Saturday, 13 May 2017

Sjömagasinet Gothenburg - classic for a reason

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Sjömagasinet is one of the lost beloved restaurant institutions in Göthenburg and a classic for a reason. Low treshold Michelin feast - perfect for lunch!

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It's only barely noon, but sun's out in full force;  blazing from a clear blue sky. Temperature is about to hit 30ºc and Finland, with its snow, sleet and hale storms seems like a crap Monty Python joke. 

In honour of our day off together, we've decided to dedicate the whole day for having fun and what better way to start it than over a lovely, leisurely lunch!

I lean closer to Gothenburger and sigh contently. Right now life couldn't be better 

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In my quest for restaurant recommendations in Gothenburg, 90% of the time I get the same answer: Sjömagasinet, which especially the Gotheburgers seem to consider the best restaurant in the city.

Well, all but one. 

"Yeah, it's ok", mumbled my Gothenburger. "I mean, I've eaten there and all".

His response to my question (accompanied with a cheerful grin) would probably be something along the lines of Max (a Swedish burger chain) or Sibylla (Swedish sausage kiosk chain)

But this is not his blog and so this won't be a report of Swedish fast food, but a story about one of the most beloved restaurant institutions in Gothenburg.

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Already its location at Klippan plays a crucial role in sea-faring Gotheburg's history, built on the importance of maritime trade.

The red shed dates back to 1775, when it was a storage for the Swedish East India Company, founded here in Gothenburg in 1731. The restaurant opened in 1984 and between 1994-2010 was headed by a local culinary legend Leif Mannerström.

In 1999 it was awarded a Michelin star, which it succesfully retained until 2010.

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That's when the restaurant was purchased by its current owner (and another culinary giant) Ulf Wagner. Along with the sale Sjömagasinet automatically lost the star, but regained it again in 2013.

White Guide Nordic gives the place 81 points, making it 3rd highest ranked restaurant in Gothenburg.

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But hey - statistics aside and on to the point!

The place offers low treshold gourmet already on the account of being the only Michelin restaurant in the city that's also open for lunch.

While the dinner menus start at 895 SEK (appr. €92), their 3-course lunch will "only" set you back €62.

Of course you don't have to go for the whole shebang - instead you can freely choose your food from the lunch á la carte (starters roughly €20, mains €20 - €38).

A reservation, though, is highly recommended as without one getting here is usually next to impossible. 

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Though the place is definitely a bastion of fine dining (what with its pristine white table cloths, napkins which have been discreetly re-folded as you return from the loo and specifically designated little tool they use for brushing off the bread crumbs) the overall ambiance is surprisingly laid back and free from any kind of awkwardness. 

Even when Chef Wagner himself is doing rounds in the dining room, making sure everyone's enjoying themselves. 

Perhaps it's the jolly nature of Gothenburgers? Or perhaps we've become one of those pompous snobs about to choke on our inflated sense of importance (hardly - we did see prime examples of those in the clientele...) ? The old building, too, lends the atmosphere a suitably rustic and homely touch.

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As the rest of the world wailed and held vigil for Donald Trump's first 100 days in the Oval Office (and, subsequently, in charge of the largest nuclear weapon arsenal known to man), we focused on something altogether more cheerful: my birthday. 

So we kicked off our lunch jovially with Champagne (Taittinger Réserve Brut, 180 SEK/ €18 a glass).

After all, how many times does one get to celebrate her 27th 30th well, birthday?

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We continued with the Champagne through the first course, too.

Beautiful and light dish where the tastes and textures were just so spot on. 

"This has a whole host of... flavours", the date pointed out, clearly delighted.

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The truffle beurre blanc which accompanied the main course was dreamily light and billowy. And come on - it came with deep-fried oysters! What's not to love!

(There's rather a vulgar expression in Finnish which would state "at this point I was peeing honey". Good job I'm not vulgar...)

Halfway through the dish Gotheburger stopped and just stared at the dish, sighing how he never wanted it to end. 

Coastal Sweden on the plate. And it, my friends, is glorious. The wine pairing for this was a beautiful Sancerre picked by the sommelier (140 SEK/ 14.50 € a glass). Deeeelish!

(While I do love Gothenburger more than anything, part of me couldn't help but longingly think of Cat Blogger who at this point would have launched into one of her unimitable reviews along the lines of "could I please have this in powdered form so I could just snort it directly into my brains?")

Oh yes, good job we're not vulgar at all. 

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The pudding's consistency couldn't have been more perfect, though the rhubarb compote wasn't an instant hit in my eyes. The ginger snap did, however, lend nice contrast in both taste and texture.

(PS. Do notice my date's Outfit Of The Day- posing fingers, so religiously employed by all those 13-year-old "fashion and lifestyle" bloggers. Perhaps his explosure to the blogosphere has reached a point where it's no longer healthy...?)

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With espressos and two bottles of mineral water the total for the lunch came to roughly €208.

And what did the burger bro say? "Dear me that was delicious! Why don't I come here more often?"

I would say the choice was excellent. Max and Sibylla can wait until next trip. Though, between you an me, I think I'll go ahead and book a table at Koka, too

You know, just in case.

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Do you have any recommendations to Gothenburg? What are the places that have stolen your hearts (and waistlines...) ?

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Adolf Edelvärds gata 5
41451 Göteborg

tel. +46 31 775 59 20

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