I first read about Daniel Berlin in May 2015 and immediately contacted them to book a table. Some of the dates in late August that I suggested were already unavailable, so I booked the Saturday at the end of September for Stewart’s birthday. That became our inside joke, as clearly I am the one who is food obsessed and even though Stewart enjoys good food, his choice of a birthday weekend would likely involve more physical, more outdoor based activities, and fork lifting doesn’t seem to qualify!
We then scored a booking at Noma, and the weekend really became all about food, and long tasting menus. After our dinner at Noma on Friday night, we had mixed emotions. Did we really sign up for two back-to-back dinners with over 20 course menus? However when we were at Noma and mentioned to Katherine Bont that we were headed to Daniel Berlin in the morning, she got very excited, and mentioned that she had been wanting to go for a long time and was actually finally going just one week after our visit.
Daniel Berlin is located an hour north of Malmo and a very nice drive from Copenhagen. We had a booking to stay at Munka Tagarp (review on a separate post), which is Monica and Fredrik’s residence with an annex where they rent rooms out. They drove us to dinner and we were welcomed by Daniel Berlin who was waiting for us outside. (maybe Monica’s husband send him an sms alert that we were arriving?) It was a very nice way to start the evening.
We were taken to our table by the hostess, Daniel Berlin’s mother, and his father, the sommelier came by immediately to welcome us too. The dining rooms fits around 15 people and it is simple but beautifully set up.
What we ate:
We started off with a series of delicious nibbles that were all very tasty.
Dried onion with lovage and rye: an almost transparent rye cracker with a sweet onion concoction.
Peppery stems, raw shrimps and apple: this dish was visually stunning with the apple frosted from being in the freezer (just for show and not to be consumed).
Turnip in cod-stomach and dill: when I heard about the cod stomach, I have to admit I got slightly scared. It was a paper thin turnip and a little cod sandwich. The fish insides were tender and tasty, and not odd in any way.
Roasted skin, rhubarb and quail eggs: this was one of the best snacks ever! Very crispy bird skin around a quail egg yolk.
Yeast pancake with pork and vinegar: this was another morsel that I would have loved to have had 10 of, and actually wake up and have it again for breakfast.
Birds-liver in chestnut and anise: sounds way less appealing than it was and it was in fact delicious. The liver was a very light mousse and was layered between once again think crackers with a subtle sweetness from the chestnuts and thankfully, almost undetectable anise flavour.
Small crabs, grilled herbs and cucumber: this was a delicate and velvety crab broth with an oil made from garden plans (whatever that means…) It was very cool how the drops of bright green oil kept opening up and popping in the broth.
We then got some delicious honey bread with two butters, cow and goat. Good thing Stewart liked the goat and I liked the saltier cow.
Fallow deer, seaweed and fermented barley: pac man ghost-looking dumplings filled with meat and wrapped in kohlrabi (no dough), with a frozen cabbage dust on top. Yum!
Cod, peas, flowers: Daniel always has a cod dish on his menu, prepared differently throughout the seasons. I was mesmerized by the rainbow colours that stood out from the piece of fish – strange but so gorgeous! That cod was one of the most gorgeous pieces of fish I had ever seen. You could just taste its quality. The fish was salted before being cooked at a very low temperature, which gave the fish the perfect tenderness. Ours was served with unripe currants and peas, but the fish was the main star!
Onion, gooseberries and fresh hazelnut: another dish I would LOVE to eat again and again. It was the lightest and tastiest rendition of a French onion soup, with brilliant sweetness from the way the honey-caramelized onions served with pickled gooseberries and topped with onion and potato-cream with fresh hazelnuts and a juice made of roasted onions. So good!
At this point we were sent outside for a little wonder of the garden where we were handed blankets and a warm and comforting pumpkin, sea buckthorn and carrot soup.
Celeriac, celeriac, celeriac: suddenly the entire dining room stopped, as Daniel Berlin entered the room to prepare his signature dish in front of our eyes. I had read about his celeriac signature dish, and I have to admit it was one of the reasons I was dying to go. I am a complete celeriac addict! He then spooned out meaty yummy “pulp” from the celeriac that had been on the grill for 8 hours, sweetened with the smoke from burning beech wood. It was served three ways: from the shell they make a celeriac-bread; from the remainder of the root they cook a broth with aged Swedish västerbotten cheese; and from the stem they make an oil that is then drizzled over everything.
Chanterelles, plums and yeast chestnut: This was insanely good! A toasted chestnut bread and topped with a cream of plums and with the thinnest transparent slice of pig fat laying beautifully on top. This was served with a side of earthy and umami chanterelle mushroom broth that they brewed in a coffee percolator kind of device – I could bathe in it, it was that divine!
Partridge, woodruff, elderflowers and Brussel sprouts: the bird had been shot 2 km from the restaurant, and was grilled and served with those Brussel sprouts that had been laying on the grill…..
Duck from Bokeslund, aronia-berries and cep: thankfully a smallish portion of duck with the thinly sliced mushrooms and berries. We were getting full at this point and ready for dessert.
Even though we thought we didn’t have room for one more course, when we were offered an optional cheese course (charged extra) we could simply not resist. Four tasty cheeses and some home-made jams/chutneys.
Creamy Jerusalem artichoke, pancakes and dewberry: they prepared the pancakes in the centre of the main dining area, infusing the space with an addictive buttery smell. The sweet/savoury pancakes were served with a warm rosehip soup and an ice cream made with shoots from a tree. The little pancakes are commonly eaten in kindergarten (I want to be born a Swedish kid in my next life!) but the kid’s version doesn’t have dewberry (raspberry and blackberry) ice cream or the Jerusalem artichoke.
Salty egg whites in buttermilk: rosemary meringue and salted caramel on top of buttermilk ice cream and goat’s yoghurt. The caramel goat’s yoghurt was intense and unique, and we so used our fingers to clean every last drop from the plate.
After dessert we were directed outside to the gorgeous greenhouse in the gardens where we relaxed with coffee, Chocolate from Sri Lanka (which got me excited about our upcoming Sri Lanka New Year’s trip) and liqueurs. This was the perfect ending to our lovely meal.
We loved our dinner and it was a very interesting contrast to the meal at Noma the previous night. This is a family business, and there are just five chefs in the kitchen (Noma has 70). They serve a few lucky people every night and are merely open for half of the week. There were several dishes that we would love to eat again and again, and as we left, we kept wishing that we could have those pancakes that we had at the start of dinner, for breakfast. Ellinor, who is lovely and works with the team by helping during dinner, also helps with bookings and arranging accommodation for guests in advance, and I would say that staying the night is a must. Driving at midnight after 20 courses, with wine pairings? No way!
Daniel’s food is creative and interesting, but his ingredients are less eclectic than those used at Noma. You don’t see garlic leathers or crickets in the menu, but you do still see creative and delicious ways of using local ingredients. Both meals in our eyes were a 10 overall!
In sum: make a weekend out of it and go! I of course can’t claim it is really the best in Sweden as I haven’t tried many, but certainly it is fantastic and worth a trip. I am also dying to go to Flaviken…..
Diligensvägen 21, 273 92 Tomelilla, Sweden
Telephone: +46 (0) 41731000