TravelNoise: Somm, Gothenburg, Sweden
Of all the experiences to be had in Gothenburg – getting a boat out to the archipelago, visiting the Feskekôrka (literally, Fish Church) or befriending and subsequently getting drunk with a group of guys who all met at a dad’s group (honestly, what could be more quintessentially reminiscent of the social policy driven nature of Scandinavia (except for the moment they all texted their wives to ask if they could stay out past their curfew), Somm has got to be THE best experience.
Forgive the fact that it’s located next to the city’s Australian bar, Dingos, as you could not have two more polar opposite establishments as next door neighbours. Somm is an oasis of calm. Walk down the two or three steps into the restaurant, and it’s like an insulation from the world. The restaurant equivalent of a cuddle and the reassurance that everything will be ok. Grab a drink, and a menu to peruse, and we’ll get through this together.
The meal was long and full of flavour. They started us with a goose fat marmalade and chicken liver mousse, two very strong, yet complementary flavours. This was paired with a little bit of bubbly to cut through the robust fats in the dish. There was also sourdough bread made with Swedish flour and Swedish butter, highlighting their commitment to serving locally sourced produce. As a culinary visitor to the city of Gothenburg, the extra effort put into serving Swedish dishes helped us feel further immersed in this very important part of any culture – food. After all, what is Mexico without the burrito, Greece without the gyros, and the average English borough without the local curry takeaway?
We then enjoyed a beef tartare with homemade pesto, sunflower seeds, crispy buckwheat and shallots. The parmesan in the pesto shouts for attention, and wasn’t overshadowed by the normally dominant flavour, garlic, and crunchy buckwheat added a welcome texture to the dish.
Followed by soft and salty Hake and mussels, with roasted broccoli, pickled Swedish root vegetables and a buttery foam. Nuts for crunch, parsley oil for colour, and was served with a crisp Chardonnay which cleansed the palate with each sip, getting you ready for the combination of flavours in each subsequent bite. Pickled vegetable has the same effect, cutting through the buttery flavours with the vinegar.
We were then brought a true palate cleanser before the next course, wait for it… Quince sorbet with pickled elderflowers. For us, quince jelly is often enjoyed as an accompaniment to cheese, the word quince strikes a sweet thought on our pallet. Served as a sorbet, the tartness of the quince was new, but not unwelcome. We were informed that this kind of flavour is popular in Sweden at the moment, with many chefs playing with flavours to create tart or sour alternatives. Being challenged with an alternative to what we considered a classic was probably the favourite part of our Somm experience.
We could barely fit any more in, but… Duck with beetroot. Lots of beetroot. Roasted, pureed, sweet or pickled, served with reduction of blackberry, kale crisp. Yellow beets are another surprising taste – they are very naturally sweet!
In a word, we would describe Somm as genuine.
Genuine flavours, genuine atmosphere, genuine wine and, most of all, genuine staff. Somm shines in every sense, but the staff were the twinkle in the diamond! Despite being full of people who know far, far more about food and wine than we could ever hope to, they had the very endearing quality of making you feel as though you were on their level – a true gift, considering their Bib Gourmand status in the Michelin Guide.
Address: Lorensbergsgatan 8, 411 36 Göteborg, Sweden
Telephone Number: +46 31 28 28 40