Malmö: dinner (and wine!) at Bastard

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I know, you’re probably giggling at the headline, but that is the actual name of a restaurant in Malmö. A very nice restaurant in fact. It’s been around for a few years now and is always busy which is a good sign.

The atmosphere is best described as cosy meets big city, as it definitely feels the restaurant would work just as well in London or New York as in little Malmö. The focus of the food is on meat and unusual cuts and they have the same menu in the bar area and restaurant.

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When I came here with my friend Carina one evening between Christmas and New Year we hadn’t booked but we came early enough to get a table after just a ten minute wait in the bar. We started off with a glass at the bar; champagne for me and a glass of white for Carina.

Sitting down we both had a lovely white burgundy (La Châtelaine 2015) that we stuck to the rest of the evening. We also had the charcuterie board which I would say is compulsory here. It’s more mixed than Terroirs, but just as nice.

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After a while we decided we were still hungry and ordered the burrata (mainly for Carina) and the sweetbreads (mainly for me). The burrata was really nice and the oranges and pomegranate seeds balanced the creaminess very well.

The sweetbreads were cooked to perfection (such a joy!) and the sauce was incredible too, but I found the carrots as a dull pairing. I would have liked something with more acidity or bite to balance the heavy sweetbreads.

With that said we really enjoyed the meal and our evening here. I love that every single waiter or bar staff we spoke to were so passionate about the menu, wines and the business in general.

Bastard, Mäster Johansgatan 11, 211 21 Malmö, Sweden

Lunch by the coast: Cruderia Al Porto, Cierva

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Our third day in the Emilia-Romagna area we drove to the coast for lunch. It seemed like all Italians had made the same plan for Easter Sunday as us, so it took us a good half an hour to even find a parking space about a 15 minute walk from the restaurarant. But it was a nice day for a walk so we didn’t mind.

We started our lunch with some thinly sliced raw fish (tuna, salmon, octopus and two types of white fish) served with a grassy olive oil and lemon juice – nice and fresh!

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Thinking of the lovely red prawns from the night before we decided to also share a red prawn tartar with endive, fried garlic and saffron. It was nice but sadly not as fantastic as we had hoped.

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The restaurant was full to the brim with guests, and the staff was very busy looking after all the guests, but between our starters and our main courses it took about 45 minutes. I honestly think they had forgotten about us, and as we were absolutely starving (the starters made us more hungry if anything) it was a long wait.

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My ravioli with burrata (inside the ravioli – such a brilliant idea!) with large prawns and the most amazing tomato sauce with both depth and sweetness, was well worth the wait. It was one of the best dishes I had during our trip and it was just fantastic. So wish I had the recipe so I could recreate it at home.

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Sadly Carolines squid ink pasta with squid and bottarga wasn’t as impressive. In fact, we couldn’t understand how it was produced in the same kitchen as my delicious ravioli.

OK, the actual pasta was well cooked and the squid was nice, but it lacked a lot in flavour and didn’t really come together as a dish. Such a shame!

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Even though we were (finally) full after our pasta dishes we couldn’t resist the mini tiramisus we saw carried around the restaurant on trays, and it was just a perfect ending to the meal. It was great in flavour but a little more crunchy than your regular tiramisu but I liked it!

I’m a bit ambivalent in my opinion of this restaurant; my ravioli was extraordinarily good and I really want to come back to eat it again, but at the same time I don’t think the other dishes we had quite measure up, but since they can produce that amazing ravioli I’m willing to give them another chance. They were incredibly busy, and the potential is there, I just wish that all the dishes were as good as the one I had.

Al Porto, Lungomare D’Annunzio 2 – 48015 Cervia Ra, Italy

Burrata with slow roasted tomatoes

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I love burrata, the creamier cousin of mozzarella,  a lot  but I struggle to find it in Sweden. I’m sure they have it in some of Malmö’s better cheese shops but I thought it easier to bring a fresh one with me from my local Whole Foods.

We had it as a starter one evening soon after arrived to Sweden, together with slow roasted tomatoes, a nice olive oil, grilled bread and a bowl of buttery nocellara olives.

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It almost felt like we were by the Mediterranean; being sat outside, next to a fig tree, sipping rosé and eating the creamy burrata with slow roasted tomatoes. Such a lovely evening.

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Slow roasted tomatoes, serves 3 as a starter

150-200 g small tomatoes, halved

1 clove of garlic, sliced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

some chopped basil

a splash of olive oil 

salt, black pepper

fresh basil to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 125C. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil in an oven-proof tray. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and stir so the oil coats everything evenly. Place in the oven and leave for 2-3 hours. Remove the (now brown) basil from the tray. Plate the rest, garnish with fresh basil leaves and a good splash or olive oil. 

Pappa al pomodoro with burrata

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Although I utterly adore this simple Italian bread and tomato soup, I haven’t made it myself until recently. I saw no point cooking this with flavourless winter tomatoes, but now when the tomatoes (at least the forced ones) are in season again I just couldn’t wait any longer to make it.

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But I will admit it might work even better in the autumn when there are sunwarm tomatoes aplenty but the outside temperatures have dropped slightly. However, serving the pappa al pomodoro with a cold, creamy and mild burrata makes the dish a whole lot more summery. (I have the wonderful restaurant Zucca to thank for that idea.) And you don’t have to serve the soup piping hot either, it is nice when just warm too.

Pappa al pomodoro, serves 2-3 

2 medium tomatoes

4 small garlic cloves

1 bunch basil

3-5 tbsp of good quality olive oil

salt and black pepper

400 g tinned tomatoes (whole or chopped)

200 ml water

200 g stale white bread, sourdough or farmhouse style bread

To serve: burrata

Cube the tomatoes and chop half the garlic and add to an ovenproof tray. Also add a third of the basil and drizzle with olive oil. Season. Roast in 200C oven for 20 minutes. 

Chop the rest of the basil and garlic. Add to a saucepan and fry in olive oil for a minute or so. Add the tinned tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Break the bread into chunks and add to the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes (oil, garlic and all) and mix well. Remove from heat, add olive oil and season to taste. Garnish with some more chopped basil and the burrata. 

Zucca, Bermondsey – wow!

We had time for another restaurant visit when my friends Malin and Tobbe were here last weekend. They wanted to go to an Italian restaurant and I gave them a short list with a few names on, and from that list they chose Zucca, which I was super excited about since it has been on my to-eat list for quite a while ago.

They are very popular, so book well in advance. I was really happy that they could find us a table and although we arrived a few minutes early our table was ready for us.

We had a seat in the dining room decorated with plush carpet and modern white glossy furniture. On one wall you have the open kitchen so regardless of where you are sitting you will have a view of the kitchen.

We started with the suggested aperitif; prosecco with pomegranate. I can never resist bubbly and this drink was refreshing and nice. After the waitress had taken our order everything was very efficient in a definitely non-stressful way. The waiting staff just did their job really well and knew when we were ready for the next step.

The bread basket consisted of three types of bread, that were all delicious but the foccacia really stood out. It was soft in the middle, nice and oily but crusty on the outside.

Next was our amuse bouche; frittata. Also very nice.

Then our starters. Malin chose the olive crostini with charkuterie and was very please with her decision.

My popo al pomodoro with burrata was pure indulgence and I savoured every bite. The ‘soup’ was full of flavour and the burrata was creamy and salty. Pure joy on a plate!

Tobbe ordered the Zucca fritti and received a smaller mountain of freshly pan-fried goodies in a light airy batter. Malin and I helped him out too and really enjoyed it.

Malin chose rigatoni with cauliflower, tomatoes and sultanas and it looked very scrumptious, don’t you agree?!

My tagliatelle with duck ragu was perfection. I enjoyed every bite.

Tobbe’s seared tuna was perfectly dark red in the middle. It was served with a picante sauce and marinated shavings of fennel and courgettes.

After all of that we still had room for dessert. Tobbe chose this scoop of pistachio icecream and it was absolutely delicious.

I couldn’t resist the pannacotta with rhubarb which felt very light although fillinf. I had to give up after half.

Malin was happy with coffee instead and while that arrived we also got these little treats, which was the only thing I wasn’t ove the moon about. The short bread was a tad too sweet and the brittle was a bit too dark and therefore tasted too much of burnt sugar. But I won’t let my opinion of these little freebies taint my view of the evening, which all in all was perfect.

I think you can see how wonderful the food was. THe wine list was also impressive with only Italian wines.

The staff was very efficient and professional and so pro active they would open the door to the restrooms for you when they saw you were on your way there. That’s service! Also the ambiance was lovely – people really seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Good food is always good food, but sometimes the price helps to make your mind up about something. In this case I would have paid a lot for the food, but the fact that it is rather cheap (including a bottle of wine for £33 we paid about just under £50 each for all of the above) just makes me love this place even more.

I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of our evening here and I will so be back. Pretty soon too, I hope!

Zucca
184 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3TQ