Leaving it all in the hands of Mother Nature
Claim to fame: An ever-evolving tribute to origin, purity and beauty.
Reason to go: The glorious bounty delivered daily from the city’s legendary Royal Rosendal Garden and other nearby meadows, lakes and forests.
To look out for: The shared last dessert, pig cake – yes, pig!
Let the produce rule. This is the credo behind the culinary wizardry of the chef-duo Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr. The dishes change according to the availability of ingredients, these guys are picky, which is why the menu in front of you is blank, apart from the usual information about how much the feast is going to set you back. Here you surrender to the ingenuity of the kitchen crew, or rather to the competence of its suppliers, and to the powers of nature itself. In fact, foraging in nearby meadows and forests is a daily routine for the kitchen staff. It can result in fresh bee pollen, a budding blossom just ready to release its fragrance, or a rare mushroom, such as the magnificent parasol, the wagyu of fungi, becoming a one-night-only star of the menu. In many respects Gastrologik embodies the New Nordic philosophy in its purest and most alluring form. The restaurant offers a sensorial celebration, it’s an especially visual spectacle. We’ve spotted people shedding tears over the magnificence on their plates.
You’re instantly lured into a magical forest; the aroma of spruce wafts from your warm towel and a compelling wood fragrance rises from dainty bread rolls, skewered on tiny tree branches. A meal may start and end in glowing green monochromes, kicking off with well-matched tones of mineral and metal, unearthed in a fruit mead dressed oyster with cucumber and camomile, coming to a close with a “thimble of greenery”, an herb granita topped with a bouquet of aromatic leaves. Just because the chefs respect nature and seasonality doesn’t mean they don’t get creative. Late spring asparagus is presented as porridge with Icelandic truffle algae, early summer mackerel floats in a floral broth, and autumnal monkfish liver gets a kick from saltwort and crispy chicken skin. Freshness always has top billing here, but as “fresh” is a short-lived notion in the cold northern territories, there is also great focus on preservation, pickling and fermentation. During one visit a slightly provocative scent permeated the room, vaguely redolent of “surströmming” (Fermented, virtually rotten herring from the north of Sweden), it proved to emanate from a fine-dining version of this delicacy: whey-poached potatoes, prepared with micro flakes of the putrescent fish. Equally funky and delectable is the tagliatelle with buttery tender squid from Kattegatt, it’s tarted up with fennel fronds and beer broth that gets its punch from black, fermented garlic. Moose heart with spruce butter is paired with a painstakingly made, moss- and spruce infused porcini stock. Another mind-bending dish is the pig cake, peculiar only until you taste it. It’s the menu’s farewell, to be shared with your dining companions; topped with a cream of grilled apples and puffy pork rinds, served with buttermilk ice cream.
The cool ambience is one of the restaurant’s greatest assets, despite the sleekly designed space’s low cozy-factor. Minimalist, bright white and copper-shiny, it could easily have become a rather clinical backdrop. Luckily, the establishment’s team consists of some of the city’s most service-minded people, adept at explaining what you’re eating and drinking. The communal table just beyond the entrance always fills up rapidly, a multilingual buzz soon spreading around the room as the meal unveils.