The best seasonal fair-trade organic produce in spectacular surroundings beside the sea.
Salt och Bryggia is the life project of Björn, a Swedish entrepreneur; he’s enthusiastic, cheerful and loves his job. If you talk to him like we did, you’ll quickly find out that this is his dream come true. He told us that it all began after having travelled the Americas from the Amazon rainforest to Canada by bike and having become acquainted with lots of different perspectives and ways of doing things. He had always been interested in food and health from a holistic point of view and when he discovered the world of organic farming and healthy eating, he was fascinated. When he got back to Sweden and after having set up a couple of small restaurants making the most of local, non-genetically modified produce he decided to go for it and set up the first 100% organic, local, sustainable restaurant in the country in 2000. He wanted to show that it could be done and that it could be sustainable while providing the best quality. He told us that now it’s obvious, but when he started you could type in “organic” on the internet and only 20 entries would pop up; now there are millions of hits. It was a big challenge.
He’s not only a visionary and pioneer in terms of the concept and philosophy of the restaurant, but also when choosing the location and design of the building. He decided it should be located in Malmö’s western port, which had been an industrial shipping area for decades with the main docks in the city. The area was given a new lease of life in the 90s when the Malmö Conference Centre, several office buildings –including the iconic Turning Torso tower– and a considerable part of Malmö University were built there. At the start of the project there were no restaurants in the area, which is far from the city centre. The popularity of the area has gone from strength to strength in the past few years and now it’s in great demand. Björn spotted the area’s big potential from the very first moment he saw how close it was to the sea with fantastic views of the bay and the sunsets. He decided to be the first restaurateur in the area and open the restaurant he’d always dreamed about.
Helped by some of the best architects in Sweden, he created a building that was energy self-sufficient thanks to the solar panels on the terrace and the southern façade, and the biogas tanks that collect all the waste organic material generated by the restaurant. Apart from this, the whole interior was designed following bioconstruction criteria using natural materials that are not treated chemically. All the paints, varnishes and wood have been allergy tested; all the furniture, tablecloths and all other elements in the restaurant have been made by local craftsmen or manufacturers. One thing is certain: the décor is always elegant and restrained. He also ensured that the people who work with him are, firstly, happy and are passionate about their job, and secondly, healthy and physically active to create a healthy atmosphere in the restaurant. He proudly tells us that there are no smokers in his team and that they all get to the restaurant by bike.
The restaurant is open from 12 noon to 2 pm and has a small selection of dishes. At night it brings out the big guns: it is open from 5 pm to 11 pm with a menu containing around a dozen seasonal dishes and three tasting menus, which they are especially proud of. One of these three menus always has fish and shellfish specialities, another has meat and the third one is vegetarian. You can accompany your meal with a set wine menu with each wine matched for each dish, which can be chosen from their carefully chosen selection of natural wines.
All the produce is 100% organic and they personally know most of the producers. Some are even from Björn’s own garden. They only serve fish caught with large nets and, the most important thing, which are not at risk of becoming extinct; so you won’t find eel, prawns, or fish or shellfish on the WWF red list. They think that being consistent with their values in relation to the planet is essential.
We went there one beautiful day in June and firstly sampled a delicious glass of natural white wine recommended to us by the sommelier, then we tried their version of mussels with potatoes, fresh asparagus –which they are extremely proud of at that time of the year– with chickpeas and seaweed, and the wild salmon with new Swedish potatoes and smooth mustard and dill sauce. The dishes melted on our taste buds. The quality, freshness and local character they talk about is reflected in each dish. What’s more, eating them peacefully on the terrace, warmed by the soft light of the sunset’s last rays is priceless.
If you go to Malmö, you need to go to Salt och Bryggia to sample its exquisite specialities and exceptional service; if it’s a nice day, go early so you can see one of those spectacular sunsets.