Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson recently opened his first restaurant in his hometown of Gothenburg. Honest Cooking sent Kalle Bergman to check it out.
The Clarion Post Hotel is the biggest and most expensive hotel project in Gothenburg for ages, and its opening has been extremely hyped in the local press. The hotel itself is a business/congress hotel with a neo-classic interior style, but the main focus seems to be on the social areas.
If it's difficult to get a seat at the bar, getting a table at the Norda Restaurant isn't exactly easy either. Reservations are a must. The popularity of the restaurant is turbo charged by local celebrity chef hero Marcus Samuelsson adding his name and face to the concept, but the kitchen is headed up by the talented Jimmy Lappalainen on a daily basis. I'm always a skeptic when celebrity chefs attach their names to hotel restaurants on the other side of the globe from where they actually live, so my expectations were honestly not that high.
But you know what? Norda turns out to be a really good restaurant. It has no ambitions of being a gourmet restaurant, but the menu is as much an interesting cross over as Chef Samuelsson himself, with inspiration ranging from classic French bistro fare through Scandinavian dishes to New York steakhouses and Cajun and Tex Mex cooking. It's perhaps slightly confusing, but surprisingly it really works. The many flavors and styles blend well, and even if there's no clear path in the kitchen, Norda seems to be mirroring Chef Samuelsson very well. The food is fun, tasty and well-cooked. Honest Cooking's favorite dishes were the local oysters with a granité of dill and cucumber and the creative take on a salmon bagel -- but there's a lot to choose from on the rather large menu. The The service is friendly -- and the wine list has a surprising emphasis on small Oregon wineries. A fun -- and rare -- touch to see in Scandinavia.
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