday night in May to see what Restaurant SÖL is all about. It is located a short walk away from the city center. It is in quiet surroundings and maybe that is why the previous restaurants in this location has gone out of business very fast. Let us hope that this does not happen to Restaurant SÖL.
Restaurant SÖL is a small place with room for maybe 20-30 guest. The guests have a view into the open kitchen and I was surprised to see that the three young chefs that runs the place, carries out all the work themselves. According to their web site they will focus on good vegetables with an add on of meat/fish if this fits in. Keywords are Nordic flavors, sustainability and vegetables. To match this, they also focus on serving natural wines.
We got there just after 8 and got a table right by the kitchen. In some places this can be an issue as there is a lot of noise from the kitchen. But in this place, I could hardly hear that food was prepared just feet away from us. We got the menu and it is simple: they have a set menu! We decided to go all in and have the menu with matching wines. It did not take long before we got some white wine in the glass and some lovely fresh (still warm) bread with a fluffy butter on the side. I was starving so this was very appreciated.
The first dish was a bowl of bacondashi, cabbage, ramson (ramsløk in Norwegian) and egg. The first question we had was “What is dashi?” and apparently it is a Japanese stock with quite a lot of umami flavor. And it had a lot of flavor indeed! It was a lovely starter and first of all because of the richness in the dashi. In addition, it was great to find a perfectly poached egg at the bottom.
We got a new glass of white wine (I did not note down the names as most of them are not available at Vinmonopolet) and prepared for the second dish. Again we got a dish that was beautiful presented: half a cauliflower served with buttermilk, nuts and roe from a fish called rognkjeks (lumpsucker in English). I’m not that crazy about cauliflower so this dish was not my favorite. But it was interesting to taste the grilled cauliflower together with the slightly sour taste of the buttermilk.
We switched to red wine and got ready for the main dish. The main dish of the evening was a sort of risotto served with chicken (or actually organic hen) and topped with lovage (løpstikke) and salad. Instead of using risotto rice they had replaced this with grains that can be grown in Norway I assume. The “risotto” was not bad at all – but as I love my risotto made from risotto rice, I always feel that it is false advertising to name a dish like this “risotto”. But the chicken/hen was juicy, and the grains had a good firmness. I would have preferred more grains and less of the green salad on top.
The dessert was lovely: grilled apple with an ice cream that had a slight malt taste to it (or toast ice cream according to the menu). And to round it of we got a fresh warm dish called “epleskiver”. It is some sort of Danish pancake balls and it was delicious. Not sure why it is called epleskiver as it does not seem to contain any apples ;-)
Conclusion: I’m impressed to see three chefs venture into something like this and I hope that the place will make it in the Stavanger restaurant scene. We enjoyed the dinner at Restaurant SÖL even if we were not totally blown away. They change the menu based on what they have so I would not mind going there to try them out again. Thanks to chefs Nayana, Claes and Magnus for having us!