As social distancing becomes part of the "new normal" across the world, two Swedish entrepreneurs have come up with an excellent idea for a restaurant – one they're describing as "corona-proof".
The brainchild of Rasmus Persson and Linda Karlsson, Bord For En (Table For One) is a pop-up venue in Sweden that, as the name suggests, invites a solo diner to book its single table and chair, which are located in a lush meadow roughly 350 kilometres from Stockholm.
The restaurant, which is based in Varmland, launched on Sunday, May 10 and will run until Saturday, August 1.
The idea is that whoever dines there will have absolutely no interaction with others. Not even a waiter, as any food and drinks will be served to each guest via a picnic basket tied to a rope, which leads to the kitchen window. It’ll be cranked towards the guest with the help of an old bicycle wheel.
The idea came as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Inspiration struck when Karlsson's parents, who are both over 70 years old, invited themselves over to the couple's new house in Ransatar. While there are no mandated restrictions on social distancing in Sweden, there are recommendations, which Karlsson and Persson follow. So, rather than invite her parents in, they set up a table with white linen in the garden and served them through the window.
Thus Bord For En was born.
How much one wants to pay for this unique dining experience is entirely up to the guest. "Everyone is in a different situation right now," the couple explain in a press statement. "The price for a three-course menu is voluntary and something each customer decides for themselves." The restaurant will donate any proceeds to a fund for creative mums.
'Coronavirus-proof' restaurant opens in a Swedish valley
What's on the menu?
Persson, who formerly trained as a chef, designed the set menu and the dishes are influenced by his fondest travels and memories.
The first course, or the Raraka, consists of a Swedish-style hash brown, Smetana (a type of sour cream similar to creme fraiche), seaweed caviar and wood-plucked sorrel. The main course, called "Black & Yellow", is yellow carrot-ginger puree, browned hazelnut butter, sweet corn croquettes and serpent root ash. For dessert, which is named "Last Days of Summer", they’ll serve ginned blueberries, iced buttermilk and viola sugar from beetroots on the couple’s farm.
This sweet dish is inspired by Persson’s grandmother’s kitchen. “She just recently passed away at 99 years old,” the statement explains. “He [Persson] spent his childhood summers with her, picking wild blueberries, rinsing them together in her lap and then enjoying a big bowl of fresh berries with iced milk and sugar – the things he loved best.”
As for the drinks – these are all non-alcoholic, with options curated by Joel Soderback, who runs bars in Sweden’s capital, including Tjoget, which was recently put on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Concoctions are based on locally farmed and seasonal ingredients. This includes May Fruit, which is plum cordial, grape juice, seedlip spice and soda.
Whether or not they'll decide to extend the restaurant's life past August remains to be seen. "Many have come with suggestions on how to further develop the experience," the couple explain. "Maybe it will be a concert in the woods or a performance art show in the fields. Maybe a stand-up show for one in our basement. Anything is possible! Even with social distancing."