Posted on: April 17, 2012 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 0

Amy and I landed in Gothenburg dressed in rubber boots and rain jackets. So of course the sun came out and shone down on us all day. It glistened on the waters of the canal and filled the white-buttressed sanctuary of the Fish Church (Fiskekyrkan) where Karin had booked us a table for our first Swedish meal.

Gabriels is a father and son establishment inside the city’s fish market where you’re likely to see champion oyster-shucking chef Johan Malm practicing his skills in the open kitchen. Johan himself greeted us with shots of their famous house soup. Then he brought us oysters doused in vodka and topped with roe, served up like shooters on iced shot glasses. I ordered the Day’s Catch, a delicate filet of poached hake (kummel) served with mashed potatoes and leeks, and a rich cupful of shrimp cooked in horseradish butter (pepparrotsfrasta). It was, in a word, heavenly.

Note that the engraved silverware. Malmstenet tragard, Gotheburg’s first nightclub, burned down in the 80s, but Johan exhumed its blackened silverware from the ashes, polished it up and gave it a second life.