The earliest known reference to “akvavit” is found in a letter from the Danish Lord of Bergenshus castle, Eske Bille to Olav Engelbrektsson, the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Norway and dated April 13, 1531. He offered some water “which is called ‘Aqua Vite’ and is a help for all sort of illness which a man can have both internally and externally.”
However, ‘Akvavit’ today is also a restaurant in Jomtien, on the corner of Beach Road and Soi 3, and a feature of the Jomtien dining scene for over two years. Owner and chef is a Swedish national Pelle Pettersson, but Akvavit is one of those restaurants that somehow had slipped through our net until it was brought to our attention by one of Pattaya’s more international gourmets.
It has three distinct sections – a lower area which includes the horseshoe chrome and glass bar, then a raised dining area and finally an air-conditioned section behind glass. Efficient staff in black uniforms are kept busy as it was obvious to the Dining Out team that this was a very popular venue, not just for Scandinavian diners.
We chose the raised deck and from the wine list (most around B. 1,000) selected an Australian Stonefish red, which at B. 1450 represents great value as well as great drinking. Highly recommended.
The menu itself is photographic; again this is something we have been recommending for some years. Not everyone visiting a restaurant speaks English (or Thai or Swedish), but a photograph shows the diner just what to expect.
The first page has the weekly special, and on our visit was grilled pork medallions served with creamy lingonberry sauce and potato cake. Incidentally, lingonberry is well known in Sweden and is related to cranberry and blueberry, but also helps the body replace important antioxidants, like glutathione, which is a master antioxidant in the body.
Starters range mainly between B. 135-295 with garlic bread and Tzatsiki sauce at the lower end and S.O.S., being two kinds of marinated herring, skagen mix, egg sour cream, onion, boiled potatoes with bread and butter at the top end.
Salads and soups are next up (B. 190-320) with a French onion soup at the lower end and Caesar salad served with grilled chicken, bacon, roasted tomato, parmesan cheese and roasted bread croutons in the upper group.
Pasta includes the interesting Pasta Akvavit, which has tagliatelle with pork fillet and shrimps in a creamy sauce with a touch of sweet chili and curry for B. 335.
For those looking for something less formal, there are hamburgers priced a little over B. 300. The Classic Hamburger has Angus beef (200g) with dressing, coleslaw, aioli, tomato, onion, cucumber and French fries while the Akvavit Burger has also 200 gm Angus beef, served with feta cheese and kalamato olives.
Mains are plentiful and varied, starting with Swedish Meatballs served in a creamy gravy, mashed potato and lingonberries again, through to Steak Louise with a filling of Dijon mustard, onion and radish and finally Australian or Canadian Rib Eye steak (200g) served with butter sautéed vegetables and your choice of sauces and potatoes.
There is also a Thai menu with all the usual favorites.
We chose an appetizer each, with a pepper marinated salmon roll filled with skagen mix (B. 185) for Madame and a garlic bread with Tzatsiki sauce (B. 135) for me. Both of these items were excellent starters and we enjoyed sitting back and lapping up the ambience, while watching the foot traffic on Beach Road.
For mains, Madame selected a steak, while I went for the special which was grilled pork medallions served with creamy lingonberry sauce and potato cake. Both of our mains were substantial portions, so much so I asked Chef Pelle to confirm these were indeed standard size. He assured me that they were, as after all, Scandinavians have hearty appetites!
This is an excellent restaurant, serving good international food, and we have no hesitation in recommending that you try it. Medium priced but top value.
Akvavit Grill and Bar, 144/4 Moo 12, Jomtien Beach Road Soi 3, Jomtien Beach Road, telephone 038 233 672, open 8.30 a.m. – 12 midnight, open seven days, website www.akvavitjomtien.com, adequate on-street parking.