FORK IN MY LUGGAGE Food

Hermans, the vegan restaurant in Stockholm, presents a buffet like no other

This vegan restaurant combines a plant-based buffet with a panoramic view of Stockholm

When in Stockholm recently, at least a half a dozen people recommended Hermans Vegan Restaurant.

As I stepped into the restaurant at Fjällgatan for lunch, I was stunned by its location. Perched atop a hill, it overlooks the harbour and has a spectacular panoramic view of the city. The place was packed, and I had to wait for 30 minutes before I found a table.

The buffet table was plentiful and lavish. I paid my 220 Swedish Krona at the counter, and received my plate. As the focus is on upcycling, plates and cutlery are sourced from second-hand shops, which explains why they are in different sizes and shapes.

Hermans, the vegan restaurant in Stockholm, presents a buffet like no other

Soup, bread, four types of salad, two types of dressings, two types of sauces, four types of pickles, curry, stew, pasta, rice, lasagna, and spinach potato bake were all in the buffet... it also has one Indian rice dish and lentil-based salad each day. On weekends, they boast a live vegan grill station.

“The multicultural nature of the buffet is the reflection of our kitchen staff, who are from different parts of the globe,” says Malin Orthagen, service manager. As Indian vegetarian cuisine naturally adapts well to vegan cooking, the influence seemed inevitable — that day, they had chickpea salad, vegetable stew and coconut rice pulao.

She adds that the restaurant sources vegetables from the organic farming community in nearby Jarna. She also mentions that their menu is changed according to the seasonal vegetables.

Rice, chickpea and lentils, however, are imported, as are greens during the winter months. The staff grow kale and edible flowers in the restaurant garden.

In 1992, Herman Ottosson started Hermans as a small vegetarian canteen, catering exclusively to the staff of the building where it functioned in Fjällgatan. Hermans was an instant hit, with its popularity growing by word-of-mouth, and in a few years, it evolved into a restaurant and café.

Hermans, the vegan restaurant in Stockholm, presents a buffet like no other

In 2006, he sold it to the young couple Leo and Omer, who continue to run the place. The couple shifted completely to vegan food about four years ago, going big on soy and coconut milk, oats (grown locally), coconut oil, rapeseed oil, olive oil, margarine, vegan butter, and peanut butter. The lasagna I tasted was excellent: a fusion of Italian and Indian, with the aroma of coconut and Italian spices.

Guests clear their plates and cutlery in designated bins, and throw food waste in another bin. Food waste is processed in-house and converted into biofuel, while vegetable waste is composted and used for the kitchen garden. Staff T-shirts and aprons are made of organic cotton and bamboo.

Hermans, the vegan restaurant in Stockholm, presents a buffet like no other

Hermans’ vegan desserts are popular. Pastry Chef Devi Prasad Nair said that when she joined a year ago, it was a challenge to find vegan ingredients for every dessert she wanted to bake. Every ingredient is prepared in their kitchen. Devi did a course in baking at the De Pastry School in Kochi, followed by a certificate course in cake decoration in Stockholm.

Last year, she attended a week-long masterclass at Vegan Gastronomy Culinary Academy, Spain. Hermans offers an enormous spread of vegan desserts, but the most popular on the menu are the cheesecakes, mango delights, muffins, pancakes and Belgian chocolate cakes.

Desserts are not part of the buffet, but can be bought separately. Only in December, does the Julbord Buffet include one dessert.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 11:16:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/let-peas-prevail/article30751202.ece

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