• Sweden's news in English
 

Stockholm 'pop-up' diner shuts as secret divulged

Published: 04 Oct 2013 15:52 GMT+02:00

Sprigs of dill adorn each of 15 tables; two wine glasses flank two sets of silverware at each place; a cello and violin serenade welcomes guests to a view overlooking Stockholm's harbour.

Just over a month ago, the space was empty, all but forgotten. But it had been transformed into pop-up restaurant Dill, which opened its doors on September 13th only to serve up its last plates this brisk Thursday evening.

"You usually have six months to build a restaurant," Anna Högkil, Dill’s project manager, tells The Local. "We had three weeks."

In recent months, Högkil has worked day and night to find the space and create a fine-dining experience on par with the best eateries in the Swedish capital.

IN PICTURES: Dining at Stockholm's first 'pop-up' restaurant

The cavernous room along Katarinavägen is just minutes from Slussen on the island of Södermalm. It looks like a proper restaurant, if a bit rough around the edges.

According to Högkil, the biggest challenge has been the Saltsjöbanan train, which runs just outside Dill's arching bay windows.

"It was almost impossible to do," Högkil explains. "But if we knew it was impossible, we wouldn't have done it."

I learned about Dill through a colleague and was immediately intrigued – nine courses from 2-Michelin star, London-based chef Michael Wignall for only 495 kronor ($78)? It sounded too good to be true, especially in Stockholm where dining out at a run-of-the-mill bistro can set you back at least that much.

Turns out, it was.

On Sunday, it was revealed that Dill was actually a PR stunt concocted by low-price Germany-based discount grocery chain Lidl.

SEE ALSO: Stockholm best food city among the Nordic nations

"We simply wanted to demonstrate the quality of our goods," Lidl spokeswoman Caroline Forshéll told Aftonbladet, the newspaper that unmasked the bluff.

"We think we've shown that good food doesn't need to cost more than it does in our stores."

The news angered some diners who argued they should have been paid for being unwitting pawns in a marketing stunt for Lidl. Others, however, were simply happy to have tasted a Michelin-class meal for a bargain price.

"People didn't get what the con was because it was so cheap," says one of Dill’s chef managers Michael Carter. "We weren't allowed to tell the big secret."

Somehow, I had been one of the lucky few to book a table at Dill. That was two weeks ago, however, well before the "pop-up" restaurant was revealed to be a publicity stunt for Lidl.

Maybe we should have been more suspicious. Switch a couple of letters around: Dill = Lidl. Who knew?

As it turns out, only a handful of people within Lidl itself knew of the connection before it came out in the press.

"It's been a bit different since the exposé," says Carter. "More people are coming up and talking to us, asking us questions."

I arrived at Dill with an open mind, willing to give Lidl's punch line – "Good food doesn't have to cost more" – a chance. And after nine unique courses, I have to admit I have a somewhat more positive view of Lidl's food than I had previously.

SEE ALSO: Top ten googled food in Sweden

"[Chef Wignall] visited Lidl here and saw what produce they had," says Carter. "He made a menu around products they sold that were high enough quality."

Wignall was in Stockholm supervising Dill’s first two weeks of operation, but had to return to London last week due to a broken knee.

But what a menu he has left behind! Cow’s curd, salmon chips, liquid olives, beetroot emulsion, a parsley sponge. The last course was even topped with smoking apple pie nitrogen rocks.

We were seated with two friendly gentlemen from the company that supplied the liquid nitrogen, one of four ingredients served throughout the evening that didn’t come from Lidl. In my enthusiasm, I think a may have eaten one of these gentlemen’s desserts – so my night ended up including a "perfect ten" courses.

Eating at Dill was not the most impressive culinary experience in taste, but at the end of the day, I'm glad I had the chance to eat there, even if it was all something of a hoax.

The novelty more than made up for the less-memorable dishes; that, and the heavenly, rich chuao chocolate dessert. I don’t know what chuao is, but I may be visiting Lidl shortly to find out.

DON'T MISS: Ten soul-satisfying Swedish comfort foods

Katie Dodd

Follow The Local on Twitter

Related links:

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
A ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/TT

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue

UPDATED: Hundreds of young Swedes were set to form a 'ring of peace' around a synagogue in Stockholm on Friday afternoon, in a show of solidarity two weeks after Jews were among those targeted in a pair of deadly shootings in Copenhagen. READ  

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions
Assyrians citizens during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Photo: TT

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has slammed the abduction of Christians in Syria earlier this week and pledged to keep supporting communities affected by the ongoing fighting in the Middle East. READ  

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital
Commuters using some of the stationary escalators in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital

Commuters in Stockholm are set for more frustration next week, with 39 escalators set to remain switched off at some of the city's busiest underground stations, following an accident a fortnight ago. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings
The window of the Copenhagen cultural centre where one man was shot. Photo: TT

Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings

A man has been arrested for "complicity" in the Copenhagen shootings that killed two people earlier this month, with the Swedish artist Lars Vilks among the presumed targets of the attacks. READ  

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project
Vattenfall's Stockholm office. Photo: TT

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project

A massive new offshore wind farm off the west coast of Denmark is being built by the state-owned Swedish company Vattenfall, it has emerged. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks
Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo: TT

Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks

A planned lecture at Sweden's Karlstad University by the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the presumed target of the terror attack at a cultural event in Copenhagen earlier this month, has been scrapped by organisers. READ  

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy
Sweden's economy is growing faster than expected. Photo: TT

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy

Sweden's economy grew more than expected at the end of last year, with GDP rising by 1.1 percent between the third and fourth quarter, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden. READ  

War criminals could go unpunished in Sweden
Tora Holst, head of the International Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm. Photo: Marc Femenia/SCANPIX

War criminals could go unpunished in Sweden

War criminals could walk free in Sweden because there are too few police officers to investigate the suspected offences, prosecutors have warned. READ  

Swedes' coffee passion could cut nerve disease
Swedes are among Europe's biggest coffee drinkers. Photo: Helena Wahlman/Image Bank Sweden

Swedes' coffee passion could cut nerve disease

Few people drink more coffee than the Swedes and now research funded by the Swedish Medical Council has suggested that those who have four to six cups a day may be less likely to get multiple sclerosis (MS). READ  

The Local Recipes
How to make a Swedish 'pyttipanna' fry-up
Pyttipanna with pickled beetroot and a fried egg. Photo: John Duxbury

How to make a Swedish 'pyttipanna' fry-up

Famous Swedish meal 'pyttipanna' has seen a revamp in recent years. This traditional comfort food used to be a way of using up leftovers, but is nowadays often spotted in trendy restaurants. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Super cute sloth twins charm visitors to Swedish zoo
Lifestyle
Meet Sweden's first woman chef to win a Michelin star
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: February 26th - March 5th
Accelerated for Ice Music
What is Bob Dylan's guitarist doing in northern Sweden?
Features
How well do you know Sweden's top celebrity couples?
Blog updates

27 February

Editor’s blog, February 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Our most read story this week got picked up by global media from Al Jazeera to..." READ »

 

18 February

The mysterious -s, part 2 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"-s expressing “each other” (reciprocal verbs) You have most likely used this form of the verbs..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Are company boards 'too white' in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: February 25th
Technology
Sweden is dubbed second most 'digital' nation in European Union
National
Why more Swedes want a sex change
National
The return of Sweden's Ace of Base
National
Why has Julian Assange's case been going on for so long?
National
'21' or 'IS'? Swedish police confuse birthday with Islamist extremism
National
Spring has sprung in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Ängelholm
National
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Business & Money
Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of (yet)
National
Is Sweden home to the world's oldest living cat?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The life and career of Fredrik Reinfeldt
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why are Swedish Jews worried?
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Gallery
People-watching: February 19th-22nd
National
'Racist' bird names banned in Sweden
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Nobel prize to go under hammer
National
Swede named 'Fanny' banned from getting UK loyalty card
National
Spotlight on the Swedes that could be funding Islamists
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Gallery
People-watching: February 18th
National
Is a chocolate crime wave sweeping across Sweden?
National
What we know about the Copenhagen shootings suspect
National
Danish Ambassador: 'We'll live our lives the way we always have'
National
What does this '90s pop act have to do with a former minister?
Lifestyle
How to embrace Sweden's creamy semla bun tradition
National
Did this Swedish hotel really refuse a gay couple?
National
Why are so many escalators down on Stockholm's Metro?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsbacka
National
Can Zlatan's tattoo stunt help end world hunger?
Gallery
People-watching: February 14th
Lars Vilks
National
Who exactly is controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks?
Lifestyle
VIDEO: How to tackle Sweden's bizarre mating rituals
Sponsored Article
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
Lifestyle
How to make traditional Swedish blackberry pie
National
What the weak krona means for expats and visitors to Sweden
National
What's in a Swedish meatball?
National
Spotlight on 32 Swedish Isis fighters killed in Syria and Iraq
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,025
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options