Chef Alfred is ecstatic when talking about what the Balestrand restaurant has had on its menu since September.
“I’ve worked here for 25 years but never before have I tasted a Bluefin tuna from Norway. It’s thrilling,” says Alfred Kerschbaumer, Chef at Kviknes Hotel.
In September last year, Chef got wind of the fish that were caught west of Ona along the Møre coast. He read about the 190 Bluefin tuna weighing between 170 and 300 kilos each in the newspaper Bergens Tidende. This was something he wanted to get hold of – and so he did.
“The fish was delivered in a huge crate with a lot of ice. It was impossible to move it,” Chef laughs as he mentions the fish itself weighed over 200 kilos before it was gutted.
“We actually had to gut the fish in the crate and divide it in two smaller pieces before we got the flesh into the freezer,” Kerschbaumer said when he was interviewed by the newspaper Sogn Avis (PDF).
Kviknes Hotel is a historic hotel situated amid beautiful views of Sognefjord. They have two restaurants today: Balholm Bar og Bistro (à la carte) and Spisesalen (buffet and menu for the day). Read more here.
When Bluefin tuna exceeded 150 kilos, it was known as tunny and was the largest fish in the tuna species. Among the fastest of all boned fishes, it is unusual in Norwegian waters today. The flesh is tender and can be described as similar to a mix of mackerel and calf.
“This fish has a gorgeous taste. It should preferably be eaten raw or partly raw. A Bluefin tuna is valued at several million kroner many places in the world. It ranks among the most expensive fish in the world. And I have never tasted one so nice and fresh before! Imagine that we got this one for Kviknes Hotel,” says a very pleased Chef.
Kerschbaumer has spent a lot of time tasting his way to a perfect menu of food combined with wine. Together with the other chefs at the restaurant, they have tried variations for entrées and main courses.
One fish can feed 800 people
The result has been an entrée of tuna tartar, together with plum jelly to add sweetness. In addition, it is served with a chili mayonnaise to add something hot, and avocado to give a fine, round taste.
“A lot of people eat mango with Bluefin tuna, but we wanted to find local ingredients. It was the middle of the plum season, so we got plums from the garden next door. This jelly is an exquisite addition.
For a main dish, the chefs decided on pan-seared Bluefin tuna steak. It is coated in sesame seeds and just barely seared so that it is slightly warm inside, but not cooked through. This is accompanied by a sweet potato and carrot puree and garnished with crisply fried fennel and lemon grass.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly good. It is delightful that many of the locals from Balestrand have visited to taste this sensational fish. They hear the story and are ecstatic,” says Kerschbaumer.
Altogether, the fish will feed about 800 people an entrée or a main course dish. That is incredibly many servings from one and the same fish.
“Now, it looks as though the last chance for a taste will be during Balejazz in May (http://www.kviknes.no/aktivitetskalendar/balejazz-2017). We have “Jazz, wine & dine” where a four-course meal is served and I will use the fish for an entrée. Additionally, a wine will be recommended for the guests from Sognefjord’s most copious wine cellar here at Kviknes Hotel,” says Kerschbaumer.
“But most likely, the last of the fish will disappear then,” says Chef.