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View Full Version : Akershus: My Norwegian Lunch Under Siege -


PrincessAurora
02-20-2010, 01:24 AM
The sun shone brightly, though the temps were still low not getting past a high of 54 but I did not care, I was going to eat in my favorite place in Epcot - Akershus. In my 7 trips to the World, I have eaten here 6. I started out when they were an obscure out of the way eatery to its present condition as a center of Princess Pandemonium. It's meet that the word "demon" is hidden inside pandemonium because you really feel like you have entered the 9th ring of hell when you enter Norway now.

The courtyard is usually a sea of squealing, screaming, hyper, cranky children and tired, exasperated, crackberry addict adults who are either texting madly in an effort to escape or just starting blankly into space, their ears not even registering the din.

But I wait my turn because I am dying for that wonderful food. Once my name is called, I enter the castle. Belle is there in her ball gown taking pictures. I go straight to the host and tell him "Look, can you seat me now? I don't need a picture." He looks at me confused "It's included in the price." I look at him with pity "I'm not here for the Princesses, I'm here for the food. Besides what these ladies are doing is my job back home in a way so I don't need to stand on que for that." Now he is confused but he takes me to a table. A nice 4-top RIGHT BY THE BUFFET!!! OK, I'm good.

My server comes over, a lovely girl and gives me the menu. I freeze in horror. Where is my food? I know there is food on the menu but the lunch menu is now infested with American crap. WHERE IS THE NORWEGIAN FOOD?! Where is the wonderful trout with stewed cabbage and beet jam? Where is the amazing open-faced salmon sandwich with a cup of Jarlsberg cheese & leek soup?! They were on Deb's site for January?!

Before you could get one of the two items I mentioned above or the Kjottkaker (kind of like Norwegian meatloaf) and a pasta dish.

NOW you can have the Kjottkaker (the only old item left on the menu) or
* Salmon Burger on a toasted Onion Roll with choice of winter bisque or veggie soup
* Open Faced Chicken Sandwich on Sourdough with tomato, arugula, mushroom vinaigrette, jarlsberg and lingonberry mayo served with choice of winter bisque or veggie soup
* Grilled venison sausage over white bean stew with bacon, carrots and potatoes
*Grilled veggie-stuffed pasta with sauteed veggies, tomato truffle broth and parm
* Sauteed chicken breast with vegetable barley risotto

Kids options are Grilled chicken breast, cheese raviolli, cheese pizza or hot dog with corn.

whee.

I am sooooooo disappointed. They have Americanized the menu to appeal to the Princess hoards. There was NOTHING WRONG WITH TROUT! They serve trout all over the US. i am bummed. My world has just fallen around my ears. I can't decide what to order because I want Norwegian food. I can't go to the buffet until I decide so I pick the chicken sandwich.

Now I can bask in the glory that is the buffet!
http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb284/princessaurora_dis/Akerhaus/DSC00101.jpg
OK, let's start at 11:00 on the plate and travel clockwise.
*cavier with capers & onions
*smoked goat cheese (grab these brown thin slices - they taste like CARAMEL! And are just amazing!)
* lox
* Peel & eat shrimp
* Grain roll
* Smoked salmon
* Smoked mackerel (the white fish with the pepper on it)
* Herring 2 ways - one looks straight, the other has a tomato based sauce
* asparagus
* Beet & sliced apple salad
* cube cheese
* Salami

I went back for seconds on the Herring (both kinds), the salmon and the mackerel. Soooooo good!

Then I get my sandwich:
http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb284/princessaurora_dis/Akerhaus/IMG_1795.jpg
The soup was AMAZING and I ate all of it! I wasn't into the potatoes since I was trying to cut as many excessive carbs as I could. The sandwich... ahh yes. Let's look at that closer shall we?

http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb284/princessaurora_dis/Akerhaus/IMG_1796.jpg

It sure is purty but ummm, how in tarnation am I suppose to eat that?! That sandwich is 2 boy howdy feet high! So I picked off the bacon and ate that, then cut it in half but that is a lot of chicken and now I am a little full. The chicken was good but not exceptional. It was chicken.

The Princesses came through and we had Aurora (wrong color dress, I know I need to stop beating the dead horse about it), Cindy, Snow and Ariel. All of the Princesses were lovely, very nice, took pictures with me, chatted with me about Disney and my own "princess type job".

The dessert plate had changed as well but I didn't care because there was my beloved rice cream!
http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb284/princessaurora_dis/Akerhaus/IMG_1797.jpg

So in the bottom left we have the yummy strawberry rice cream, next to it is their new (to me anyway) chocolate mousse, up top on the left is a new dessert. It is an apple tart. Patry filled with apples and served with vanilla ice cream next to it and caramel sauce. I was so full. I ate the apples out of the shell with the ice cream, ate half the mousse and all of the rice.

All of the selections were yummy I was just about to burst, like that guy in the restaurant in Monty Pythons "The Meaning of Life".

I did get the most Norwegian aquavit drink - Fjellbekk (Mountain Stream) that also had vodka, sprite ad lime in it. Very refreshing. They put my left over drink in a mickey kids to-go cup. YAY ME!

While I was a bit bummed about the food changed, they did tell me that the trout is now on the dinner menu so next time I will have to decide if I suck it up and do lunch or change to dinner.

The food is just too good to pass up even if I have to battle hoard of kids and Princesses to get to it!

DonaldDoleWhip
02-20-2010, 02:43 AM
Thanks for the great review (and pics)!

I haven't been back to Akershus since the Princess takeover, but I've definitely noticed the hordes of strollers and chaos outside the restaurant while on my way to Maelstrom. It's a shame that the restaurant has changed so much, although it's clearly more popular than before.

The buffet offerings look great. And now I'm in the mood for rice cream (at least I can get that tomorrow at the bakery)!

EDIT: You've convinced me to try Akershus again. I just checked the website and was able to book a lunch for tomorrow (well, technically today!) In about 11 hours, I'll be sampling the delicious appetizers. So excited!

PrincessAurora
02-20-2010, 11:23 AM
Yay! I figure that foodies are a hearty lot and we can climb any mountain (or stroller) to eat the good food. Would love to hear what you think.

TillyMarigold
02-20-2010, 01:04 PM
Is that the same apple tart that's a QS dessert all over Disney World? Blah, that's disappointing.

We loved the Norwegian food when we had dinner there in September, I'm sorry to see it's gone. :(

PrincessAurora
02-20-2010, 06:43 PM
QS? What is that? I didn't see this anywhere else in the week I was there? Where did you see it?

somethingblue
02-20-2010, 08:37 PM
The apple tort looks a lot like pictures of the apple tort they serve you for dessert at Columbia Harbor Haus, a QS (quick service) restaurant. Looks like maybe they're trying to appeal to everyone with it's addition.

Anyway, thank you so much for writing this review! My boyfriend and I have an Akershus lunch booked for our May trip and I hadn't found any lunch reviews. I'm very excited!

NorweJenNY
02-20-2010, 09:29 PM
Nice to see a review from another fan of Akershus with a pre-princess preference.

I haven't gone with the princesses yet... haven't wanted to fight the crowds or bring my two boys to another princess-y meal. We've done 1900 PF, and at least the step-family is comical... plus, there's a prince. But I still probably won't be bringing them back there. This "improved" Akershus just seems like pure girly appeal. If I ever went back with just a few of my girl friends, I'd want to try. I just fear I'd be disappointed with the food.

I do remember a cauliflower soup we had that was simply divine! But that was years ago... I doubt they still have it.

I just feel like all the other restaurants in Epcot have minimal, if any, character influence. So why is Akershus COMPLETELY taken over? Maybe they need two Norwegian TS experiences... 1) the princess one with the inflated prices and Americanized foods, and then 2) a less-expensive and more-traditional one. Maybe even expand the building somehow so the princess party can remain the same size, but have a separate traditional section.

I don't know... just dreaming, I suppose.

PrincessAurora
02-20-2010, 11:59 PM
I hear ya Jenny! What seems to have happened is that not many people were going to Akershus pre-Princess due to "American Weird Food Fear" or fear of anything that is not white bread and Kraft cheese. They are afraid of pickled food. They are afraid of not being able to get chicken nuggets or something similar that "their kid will eat".

Then someone thought "Hey, we are packed at Cindy's. If we spread out the Princesses more people could see them and it would make us more dough so they looked around and WOW, there is a castle in Norway!

Castle - Princesses. But initially there was still the food fear. This is why I think there are more American choices or Americanized versions of the food. To appeal to the majority who don't want to try anything outside of their comfort zone. I admit that the smoked goat cheese initially scared me. But then I was told it tasted like caramel. I love caramel so I tried it and DAMN, I LOVE THIS CHEESE!

It would be nice to maybe have dinner as non-Princess with a few more traditional dishes but as long as The Mouse is packing them in with the Princess Parade, it will stay that way.

I can hear it now "No one will pay $35 a head to eat pickled herring! How many kids want pickled herring? NONE!" You know I think I've heard that staff meeting before.

The cast members from Norway are thrilled when you come in to eat the more traditional food. They love to show off their food, give you tips and talk about their country. I even noticed that the aquavit drinks at the bar were also more Americanized with more fruity, girlie options.

SomethingBlue - I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip. That's why I didn't see it, I don't do Counter (Quick) service as a rule. It wasn't heavy though or doughy. I honestly would have eaten it all if I had the room.

I should note that the "normal American comfort food choices" on the buffet are: slices of Salami, turkey, ham and beef. Cubed jack and cheddar cheese. Fruit such as grapes, melon, strawberries. There was potato salad, a green salad, a pasta type salad and a few other items that I can't honestly remember since I was focused on getting second helping of herring.

I still think this is the best food in Epcot.

DonaldDoleWhip
02-21-2010, 02:33 AM
Had our lunch there today - it was definitely nice to try Akershus again.

Our favorite part of the meal was the appetizer. We both loved the mackerel and the 2 types of herring, and I also enjoyed making mini sandwiches with the salami.

The entree was okay - we both ended up ordering the chicken sandwich (my mom wanted the salmon burger but she changed her mind at the last minute, and I was worried that the venison sausage or kjottkaker would be too heavy). It was a nice sandwich, but the soup and the potato outshined it.

Finally, dessert. Because we both had seconds during the appetizer, we were basically already full. But I was still able to try everything. The chocolate mousse and apple dessert were pretty good, but I only had a few bites. The rice cream, as expected, was the star of the plate. I even started mixing it with the vanilla ice cream.

Princesses: Belle, Aurora, Snow White, Jasmine, and Ariel were there. It was neat interacting with them, but I would still prefer a dining room without princesses. Also, the background music in the restaurant is all from princess movies (just to remind you that you're at a princess meal, and not the Norway pavilion's feature restaurant).

Price: Every online menu seemed to say that lunch was about $30 per person, so I was surprised to see on our bill that it was $36 per person. While the buffet, soup, and rice cream were really great, I can't see how the meal is worth it if you're not going for the princesses. Maybe dinner would be a better choice, for some of the more authentic entrees (and I still kind of wish I tried something else).

Atmosphere: You nailed the description of Akershus's clientele. It was full of "squealing, screaming, hyper, cranky children and tired, exasperated, crackberry addict adults." Honestly, it seemed like we were surrounded by insincerity.

Overall, I would like to go back to Akershus, this time for dinner, but it may not be for a while. The problem certainly isn't the food (although I would prefer some more eclectic entrees). However, the atmosphere and value were pretty big issues. I can't say the appetizers (and rice cream) justify the cost, but these things were delicious and I loved having them again.

For the record, we don't eat at any of the other TS restaurants in Epcot. We used to love Marrakesh, Les Chefs de France, and Rose and Crown, but we don't consider them to be worth it anymore. I guess it's just a trend.

tinkerbell48
02-21-2010, 09:22 AM
Great review. We will have to have dinner there.

TillyMarigold
02-22-2010, 01:31 PM
The apple tort looks a lot like pictures of the apple tort they serve you for dessert at Columbia Harbor Haus, a QS (quick service) restaurant. Looks like maybe they're trying to appeal to everyone with it's addition.

Anyway, thank you so much for writing this review! My boyfriend and I have an Akershus lunch booked for our May trip and I hadn't found any lunch reviews. I'm very excited!
Right, they also serve it at Liberty Inn in Epcot, another QS place. I had it at Columbia Harbour House and my DH had it at Liberty Inn. It's fine, we both liked it, but it doesn't seem upscale enough for a TS place.

PrincessAurora
02-22-2010, 07:58 PM
Right, they also serve it at Liberty Inn in Epcot, another QS place. I had it at Columbia Harbour House and my DH had it at Liberty Inn. It's fine, we both liked it, but it doesn't seem upscale enough for a TS place.

My server told me it was a new thing they were trying. Other pictures from recent trips showed a wee school bread. It would be lovely if they had rice cream, school bread and veiled maiden as the desserts. In my world that is what they would have or a wee cloudberry horn. Their chocolate mousse is nice but it is (a) pretty common to Americans (b) French and (c) we all know they are doing it so there will be something the kids will eat for dessert.

Well until I run Akershus.... :rotfl::banana: there will be mousse and Princesses but I can always dream. :goodvibes

NorweJenNY
02-22-2010, 11:19 PM
But initially there was still the food fear. This is why I think there are more American choices or Americanized versions of the food. To appeal to the majority who don't want to try anything outside of their comfort zone. I admit that the smoked goat cheese initially scared me. But then I was told it tasted like caramel. I love caramel so I tried it and DAMN, I LOVE THIS CHEESE!


So glad you came out of your comfort zone for this one! :thumbsup2

You're talking about the gjetost! :lovestruc

It's hard to find it in stores... but every once in a while I do find it... I should probably check Ikea.

Interesting thought - tastes like caramel... I wouldn't have put it together, but I suppose if you think of the color and the fact that it has a slight sweetness to it, plus it kinda sticks to your mouth... it does have similar properties to caramel...

Ok... I don't think this is really "smoked" ...but I looked it up, and you're right about the caramel... "Gjetost is made by boiliing a mixture of milk, cream and whey carefully for several hours so that the water evaporates. The heat turns the milk sugar into caramel which gives the cheese its characteristic taste."

I personally love to eat gjetost with raspberry preserves on it. Yum! :cloud9:

Gjetost lovers unite! :goodvibes