Restaurant with greenhouse

The formula is increasingly popular and is very successful when it comes to the PM& Vänner, in Southern Sweden

The dining room of restaurant PM & Vänner in Väx

The dining room of restaurant PM & Vänner in Växjö, a city in Southern Sweden, tel. +46.(0)470.700444. A few hundred metres away, there’s a greenhouse with a little vegetable garden. Soon the restaurant will become an innovative hotel gourmet

Per Bengtsson, together with Monika, welcomes us into the sensational greenhouse/vegetable garden in the centre of Växjö, a city, in the Småland region of Southern Sweden. The meeting, arranged with a large number of journalists coming from all over Europe, was the occasion to better understand a cuisine based on local nature, from forests to lakes, but it was also the ideal moment to present, well ahead of time, the project that will see the restaurant being transformed into a hotel gourmet, perhaps the first to be defined in such a way (and not only in Sweden) during the summer of 2014.

Hospitality, with a swimming pool and a lounge area on the roof of the building, will soon be finalized so that people can experience Nordic cuisine in a much more hospitable place, even though it will be far away from the traditional Swedish food circuits. We will cover this again, once it is opened, but for now Identità Golose has already focused its attention on PM & Vänner, in the previous editions of the guide, because it is a restaurant in which it is difficult not to feel at ease, also thanks to the lively clientele which comprises both food enthusiasts and young locals who enjoy the pre and after dinner by the bar. But let’s move in order.

Chef Per Bengtsson and his greenhouse

Chef Per Bengtsson and his greenhouse

The lovely greenhouse of the PM & Vänner, including a small kitchen garden, is located a few hundred metres from the restaurant, surrounded by houses, and is perfectly inserted in the city; this is an oasis for experiments where the restaurant’s chefs, namely Johannes Persson and Anders Lauring (chef de cuisine and head chef respectively), move with the care and attention of a botanic scientist. A walk around the herbs and the small plants that come out of the earth is enough to understand the ideas that will be then showed off on the table, in a very remarkable sequence of dishes, thanks to their intensity, adventurous proposal of regional flavours and modern intuitions.

Per Bengtsson is an affable landlord and he eagerly explains the techniques, textures and temperatures of each dish with an impeccable style. What surprises is the balance of the Pork terrine with wild garlic, the Meatballs with lamb confit, nettles and fennel, or the Mushrooms with pike-perch cheeks, butter and flowers. Seasonal fruits and vegetables become some essential ingredients in a cuisine that here and there enjoys also some contrasting flavours. Among the desserts of course there is rhubarb, what is surprising is a game that is not new at PM & Vänner, though it is always fun.

Rhubarb-based dessert, a Nordic classic

Rhubarb-based dessert, a Nordic classic

It is called Single Cow Cheese 2.1, that is the cheese made from the milk of just one cow (called Pärla, born on March 30th 2005), presented at dinner with the photos and story of the cow included in a brochure for you to keep. Finally, a praise goes to the wine. Here there’s one of the best Swedish cellars and in charge is expert Spanish sommelier Rubén Sanz Ramiro. Between a French Vouvray and a Cabernet from Napa Valley (or an excellent Italian wine) time goes by, though you’d like the night not to end.


Spotti e mangiati

The establishments, tastes and cooking personalities in Europe, as seen by Gualtero Spotti