My parents came over to visit me in Sweden for the Midsummer celebrations. The whole of the country goes crazy for the weekend and dances around maypoles shaped like giant cocks whilst imitating frogs and getting hammered in the depths of the Swedish countryside. I didn’t think this was particularly suitable so we hired a car and explored the West Coast. Armed with some fantastic recommendations from my new friends at work we went in search of seafood, sunshine, stunning scenery and serenity. And I’m pleased to say that we found it.
We drove to Hallevikstrand where we caught the ferry to a tiny island called Käringön which has become a playground for wealthy Norwegians and the yacht-set from Stockholm and Gothenburg. The journey there was idyllic with the blue sky unraveling to infinity. Yyves Klein would have probably tried to sue the sky. You’ll get the vibe from these photos…
Peterson’s Krug is renowned for it’s super fresh seafood and relaxed atmosphere. As we settled down for lunch we found ourselves comparing it to the other seafood restaurants we’d all eaten at. In terms of setting it knocks the socks off anywhere we’d been in the UK with its 270’ views out to sea.
For those of you who can read Swedish (Manne that’s probably just you!!!) here is the menu. For the rest of you, the menu is heavy on fish with oysters (ostron), mussels (musslor), sill (herring), salmon (lax) and halibut (halleflundra) making it hard to resist simply asking for the whole menu.
Dad, being the brave soul that he is, dived in with both feet for the pickled herring platter.
Pickled herring is one of my favourite discoveries since moving to Sweden. Like many people I had a natural prejudice against what I thought were vinegary bottom feeding scum. But how wrong I was. Sill as they are called in Sweden is served in a seemingly endless range of cures. This platter featured from left to right, honey, mustard and dill; soured cream and chive; dill; and a medley of all spice, bay and onions. It’s almost a meal in itself and had Dad purring like a Siamese cat who has just nudged the dog out of the prime spot in front of the fire. As ever the brown bread was stunning.
Mum’s prawns on toast held together with soured cream and anointed with bleak roe and chives was delicious. Nothing fancy. But given the surroundings it was perfect.
My four oysters from the island were some of the best I’ve ever had. They were so rich in minerals I half expected Rio Tinto to turn up after lunch with a permit to mine my stomach. It makes you want to give up eating oysters simply to cherish the memory of them being so special.
Mum and Dad both fell for the fish soup which was large enough to keep us picking at it all week. Packed with mussels, prawns and flakes of cod it was as rich as a Norwegian oil magnate and intriguingly flavoured with all spice and dill. It was a great choice and an interesting diversion from the classic French version.
My halibut was almost brilliant. Sadly it was fractionally overcooked so rather than flaking it tore. Given halibut’s leanness it needs to be cooked with as much care as you’d take putting your contact lenses in for the first time. But leaving this issue to one side the combination of asparagus, golden butter, silky potatoes and a topping of grated horseradish was inspired. It seems this is a classic Swedish combination and I am delighted to have discovered it. I’m going to try it myself soon, so keep your eye out for it.
Dad went a bit Oscar Wilde and gave into temptation, once again, with a trio of raspberry desserts which matched his very seasonal shirt. The sorbet and cheese cake were both exceptionally good.
We lingered over coffee almost horizontally enjoying the view and wondering whether this is the best setting we’d ever encountered for a restaurant. In England this would have been packed, snooty and rushed. Here it was completely the opposite. I think we could have stayed all week if we wanted!
I’m told that when the lobster and crayfish seasons come around, this place turns things up an extra gear and goes crustacean crazy. Like the Pensionat on Styrso, Peterson’s Krug on Käringön is worth the mission. In fact, in many ways the journey is what makes the meal so special. For those of you living in along the North Sea in England, why not hop on your sailing boat and head here for lunch. You won’t be disappointed. Alternatively catch the Ryan Air flight to Gothenburg, hire a car and you can here in time for a stunning dinner.
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