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Concept to Watch: Sweden

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Inspired by the Indoor Food Market

Gothia Towers in Gothenburg has 704 hotel rooms and suites in two towers. A third tower is currently being constructed and when completed, the hotel will have 1,200 rooms making it the largest hotel in the Nordic region. In August 2012, a new restaurant concept was launched in the hotel’s lobby level-West Coast, which is a tribute to the delicious food of the west coast. It is a modern bistro inspired by the atmosphere of an indoor food market, showcasing fish and shellfish in aquariums and meat on display in counters around the open kitchen. This indoor food market style is a trend on the Swedish restaurant scene. Executive Chef, is also the captain of the Swedish Culinary Team. He is proud to declare that most of the produce used in West Coast originates from the Swedish west coast region and many of the products are from small scale suppliers who share their values of sustainability and care for the environment. The West Coast dining room has around 70 seats including a community table and a food bar for guests who eat alone. It also includes a lounge area and a bar. Future plans include building a greenhouse outside of the restaurant for growing vegetables, spices and herbs. www.westcoastgbg.se, www.gothiatowers.se
Upgraded Fast-Food
Vigårda Barbeque is an upgraded fast-food concept, or perhaps better defined as a fast-casual concept. It is located in Stockholm’s new, high-end shopping mall, the Mood Galleria, which opened in March 2012. The menu offers seven varieties of made-to-order Vigårda Burgers. What’s between the burger bun halves? Choose from amongst high quality ingredients such as beef, lamb, corn fed chicken, pulled pork, vegetables, etc. All dishes are barbecued on a large charcoal grill and served with a salad, a side dish and the guest’s choice of homemade dressings. Prices for a meal range from SEK65-85 excluding beverages. In the evenings, DJs play music and a narrow range of alcoholic beverages are served, including wines, beers and mixed drinks. Vigårda is the creation of famous chef and entrepreneur, Melker Andersson of the continuously expanding F12 Group, together with his partner Danyel Couet and a third chef, Jonas Ålund. They have a clear focus on regional products, transparency and food origin. A chilled storage room forms a part of the interior design where food products are clearly visible to the guests. www.vigarda.se
Around the Big Fire Pit
Open fire is the key element of the restaurant Ekstedt in central Stockholm.Celebrity chef Niklas Ekstedt and restaurant group Stureplansgruppen jointly own the concept, which opened less than a year ago. All the dishes are prepared in a wood burning hearth, a fire pit or a wood-fired stove, embracing man’s original and traditional cooking methods. No electricity is used in the kitchen. The restaurant has 50 seats and the atmosphere is cosy and warm, accentuated by the homely scent of Scandinavian wood and fireplace. The interior design and décor is inspired by Swedish nature and Niklas Ekstedt’s own childhood memories – timbered wood, sand stone and copper. The kitchen area is dominated by the big fire pit with food being cooked while hanging from hooks above the fire, captivating the guests but also requiring special skills from the chefs. There is a challenge in obtaining a balance between the right amount of wood, the ideal temperature and the exact distance above the searing flames. The menu contains a number of rather small dishes and at least three dishes per person are recommended. The food is primarily based on local and  seasonal produce. Three courses come for SEK650 and five courses come for SEK850. Examples from the menu are scallops and mussels grilled over open fire with seaweed, oysters, hazelnut and cucumber or crispy neck of pork, truffle sausage and caramelised cabbage. www.ekstedt.nu, www.stureplansgruppen.se