Stavanger has always been at the vanguard of Norwegian culinary arts. Here, in the most multi-cultural of all Norwegian towns, gastronomy has flourished for well over 20 years. The region laid the groundwork with great food festivals and ambitious programs for further education in hospitality, the birth of the Norwegian farm-to-table movement also happened here, in part thanks to area’s outstanding butchers and farmers.
Masterful chefs such as Sven Erik Renaa and Roger Asakil Joya are shaking up the scene too. It seems their gustatory shenanigans paved the way for Söl, helmed by Nayana Engh, Magnus Haugland Paaske and Claes Helbak. The zealous trio has put tremendous efforts into this little gem and democratized fine dining with a simple menu of six, frequently changing vegetable-centric courses. The food is light, well-prepared and downright super tasty. A grilled zucchini is served with cream cheese and fermented tomato, and a main course of “dry aged” celeriac is empowered by chicken stock and crispy chicken skin, topped with lush greens and herbs. Ice cream is made with toasted bread and the house made potato doughnuts is in and of itself a reason to visit Söl.
The restaurant is sparingly, but beautifully decorated, it’s the dining room every Scandinavian dreams of owning, and the graceful cuisine is what every foodie dreams of serving at home. The open kitchen takes up a third of the elevated space, showing the young team’s every move and their passion for details. They make a wonderful lunch special on Saturdays and share their staff meal on Thursdays––possibly the best value for money-dinner in town.
With the current natural wine-craze, Söl’s wine list is a bit tame but the selection is understandable, considering the size and the margins of a business like this––a business that’s exactly what Stavanger needed, bridging established fancy dining and young, pioneer spirit.
Published January 2020