I’ve been living in Sweden now for 2 weeks. So it’s about time I wrote about Swedish food, right? My first 14 days have flown past faster than Tom Cruise buzzing the tower in Top Gun. But so far I’ve my diet hasn’t stooped far above kebab pizzas, amazing coffee at Bar Centro and ocean loads of Swedish beer. So I didn’t feel very qualified to help Marina O’Loughlin with her quest to find the best restaurants in Gothenburg for her piece for Olive Magazine. Luckily my new colleagues came to the rescue and provided a list of places that would make Paris blush with jealousy. And to top it all off I got to meet the most anonymous food critic in the UK who is a great laugh and more passionate about food than anyone else I've met.
I also met up with Maria who has moved back home to Gothenburg and Lewis who was visiting for the weekend. Our lunch at Hemma Hos, meaning “At Home” was very memorable. They specialise in iconic Swedish tapas and people watching with a great view over Haga’s almost tidal main street which flows and ebbs with waves of coat shrouded Swedes.
We choose greedily and gorged on Swedish crowd pleasers like pickled herring, smoked reindeer, meatballs and moose casserole whilst looking over in envy at an a man grinning his way through the world’s largest prawn sandwich…
Moose casserole with Swedish berry jelly was as gutsy and earthy as a particularly plump worm who’s been digesting compost all day. Juniper gave the stew a classic backdrop and the jelly counterbalanced the savoury notes perfectly. It was rich, hearty and ideal for a chilly day in Scandinavia. It prompted Maria to tell us a story about how during “Moose Season”, during the summer, people run for cover as suburban streets get filled with large wild animals with horns the size of houses.
Smoked reindeer was just as tasty. Especially when smeared on treacly rye bread. The topping of fish eggs is very Swedish. I was concerned about the combination, but needn’t have been. Weirdly, it reminded me of a bacon, chicken and avocado sandwich. But was much better!
Goats cheese topped with walnuts and honey, resting on rye bread was fantastic. The combination of honey, walnut and creamy sour cheese was terrific. The texture of the nuts and stickness of the honey worked a treat.
Grandma’s meatballs were well spiced and sweet with genuine tomato flavour. I tried to keep this little dish as close to me as possible to stop the others getting their fair share! They are definitely the best meatballs I’ve had so far in Gothenburg. But I may have to return to Smaka to see if their claim to serve the best meatballs in town is right.
Ulla’s spicy sausage glowed with porkiness and gentle spicing.
A slice of bubbling quiche was arguably the star of the meal. Take away the ubiquitous garnish of greenery and you’d be forgiven for thinking you had been served a magical wedge of baked New York cheesecake. It was light, creamy and cheesey in a good way.
Lightly pickled herring with dill, shallots and cream cheese wasn’t far behind the quiche in the pecking order. People are often very rude about Swedish food, citing pickled herring as being their nemesis. But when it is prepared and served as well as this one was, the dish is capable of giving a beautiful ceviche or smoked salmon a run for their money.
I’m sure there are more authentic Swedish neighbourhood restaurants in Gothenburg, but we had a great lunch here and recommend it to anyone visiting for the weekend who wants to get a feel for what life in Gothenburg looks and tastes like.
Trip Advisor on Hemma Hos
And make sure you have a look at my new Gothenburg 365 photo blog.
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