Breakfast is the only meal included on all packages, and it is served in the main dining room, Torget, on deck four. It is always a buffet, and includes an impressive array of food option staples every morning -- from cold platters such as meats and cheeses, and fruits and yoghurts to hot dishes, with fried eggs and bacon, as well as pancakes and waffles. There are also pastries for those preferring a continental option. Lunch and dinners are included depending on passengers' packages.
Torget (Deck 4): Lunch in Torget is always a buffet, with as an equally impressive offering as breakfast. It being Norway, there is a notable focus on fish -- most of which is caught by local fishermen and loaded onto the ship at each port. There are a number of starter options -- soup which changes daily, cold meats and salamis, and fish, which also all vary each day, as well as salads. For mains, there is a choice of meat (often reindeer) or fish, with accompanying vegetables for each option and sauce, as well as a vegetarian option -- typically pasta. There is also a large cheese plate, with local offerings as well as Brie and blue cheeses. Desserts change daily, but typically comprise small slices of carrot or chocolate cake and a fruit mousse.
For dinner, Torget operates a three-course meal on three days of an 11-night sailing. A sample three course menu includes: Bacalao (salted cod), leg of lamb from Hellesylt and baked apples served with ice cream. The rest of the time the restaurant has a buffet with a similar offering to lunch, although it tends to be themed, like a seafood theme for instance. Meat and vegetarian options are still served, though the latter is mostly different types of pasta.
The restaurant itself is in keeping with the new modern décor of the ship. It is light and bright, aided in part by the windows that line its sides, but also by the individual lamps that hang low over each table. Tables are divided into small two-seaters, although they are positioned close together, enabling groups to sit with each. There are also a few larger round tables. The room is broken up by rows of shelves dotted between the tables, on which lie glass bottles, rows of books and potted plants (all of which are nailed down to prevent them from breaking in rough seas), and the décor remains largely simple, aside from the patterned carpet which adds detail to the room.
The food matches the smart look of the restaurant. Hurtigruten has introduced a concept entitled Norway's Coastal Kitchen, the premise being that all food is seasonal, fresh and from the local area, which "helps to tell a story about the local coastline." The result is a delicious authentic Norwegian experience, giving passengers the feeling that they are eating like a true local.
Dining times vary according to the number of passengers onboard, but when sailing at full capacity, it begins at 5:30 p.m., with the last sitting at 9 p.m. If the ship has fewer passengers, dining typically begins at 6 p.m., with a final sitting at 8:30 p.m.
Brygga (Deck 4):
Further along from Torget on deck four are the ship's two new restaurants -- Kysten and Brygga -- which were introduced in the refurbishment. Situated alongside each other, they will eventually have a wine rack separating them, but for the moment they remain divided only by the walkway which runs through the middle.
Brygga has a more open feel than Torget, especially as it lies alongside an open walkway. Black and white photographs of Norwegian life adorn the walls, while diners eat at wooden tables for two, which are placed closely together to enable groups to sit together. Spotlights overhead, rather than the dimmer lighting of its sister restaurant next door give Brygga more of a bistro feel, which is also reflected in its a la carte menu, with hamburgers (189 NOK) and pizza (165 NOK) on offer. A supplement will apply to this, but the restaurant is so new the line is still deciding what this will be.
Kysten (Deck 4): Like Brygga, Kysten has wooden tables for two, placed closely together with spotlights overhead. It has more of a restaurant setting than its sister eatery though, with low hanging lampshades and dimmer lighting in the evening. Kysten has an open kitchen, enabling guests to watch the chefs prepare their food. The walls are again decorated with photos of local life, but the centrepiece and key focal point of both restaurants is a large 500-litre blue tank, which lies in the middle of the room by the kitchen, and contains live red king crab. Guests eating in Kysten can choose their crab, and even track where and when it was caught, via the individual QR codes that are attached to each one.
The restaurant is a la carte with a focus on fine dining, which as its name suggests (kysten translates as "coast" in Norwegian) has an emphasis on seafood. In keeping with the Coastal Kitchen concept, the food is based on seasonal ingredients, and regularly features different offerings. Depending on the season, starters might include Norway lobster, fried scallops, blue mussel soup, duck breast and cured cod. For mains, we had a choice of cod, salmon, Kilppfisk, turbot or reindeer fillet. For those who opt for the red king crab, it is boiled and served with a homemade mayonnaise, herbal dressing and spicy soya dip. It also comes at a cost -- priced at 950 NOK per kg. Following the main course, a "Hurtigruten cheeseplate" was offered, featuring local cheeses, while dessert was a chocolate terrine; cloudberry panna cottta or apple crumble.
Passengers who have paid for full-board must pay a supplement to eat here -- 160 NOK for two courses, and 190 NOK for three. Four and five courses are also available, costing 230 NOK and 290 NOK respectively. Those who are not on full-board pay more. Two courses is around 395 NOK, three 496 NOK, four 595 NOK and five courses is 695 NOK.