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RESTAURANT

Bauer serves up seriously fun food

Charlotte West savours the Disneyesque design and Spanish-inspired menu of a new Stockholm restaurant.

Bauer serves up seriously fun food

Googly eyes and killer food are about all you can ask for in a restaurant. Södermalm’s newest eatery, Bauer, offers both.

Immediately to the right of the Slussen subway exit on Götgatan, Bauer is located where the old neighborhood pub, Krönet, used to be. The Spanish-inspired menu has a big focus on bite-sized dishes in the form of tapas and cheese plates.

When you step inside the door, you’ll be greeted by several larger-than-life cartoon figures, including a bear, an owl, a giant pink mouse and a yellow square smiley. A three-letter word is the most apt description of this new watering hole: F-U-N.

Designed by interior graphics duo Dizel&Sate, the quirky characters create a youthful atmosphere with their goofy smiles and hint of animé. Slobodan Zivic explains that each icon represents a particular emotion. “We wanted to illustrate different pleasures and senses — tastes, visions, thoughts, dreams, flavours, sexual pleasures, nightlife, parties,” he says.

The pink mouse was inspired by the quintessential rodent himself, Mickey. Zivic cites a quote from Walt Disney: “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” While most restaurants wouldn’t do well to flaunt a mouse, in this case, it adds a lot of charm.

My favourite is the insomniac owl, which Zivic says symbolizes nightlife. It’s a bit more understated and elegant than the other characters, although the underlying humour is still there.

A blurb on the menu describes the design as “1920s Bauhaus style” combined with “Berlin’s new gallery and bar culture”. I wouldn’t immediately associate the interior with Bauhaus, known for its modernist flair and geometric shapes, but this description works for the owl and certainly for the wallpaper.

The allusion to Berlin is also apropos, as the decor in the main room combines a gritty, unfinished feel with a touch of elegance; raw MDF is juxtaposed with ornate moulding that was probably part of the original architecture. It creates an interesting lounge area that also doubles as a gallery space.

As for the food, the tapas, which range between 45-55 kronor, stole the show. The ajo blanco (asparagus soup) was definitely worth writing home about, but even so, it wasn’t the best thing on the menu. When I sampled the bacon-wrapped dates, my boyfriend mumbled rather grumpily: “You look like you just had an orgasm, and I didn’t have anything to do with it”. (I don’t think anything more needs to be said about that).

Having had our appetites fully satisfied by the orgasmic dates, we opted to skip the main courses, which were a bit pricey at around 250 kronor per person. Here you can expect fusion fare, including butter fried jumbo pollock, roasted duck breast coq au vin, and beef angus.

Our only real complaint was the service. The staff were friendly but forgetful — it took 30 minutes for our server to bring bread, and only then after we reminded her twice, by which time the asparagus soup was cold. (It’s a good thing I was preoccupied by my dates).

All in all, Bauer deserves a big thumbs up on everything from the decor to the bacon-swaddled figs. It provides an alternative for people wanting to avoid the hype of Stureplan but who are still seeking a little something different. It’s casual, yet cool. Stockholm needs more restaurants like this — in other words, places that don’t take themselves so seriously.

Address:

Götgatan 15, Stockholm

Phone:

08-640 08 20

Opening hours:

Mon-Fri 16:00-01:00

Sat-Sun 15:00-01:00

For members

DISCOVER SWEDEN

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

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