There are few things in life that excite me as much as when Magnus Nilsson claps his hands in order to get everyone’s attention and presents what’s on the plate in front of us.
You know what I am talking about if you have been to Fäviken Magasinet. Located 390 miles north of Stockholm in an eighteenth-century granary the restaurant was recently awarded an impressive 34th place in The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants 2012.
For Chef Magnus Nilsson it’s all about rektún mat (real food). Here he runs a different restaurant with a kitchen unlike most others, where the Nordic cuisine is in its most extreme, challenging and fun way without using molecular cooking or water baths.
But it all starts downstairs. This time, my second visit to Fäviken, with a glass of local rhubarb wine and light flaxen and vinegar chips to be dipped in a sauce made of raw blue shelled mussels. Next was a lovely warm and very fresh (about 6 minutes old) lump of cheese with lavender, followed by the famous wild trout roe served in a warm crust of dried pig’s blood. To continue I had crispy lichens served with dried egg yolk and smoke dried fish to be dipped in a lightly soured cream.
Magnus search the area every year to find the fattest sow and this time I got to try the cured version. This had an incredible pork flavor with the fat just melting in my mouth.
In the dining room upstairs the first dish I had was a scallop that had been cooked in its own shell over burning juniper branches. This was a scallop of outstanding quality. It was cooked without any seasoning only relying on the quality of the scallop. The texture of the scallop was beautiful not to mention its delicate sweetness. When sipping the salty juices at the same time it was nothing less than magical. This was paired with a honey-sweet and sour Fäviken Pale Mead being a perfect contrast to the sweet scallop and its juice.
Next was a langoustine with almost burned cream. Yet again the quality of the langoustine was extraordinary. The langoustine had a lovely meaty texture with an intensely sweet and almost nutty flavor, packed full of umami, with a touch of alcoholic vinegar on top to balance it all out. The cream added even more richness to the langoustine. I have only once been served a langoustine which I have enjoyed more.
Then I had slices of cod served with a one cover leaf of cabbage, spruce and alcoholic vinegar. The cod had been lightly brushed with honey and then seared in a dry pan resulting in a beautiful little caramelized crust on the fish, which was still firm but perfectly tender. The cover leaf had been steamed so briefly that it was dying on the plate with the spruce and alcoholic vinegar providing a good balance to the dish.
To follow there was a raw mussel and wild pea pie. This was taken in one bite and I was surprised by its length and complexity in flavor. It actually reminded me of a good quality oyster.
Grains and seed were used to make “Fäviken porridge” and served with fermented turnip and green leafs. This dish was finished off table side with a crystal clear beef broth (filtered through autumn leafs) poured over it. The broth had an interesting clean and earthy flavor which I could have enjoyed on its own.
Then Magnus and his sous-chef (Sam Miller, ex-noma) were sawing a bone on the butchers block placed in the middle of the dining room. This was done to get the marrow out as fresh as possible. The marrow is then served with dices of raw cow’s heart and flowers. Everything is mixed up and eaten on a toast with a lovage-infused salt. The rich and fatty marrow flavors work brilliant with the raw texture of the cow’s heart and the freshness of the flowers, the toast is providing a textural balance with the salt brining it all together.
Next I had a sirloin of retired dairy cow that had been dry aged for seven months. The meat had a rich, deep and somehow compact flavor with its fat being absolutely lovely. This dish was paired with a 1996 Barolo Rocche from Lorenzo Accomasso in Piemonte, which worked brilliantly with the beef, some of its fat and the sour, creamy onions that were served to the dish.
To cleanse the palate I had raspberry ice and fermented lingoberries with thick cream and sugar.
The dessert started with an egg yolk preserved in sugar, crumbs of pine bark and meadowsweet ice cream. This reminded me of the classic Tocino del Cielo and I enjoyed the bitter almond flavors very much with the 1995 Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese, Forstmeister Geltz Ziliken, Mosel.
Hiding under a whisked duck egg was a blood red raspberry jam with its sweetness being in great synergy with the sour milk sorbet. I immediately could have eaten one more plate of this dessert.
Back downstairs the dinner was finished off with coffee, dried berries, meadowsweet candy and tar pastilles.
Worth a trip on its own? Yes. Definitely.
Address: Fäviken 216, 830 05 Järpen
Phone Number: +46 647 401 77