Huset, Svalbard

78°15′ North. Well inside the Arctic circle lies the town of Longyearbyen on the island of Svalbard. For some it is the land of the Northern Lights, for others it is a fabled pilgrimage (addicts of Philip Pullman’s ‘Dark Materials Trilogy’ will agree with me on that!), but no matter how one looks at it, Svalbard is a winter wonderland, a frozen paradise that overwhelms all senses and takes one on an ethereal, thrilling adventure of a lifetime. Not expecting to find a restaurant serving anything more than good, hearty and rustic fare (of which I had plenty!), I was quite pleasantly surprised to find somewhere serving up a  multi-course Arctic menu! 

The Huset hotel, tucked away in the corner of Longyearbyen, a good 20 minute walk away from the town centre has a small and cosy fine dining restaurant that has magnificent views of the mountains through its windows, and an enormous polar bear skin stretched across one of its walls. So..what exactly does Arctic fare include?

.

Herring
Reindeer
Salmon

.

.

.

.

.

.

Starting off with Pickled herring, sour cream, potato and chives is a sparkling way to go about things! Not being a huge fan of things overly fishy, this was just right on the mark of succulence, punchy without the need for mouth freshners and rather moreish.

However, it was nothing compared to the Reindeer carpaccio, onions, mushrooms and fish roe. The best things about this dish was the pate of smoked reindeer heart that the carpaccio is so graciously draped over. The generous helping of cod roe added a gentle textural contrast as did the dried mushrooms. Simply outstanding!

It was going to tough to top or match the reindeer starter, and the Salmon, creamed potatoes, apple and rye bread did do its utter best, but simply didn’t have a chance.

.

Roast reindeer
Sea buckthorn

And just as if they’d read my mind, along came Roast reindeer, pickled beetroot, pumpkin puree, venison black pudding. Yes, that’s two reindeer dishes on a tasting menu of 5 courses. No, there’s nothing else I would rather have had. Forget venison. I’m going to be craving reindeer deliriously until my next visit to Huset. But no words will do any justice to the reindeer black pudding. To say that it blows ANY and EVERY black pudding you could ever eat in any part of the world is an understatement. A well and truly inspiring nibble with a tiny little bit of orange zest hovering above it.

Ah yes, the sea buckthorn makes an appearance. How I do love that sour berry! Here it was a light custard, topped with a pumpkin seed cake, toasted and chocolate covered pumpkin seeds, sea buckthorn sorbet and meringue. Perfectly balanced! Yum!, in short.

.

Overall experience: 8
Food: 8
Recommend you go: 9 (if you’re ever up in that part of the world, which you really should be!)
Website

Share