The kitchen at idyllic Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri is run by a world champion of cooking. Ørjan Johannessen, winner of Bocuse d´Or in 2015, creates the menu helped by his twin brother Arnt, voted Chef of the Year in 2014. No wonder the place draws a crowd!
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Esten Borgos
And it has done for many years, even before Ørjan and Arnt took over the kitchen. Bekkjarvik inn was built on one of the idyllic islands in Austevoll south of Bergen at the end of the 1600s and have catered for guests for over three hundred years. The inn was established when the Danish King Christian IV, known as Christian Quart, in the 1600s decided that there should be guest houses built for every half or whole day of travel along the shipping lane.
Many come here to find peace and quiet and enjoy a few relaxing days in the beautiful scenery. The inn lies down by the quay in Bekkjarvik, surrounded by history in the shape of old buildings and landing stages which used to be the heart of the old village, a short boat trip from Bergen. Today it is run by Asta and Øystein Johannessen and their sons Ørjan and Arnt – two of Norway’s very best chefs.
The brothers create culinary delights inspired by local flavours from Austevoll and based on fresh and local produce. The West coast can offer many different kinds of fish and shellfish. Wild sheep and deer graze in the beautiful hills and in the forest, and our chefs are happy to go out early in the morning to gather wild garlic and herbs.
Three things are always on the menu at Bekkjarvik: fish soup, monkfish and wild sheep. They have served the fish soup for over 30 years and guests travel far to taste the famous soup.
Close to the sea
Guests at Bekkjarvik stay either in the old Tønnefabrikken or barrel factory, or in one of the rooms in the traditional main building. Many of the rooms are on the edge of the pier, as close to the sea as you can get. The barrel factory has been decorated in old fashioned style and with antique furniture. There are also suites and family rooms available, and Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri can accommodate almost hundred guests in different buildings. They also have spacious dining rooms for parties of 20 up to 150 people, where the hotel guests can also sit and relax with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. There is a beer garden and a nice back yard. Bekkjarvik and Austevoll are lively places with many cultural events every year, including concerts, art exhibitions and shows.
Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri also offers a quiet harbour for Norwegian and foreign visitors arriving by boat. On the south side of the original quay owner Inge Halstensen has built the most modern guest marina on the West coast and is already planning to expand. Bekkjarvik was voted the Guest Marina of the Year in 2015.
Hospitality has long traditions in Bekkjarvik, both on land and sea.