In the Nordic countries there has been a food revolution with the new Nordic cooking hitting the world eating scene in the last decade or so. The charge has been led by Noma in Copenhagen – but up north on these remote islands they have their own superstar. The Restaurant Koks was named the best restaurant in the Nordic countries in 2014. This was the year when Noma was voted as the best restaurant in the world for the fourth time – hence being named the best in the Nordic countries this year was pretty impressive.
We actually have been to Koks before – a few years back they visited Copenhagen for a couple of month in a borrowed building down at the harbor. Here we managed to taste the food which we enjoyed very much. So the first thing I did after booking the plane tickets to the Faroe islands were to make sure I got a reservation to go to Koks to try out the food again. When I booked the restaurant it had one star in the Michelin Guide – but a few weeks later the new edition came out and Koks got promoted to a two star establishment.
Back in 2014 the restaurant was a relative newcomer to the high end dining scene of Torshavn – so it had to be located at a place where the locals would actually be comfortable coming. They found this spot at the top hotel in Torshavn located on a hill overlooking the city. The hotel is located in the hills with no houses around but still it was only a few minutes’ drive from the center of Torshavn. When the hotel got more famous it probably thought the costumers would be willing to travel further to eat at the restaurant. So they moved to Kirkjubøur a little town a 15 minute drive out of Torshavn.
By now the restaurant has become known as the Noma of Faroe Islands so it has decide people will be willing to travel further – after all most of costumers has to fly to eat at the restaurant so they probably won’t mind a half an hour drive each way to reach the restaurant from Torshavn.
We drive north along the main highway towards the restaurant. Then just before we reach the tunnel going to the northern end of Streymoy Island there is a small parking lot next to the road. There is nothing at the parking lot no sign and no buildings indicating the top restaurant of the islands – but we are at the right track the parking lot is indeed the parking lot for Koks.
We have to walk down the road from the parking lot for a few hundred meters – down at the bottom at a small lake is a small old wooden house. The house is an old traditional skerpi house which was used to store meat and fish while it is being slowly fermented.
We are met by some staff at this house and we are taken inside. We sit in the small house along with a group of four Japanese and a farther and son who are actually from the Faroe Islands – so I guess a few of the guest are locals.
We get the first dish which is a small serving of dried fish – which is so traditional up here on the islands. It is some cod crisp. Which is accompanied by beer – the Faroese prefer beer to wine for their dried fish.
After the first dish of the night we are taken to the actual restaurant. The restaurant is located in an old building about 300 meters drive away across a small river. To avoid getting wet feet’s we are actually picked up by a jeep which drives us the short distance across a bumpy road to the restaurant.
At the main building the staff is standing outside the building waiting to greet us. We get inside at the old building which has a very low sealing so males of Nordic decent has to duck to avoid hitting their head on the large wooden beams keeping up the roof of the building.
The service is great – it is quick and attentive. But the menu has changed a bit since we last went to the restaurant during its pop-up session in Copenhagen. Back then there were only about 7 dishes on the menu if I remember correctly – now the number has grown to 18. I guess the size of the individual dish has diminished significantly as well so we will need all 18 dishes to fill up during the night.
The focus of the restaurant is what is produced locally. With the location in the middle of the north Atlantic they have ample access to sea food. We start out with a small serving of scallops which disappeared quickly since it tasted great.
Before the serving of the next dishes they come with a bowl of the different food we are about to eat. The different clams and sea urchins look very good fresh before they are cooked so now we have an idea what we will be eating for the next dishes.
We start out by a mahogany clam and a sea urchin. We get another handful of different sea food dishes which are all carefully prepared but a bit on the small side for us.
After the sea food dishes we continue to some traditional meat dishes of the islands. There is a long tradition of drying the meat on the islands since it was the only form of conservation they had in the old day when you could just put the meat in the freezer.
We start out with some lamb meat and this is followed by another couple of traditional meat dishes of the islands.
Then we get to taste one of the most famous local foods – it is Grinde whale or pilot whale which was the main source of mammal protein for the islands for centuries. Today the whale meat has become less popular partly due to health reasons and the Faroese health authorities recommend adults only to eat a maximum of 100 grams a month due to high content of heavy metals in the whale meat.
We turn back to a last fish dish of monk fish as the main course of the meal before we finish of with three different deserts.