Coastal gastronomy from Sunnmøre
TEXT: INGRID OPSTAD | PHOTOS: KRISTIN STOYLEN
At Bro in Ålesund, you are invited on a journey through the coastal gastronomy of Sunnmøre. With great views and a vibrant western Norwegian-inspired menu, this new restaurant has quickly become a favourite among locals and tourists alike: a place to taste new flavours, learn new things, chat, laugh, work and relax.
A fantastic view over Brosundet, coupled with the employees’ expert insight into the culinary world, enhances the unique holistic experience when visiting Bro. It all started in June last year, when head chef Ronny Kolvik, restaurant manager Joakim Hoff and general manager Ann-Helen Svinø moved from Oslo to Ålesund and together decided to open a restaurant. Among the co-owners are also Ante Giskeødegård and Lars Giskeødegård, who together founded several festivals in Norway, such as Jugendfest in Ålesund and Sommerfesten at Giske together with Momentium.
Building a bridge between food and culture
“Our aim was not only to open a restaurant with a concept that focused on the rich, traditional coastal gastronomy of Sunnmøre, but also to be a part of the thriving culture scene we have here in Ålesund,” says Kolvik, who has several years of previous experience as head chef and general manager of Oslo’s renowned Arakataka.
The name Bro, which in Norwegian means bridge, came from the location, but also the wish to help build a bridge between food and culture. “We put on small concerts, debates and other cultural events with a focus on food throughout the year, but also collaborate with other restaurants in the area to extend the cultural offering in our city and make it more accessible. Fellowship is important, even if we are competitors,” says Kolvik.
A familiar menu
The restaurant is located downstairs, a place with a rustic, industrial interior style and visible details form the past. Here, the chefs explore local, seasonal produce and let the ingredients play the leading role in a menu that changes constantly along with access to produce. “We have a tasting menu, which is also served as a four-course meal with possible snacks. Our menu is predominantly based on our region and typical Nordic cuisine – flavours familiar to and recognisable for the guests. But we do have international influences and put our spin on it to challenge people,” says Kolvik, tempting visitors with their own version of smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, a lot of dried and salted cod, as well as ‘svele’ for dessert, a traditional Norwegian flat cake similar to a pancake.
Relaxed atmosphere in the bar and bistro
Upstairs at the Bro bar and bistro, you will find comfortable sofas and a relaxed atmosphere with natural and wood elements throughout the space – the perfect place to work, to participate in big or small events throughout the day, or to simply wind down after a busy day with a drink or a bite to eat. In the evenings, you can enjoy a casual dinner along with drinks from an exciting cocktail menu, a good glass of juice, or the generous wine list, which was just voted the people’s favourite in the selection of Norway’s best wine lists by the financial newspaper Kapital.
“This space is meant to be a place you can sit and work alone or in groups, and stay as long as you like. After five, the place is transformed into a cocktail bar with exciting cocktails from our talented bartenders, so you can literally sit here from morning to evening,” Kolvik explains. The menu is straightforward yet pleasing, with a small breakfast buffet and a lunch selection with everything from a brioche burger with Nordic coleslaw and mayonnaise to Bro’s own popular fish soup and the catch of the day.
Book meeting rooms for free
Bro is equipped with two meeting rooms. The room upstairs is suitable for two to 12 people, and the larger room downstairs can house 30 to 40 guests with a table or cinema set-up. With the possibility to book one of these two rooms during the day for free, Kolvik believes it is a great opportunity for businesses to get away from their daily routines for a meeting, course or conference. “The only thing we ask is that if you are using a meeting room, you order food and drinks. But it is a great excuse to have lunch and get fresh ideas in a new environment at the same time,” he says. The rooms can also be booked for events in the evening.
“Outside, we have our own magical patio – it’s like a green oasis in the middle of Brosundet,” says Kolvik. Come rain or shine, you can enjoy life here, with good drinks, lunch and snacks on the menu. New for this season will be a shellfish crate, which can be eaten in this lively and cosy outdoor space. “Our shellfish is caught from the sea right outside our windows, so it’s difficult to find fresher and better seafood,” Kolvik asserts.
It is safe to say that Bro has become a big hit with locals and tourists alike. “We want to be an asset to the city, something we feel we are in many areas. It feels great to help put Ålesund on the map,” Kolvik smiles.