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The best king crab I’ve ever had: Restaurant Fäviken Magasinet (11. May 2019)

| June 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

I was first inspired by the Fäviken when I saw the episode on Chef’s Table in October last year. The idea of going to an absolutely remote location to try exquisite food was really appealing to me. However, actually getting there turned out to be much more of a hassle than initially expected. After flying to Trondheim (which you can’t get to directly) it was time to rent a car and drive 200 km across the countryside to get to Sweden – crossing mountains and being exposed to rather heavy snow storms.

Once you’ve finally made it and arrive in Fäviken, you appreciate the remoteness. You don’t even have reception for your cell phone. Which feels a bit weird at first, it is actually quite enjoyable. The place is lovely, the interior is very appealing, and last but not least, everything has a rather clear way of how things should be. At 7pm the dinner starts officially but you’re recommended to show up earlier (like 6:30pm) so you get to enjoy one of there three home-made cocktails (or alternatively a ‘standard’ one). I went for the “apple bourbon cocktail” (150 SEK) which was surprisingly refreshing and a lot to my gusto.

With that, they serve “cognac smeer wurst and pickled carrots”. I liked the pickled carrots (as they weren’t too sour) and the smeer wurst as well but it is rather fatty and your fingers end up being all oily.

After that, the official “tasting menu” (3’000 SEK) starts which has to be prepaid upon the moment of booking. What you have to get used to when you are dining at Fäviken is the speed in which dishes are served. It starts with “linseed and vinegar crisps, mussel dip” which is interesting but you won’t have time to eat it all.

What I appreciate a lot was the fact that they have a lot of courses which are prepared at your table making it a bit more interactive and taking some speed out of the process. I haven’t heard of “Mycelium broth” before but it was an interesting warm drink with ‘mouse curd’.

What was furthermore interesting was the fact that you’re randomly seated with people you don’t know for parts of the meal (beginning and ending). I personally like that but I think it might be somewhat disturbing for other people if they are not really too friendly with others.

Next in line was the “wholegrain wheat cracker with swede salad” which wasn’t easy to eat but it was quite tasty in terms of flavor. A nice combination of crispy cracker and another crispiness of the vegetable.

The “wild trout roe served with sour cream” was interesting because it was served in “dried pig blood” providing it with an interesting flavor like ‘morcilla’.

What you experience at Fäviken is the idea that you really use everything from head to tail. The “pig’s head, dipped in sourdough and deep-fried, gooseberry, tarragon salt” served on a birch branch. It was a simple but aromatic bite – although they did use a lot of oil to fry it. A bit too much for my gusto.

The next was “bird’s liver custard, malted cabbage, rowanberries and coltsfoot”. Somewhat interesting as it felt somehow like eating a part of bork and the liver had a special intensity. Not really my favorite.

The “slices of cured pork” were a bit boring if you looked at them, however, I can appreciate a good slice of lardo!

That was the first part of the dinner which was served downstairs which is kind of setup like a living area with sofas and the like.

The decoration is rather simple with some branches and a candle – but it fits the place perfectly! It somehow feels like in an old little cottage in the Swiss mountains. And it’s pretty much just that – just in the Swedish mountains.

After this orgy of little bites, it’s time to get upstairs where the actual ‘restaurant’ is where you get your ‘own’ table. That is, of course, very nice, but they are also not so open to you moving the table (or asking for it) as apparently this is not foreseen in the concept. I get that you have a clear understanding of how things should be, however, I would have appreciated a bit of flexibility. The butter served was absolutely amazing again.

When the first actual course was served, “scallop “i skalet ur elden” cooked over burning juniper branches” I was having very high hopes as it did not only smell lovely but it was also looking amazing.

You had to open the shell and eat the scallop by hand and drink the juices. The scallop was good but I haven’t found a single one which would be able to compete with the one I’ve tried in 2014 in the O Paparico in Porto. And it wasn’t the case here either. Good, yes, delicious, yes. Coming close to the one I have had in Porto, no.

This course was my absolute favorite and changed my view of crabs as a food. It was MOUTH-WATERING! The “king crab and almost burnt cream” was – to me – the best course of the evening. The crab was so incredibly soft and tender and yet so full of flavor that you would just experience happiness!

After the crab, my expectations for the upcoming courses were relatively high but weren’t fully satisfied. The “cod and butter flavoured with cod garum, cooking juices” did look incredibly promising …

… and even more so once the butter to be put on top was served …

… and it did look delicious. Unfortunately, it didn’t entirely live up to these expectations. The cod had a relatively strong consistency and – without the butter – would have been relatively bland.

The “sourdough pancake, seaweed, beef butter” was not easy to eat by hand (it was a super big mess actually; at least for me) but it was lovely in terms of flavor.

The “lupin curd gratin” was well meant but not really to my liking.

I had mentioned the ‘food ceremonies’ before and it was again time for one of them – this time the “mahogany clam with lingonberries”. I have never heard of a Mahogany clam but I was told that they had only been discovered about 10 years ago and that the oldest ones get up to 500 years old. Apparently, the one I got served was ‘only’ 50 years old, so one wouldn’t have to feel so bad.

What I liked was the precision with which Barbara had prepared the dish at the table. Clear cuts, all pieces the same size, clear distribution of the lingonberries and its juice. Frankly though, it was interesting to eat because I had never tried it before but for something to be celebrated in the way it was I had expected a bit more. The mussel was still alive when being served and only ‘died’ once it was cut in pieces. Somehow cruel if you think about it.

The next course was something I liked due to its way of being served – when it came to the “small egg coated in ash, sauce made from dried trout and pickled marigold” it was of pivotal importance for the waiters to mention one has to peel off the black part first before eating it, as the ash is not edible. Once that’s done and your table and your fingers are full of ash because it’s not entirely easy to peel off that ash crust, you get to dip it in a dried trout sauce which makes it very tasty. Even the relatively ‘gummy’ consistency of the egg is a pleasant one – surprisingly enough!

When the next course was served, I jokingly said that it’s called “The Asparagus”, and frankly, I think I wasn’t that far off. Officially, it’s called “a steamed asparagus, very good cream and Finnish fish eggs” which is served in a three step approach starting with ‘the asparagus’ …

… and then the ‘Finnish fish eggs’ are added …

… and finally the “very good cream”. Besides the fact that the cream actually was very good, I considered it rather funny that they would call a cream “a very good cream”. However, the combination of the three elements together made for an exquisite dish. Simple in its way of being prepared and served yet so powerful when it comes to flavor.

For the next course, earlier that evening (so this picture was taken earlier) the “veal saddle” was shown and it was explained that this would be the veal used to prepare our dishes.

Finally, it was time for the ‘main course’, if you can call it that way. “Veal, with tasty paste”. Yes, ‘tasty paste’. That is the official name of the little black dot. And it is admittedly tasty but it is also rather simple consisting of equal amounts of onions, carrots and mushrooms reduced to this said paste. The veal was super tender and rich in flavor and provided a true taste experience with the ‘tasty paste’. The veal, however, was lacking a bit flavor of its own in my opinion.

While you were eating the veal, a “liver toast” was served which was intense in taste and generally interesting. However, I don’t think veal liver as a spread will become my favorite form of liver.

After this, dessert time started. The first dessert was “colostrum wit meadowsweet”. Not sure what exactly I ate right there but it was tasty.

Next were “slices of raw Jerusalem artichoke, darkly roasted lupin” which was somewhat interesting as well.

The “spoon of silage ice cream” belonged to these things where you were somehow happy if you didn’t have a clear understanding of what exactly was served here. Apparently, if I understood correctly, silage is the first milk a cow gives to her baby cow right after it’s born. Not that it’s gross or anything but somehow you imagine nevertheless.

What was also rather inspiring was the fact that they’ve prepared a dessert purely made of potato called “potato dream”. Basically the “buns” of this are made of potato starch and the middle is a caramel made of potato sugar as both are cheaper than their regular version. And it was actually quite tasty. Something I had not expected from a potato dessert.

Next was again a ‘preparation show’ at the table. The “rhubarb baked in pearl sugar, very fresh cottage cheese” was basically prepared like the sea bass in a salt crust but it was actually a rhubarb in a sugar crust …

… which was opened right in front of you …

… showing that they had not prepared the whole rhubarb this way but stuck the top in again once the rest was baked and done.

The rhubarb was then refined with sugary water …

… and a variety of small elements among which a ton of powdered sugar …

… as well as the first flower in Sweden.

The final product was then enriched with fresh cottage cheese and while I usually don’t like sour that much and I don’t like rhubarb that much, it was actually super tasty – also in combination with the cottage cheese.

The restaurant upstairs also reminded me of a Swiss cottage in the Swiss mountains … just a bit more spacious than usually …

… where you would even find pieces of meat hung up to dry.

After this course, it was time to go down again to where we had started the evening. And you were sat at the same table again. It then started down there with “raspberry ice” which was basically a little ball of ice cream and quite intense in taste.

Next was the ‘poor man’s créme brûlée’ which was prepared with “bone marrow pudding” and lit up …

… and then cooled down with the “frozen milk”. The dish was good but I prefer the real thing.

What was surprisingly good for a dessert were the “pickled semi-dried root vegetables”, something I can imagine nibbling away on for hours.

With this course, they had me. Something salty for dessert – yes, please! The “reindeer and birch pie” was basically thinly shaved cured reindeer meat in a little pie form – and it was absolutely amazing!

The “wooden box filled with tar pastilles, meadowsweet candy, sunflower nougat, smoked caramel, dried rowanberries and dried black currants” was worth trying. I was surprised a bit by the idea of ‘tar pastilles’ but it turned out for them to be ‘licorice’ which sounds way more appealing than eating tar!

The “aromatic seeds” were ranging from “mustard” to “black berries” to “anis” to “mint” to “coriander” and something else I cannot remember. I like things like these but couldn’t eat too much really.

Finally, the dinner ended with the weirdest offer I have ever had so far in a restaurant – be it Michelin starred or not! The last course was “snus fermented in a used bitters barrel”. So they would offer you actual snus with a napkin to spit it out. It is, admittedly, very Swedish and Scandinavian in general but after such a meal snus – wow! I was surprised and I must admit, I skipped this course.

But I didn’t skip the schnaps collection they offered to try. Ranging from “duck egg” to “milk” to “black berry” and “plum”. Some of them are rather intense and a bit difficult to stomach but in general they were quite delicious. So, all in all, the Fäviken is worth the experience as you get to try a lot of things which you would usually not even consider eating or preparing at home. The fact that they really somehow try to do ‘nose to tail’ is something I can appreciate. When it comes to the so called ‘oral orgasm’, I think the king crab did exactly that. With the rest there were things I liked more, some less but overall definitely a nice experience.

What I liked a lot about it is the fact that it’s so secluded. The Fäviken is really in the middle of nowhere – and it consists of a bunch of buildings which are either red or white.

And they let you look into the kitchen where you can see the chefs preparing for the evening when you arrive around 4pm. I didn’t walk in and check in detail but I would have loved to.

The wine pairing (1’750 SEK) which is offered is interesting but only consists of six different wines (respectively similar products like met). While six wines for about 30 courses seems like little, it is actually more than enough as they seem to have an unwritten ‘refill policy’. So, if your glass is already empty, it will be refilled.

Given the Fäviken will close end of year, I consider myself lucky to have been able to pay this place a visit and try it out. It was definitely worth trying even though getting there is a real hassle!


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Contact Details:

Restaurant Fäviken Magasinet

Fäviekn 216

830 05 Järpen (SE)

Tel.: +46 647 401 77

Fax: +46 647 401 47

E-Mail: info@favikenmagasinet.se

Homepage: http://favikenmagasinet.se

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
13'400 SEK (incl. tip) Filed in: Järpen (SE), Restaurants, The World's 50 Best Restaurants

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