Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Hemma Hos in Haga, Gothenburg

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 caserole

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

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

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.

Grandmas meatballs

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.

Ullas spicy sausage

Ulla’s spicy sausage glowed with porkiness and gentle spicing.

Quiche

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.

Pickled herring

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.

Further reading:

Trip Advisor on Hemma Hos
Hemma Hos

And make sure you have a look at my new Gothenburg 365 photo blog.

23 comments:

Kavey said...

All looks delicious and beautiful photos!

fran39 said...

A fantastic write up and the pics are superb.

Paunchos said...

@Kavey - Thank you.

@fran39 - Thank you too.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Fantastic and all shot in beautiful northern light. Hope you are settling in to your new surroundings.

Paunchos said...

@Sarah - Thanks. It's true, Swedish light is better. Settling in well.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

OMG... I love Scandi food, and your post just underlines that. Wonderfully fresh, gutsy ingredients, all treated with respect and turned into lovely, lovely things to eat. Those who just think 'herring' are missing out. Their loss. And, in any case, Scandi herring prepared properly is just divine...

BTW, now you're living there, don't you think you should change your name to Paunchersson or some such?

Paunchos said...

@Aforkfulofspaghetti - The food here is great. Really fresh and tasty. And I probably should take on a Swedish name. But then I might just confuse the hell out of everyone! I'll update the blog soon to take into account the geographic change.

Chris said...

I can't believe you didn't illustrate this post with a big picture of Marina. Opportunity sadly wasted.

Great photos otherwise though. And thoroughly enjoying the Gothenburg 365 blog.

Paunchos said...

@Chris - Haha. That would have been a sensational expose. My lips are sealed. And delighted you are enjoying the Gothenburg 365 project.

Helen said...

I've been waiting for a Swedish post! Great to have kicked things off. And dude, seriously, I can't believe you've met Marina. What does she look like? Only kidding. you're probably being stalked now by one of her minions. Reveal and they will have to kill you.

Paunchos said...

@Helen - I'm hoping the Swedish posts will now come thick and fast. I need to work out how to rejig the Paunch to make it work. But fear not. Hopefully some of the amazing digital whizz kids and designers here can help me out.

If I told you what Marina looks like I'd have to kill you. And myself. And everyone.

Manggy said...

Okay, my Swedish gastronomic experience begins and ends with swedish meatballs from IKEA and princess cake from an Italian baker! But, at least they were both kind of nice and seeing this, I want to know more about Swedish food :)

Rudooooolph! Just kidding.

Paunchos said...

@manggy - I think your experience is true for a lot of people. I'm going to make it my mission to bring you all the true taste of Sweden. One meatball and herring at a time!

gastrogeek said...

what a feast! I love the sound of smoked reindeer.

Jonathan said...

@gastrogeek - A miniature feast. I think the photos make it look massive. But very, very tasty indeed.

Tuscany Villas said...

Looks like you had a lovely time, Rye and the surrounding area is an amazing place to visit.

If you go back their next time, instead of Rye, try The Place at the Beach in Camber. Much more your cup of tea!

Gourmet Chick said...

Can't believe you got to meet Marina - how cool! The food looks amazing. How long are you in Sweden for - semi permanently? Will you change the name of the blog to Around Sweden with an even bigger paunch? Is Cowie there as well? Too many questions! Good luck

Cakelaw said...

" .. as gutsy and earthy as a particularly plump worm who’s been digesting compost all day ..." Great description - I love it! Enjoy your new life in Sweden.

Paunchos said...

@Tuscany Villas - Thanks for the recommendation. We drove past there and I considered it but got put off by a few negative reviews.

@Gourmet Chick - Around Sweden with an Even Bigger Paunch is a great name. Might have to steal that one!!!

@Cakelaw - Glad you liked the earthworm piece. Re-reading it has made me want to try a worm!

Cocina Savant said...

Quite an intriguing meal. I like the way rye bread is highlighted throughout throughout the courses, especially with reindeer and fish eggs. Sweden clearly has an interesting food heritage.

Paunchos said...

@Cocina Savant - Sweden does indeed have an interesting culinary heritage. I'm going to do my best to get to know it as well as possible. Which will involve a lot of herring. And even more rye bread.

Greedy Diva said...

So cool that you met Marina! Can't wait for the Swedish posts to start rolling in.

Paunchos said...

@Greedy Diva - It was very cool. Have plenty of Swedish posts up my sleeve. Won't be long.

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