If you ask your friends about one of their most memorable dinners of their life, a vast majority would answer a meal cooked by their family. And I would agree. One of the most memorable food experience for me was when my mother used to make Cocido on Sundays back in Spain. (Cocido is a stew typical from Madrid made with garbanzo beans, mixed with vegetables and the cheapest meat cuts: blood sausage, pork belly, chorizo, bones from Jamon and beef bones. – with bone marrow if possible. At the end of day it is a dish made with whatever is available.)
What really made these meals memorable was the collaboration between my father, who used to go to the market to get the ingredients, and put into use his butcher background, and with a love that only a mother can put into something.
The reason why I bring this up is because this memory was evoked after seeing the family run restaurant at Daniel Berlin. Daniel cooks, his father, Per-Anders is the sommelier, his mother, Iréne, takes care of the garden and his sister runs the dinning room.
Daniel Berlin is located in Skåne-Tranås, a small village in the region of Österlen (South East of Sweden) Getting there is quite easy, despite its remote location. You can take a train to Malmo and then jump on another local train to an area where someone at the restaurant or the inn will pick you up. In our case we decided to rent a car as we were going to drive directly back to airport the next day. (The drive from Copenhagen took about 2 hours.)
Commonly referred to as Tuscany in Sweden, Österlen is one of the most sunny areas of the country (a very different place from our winter trip to Faviken. In fact, here they aren’t so used to snow in these parts) It is said to be one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, no wonder why families spend their summer there. The Österlen horizen is lush and green with a scattering of beautiful country houses and farms, as the weather is ideal for agriculture. One of the things that we remember fondly about our drive out here was that fresh organic farm smell, it was like being back at our village in Spain.
This is one of those restaurant experiences that starts way before your first bite. Our first touch point was our introduction to the gracious owners of the beautify appointed Logi Gamlegard Inn. We checked in, dropped our bags off in our room (a converted stable) and rested over a glass of bubbly as the owner brought his car around. I highly recommend staying overnight if you can. Despite being separately owned the Inn and the restaurant have a strong symbiotic relationship and you would be missing out on the full experience if you bypass it.
Once you arrive, you can’t help but notice the beauty of the vibrant yellow edifice. The building clearly has great history and many stories to tell well before Daniel took ownership in 2009. Almost immediately you are greeted by Daniel himself and handed a glass of champagne by a handsome older fellow that just so happens to be Daniel’s father. as mentioned earlier, almost everyone that you come into contact with in the front of house is family. Something which again adds a great deal of intimacy and quaintness to the total experience.
Side note: It’s common today to see family members beautifuly intertwined in the restaurant business. A few examples that come to mind, 1.Ricard Camarena, Ricard manages the kitchen of not one but now 3 restaurants… I lost the count, while his partner manages front of the house. 2.A similar scenario can be found in DiverXO with David and Angela or in 3. Can Roca with the 3 three brothers working in pastry, wine and kitchen.
There is something special in the family run restaurants, the vibe tends to be warm and inviting making you feel like you are entering into an old friend’s house after not seeing him for a long time. Feeling as though you are a part of their family is an intangible perk can’t be matched.
A little back story on Daniel’s career: Daniel never thought that he would become a chef but after realizing that he wasn’t so fond of the academic world he decided to explore the culinary arts. He got his start at his local restaurants then went to work as head chef at Turning Torso in Malmo.
His family saw what he was capable of and decided to invest in his talent. They quit their jobs, got a loan and bought the beautiful historic estate, previously a restaurant. The 16 seat restaurant opened it doors in 2009 and it didn’t take long before it was named by White Guide, “food experience of the year”. Additionally Daniel was awarded 2011 Young Chef Of The Year award by San Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. After eating there we could not agree more.
Daniel Berlin’s cooking is inspired by his surroundings in Österlen, most the menu is sourced from their garden or local producers, respecting as much as possible the original ingredients. Dishes are served In the Fall and Winter Daniel himself organizes hunting dinners where he shoots wild board, deer quail or wild duck. We can’t wait to go to one of those!
After exploring the garden and the chicken run through some drone experiments we moved inside…
All of the snacks were delicious and sparked our curiousity of what was to come. A few of our favs were the two above, the yeast pancake and liver were both rich with flavor and marked a smart transition into the rest of the meal.
You can feel the warm familial touches throughout the gallery like space.The interior, while beautifully structured, is in constant flux. Each month the walls undergo a rebirth, as a new artist is featured. It is clear that Daniel and his family care deeply about the arts and the finer details of things, all of which culminates into an impeccably designed space and experience.
Just like the delicate art on the walls the wide variety of vessels used to deliver the culinary delicacies are absolutely gorgeous. (another indication of this family’s great sense of style)
Like the interior decoration, the dishes were presented with the utmost simplicity something that brings focus and a sense of respect to the locally sourced ingredients. Nothing but the necessary ingredients were featured on the plate and the presentation of all the dishes were elegantly constrained and confident. No overcomplicated and fussy dishes here.
This mackerel dish was absolutely killer! The texture of the fish mixed with the flavoring of the horseradish and tartness of the apples was fantastic!
The Celeriac dish is Daniel’s signature dish and it is clear to us why. It was unbelievable that so much flavor was created by loving and nurturing such a simple ingredient over an extended period of time. The earthy flavors mixed with the creamy sauce was a fantastic combination. What we loved most about this plate in addition to the flavors was the performance and educational aspect it reminded us ever so slightly of when Magnus from Faviken came out and sawed a bone like a tree trunk.
The warm cod was a beuatifully monochromatic dish. The irridescent quality of the fish glistened and somehow matched how silky it felt when in the mouth. Brilliant!
One of the reasons why we loved this meal so much, besides our handsome and charismatic dining companion, Arve, 🙂 was the way in which the meal was choreographed. This dinner was not stationary and static, diners were asked to participate and became a part of this dynamic dance. First, champagne in the garden, then come in for snacks and the beginning of the savory courses. Diners are then asked to come back outside for another glass of bubbly and a refreshing snack of frozen elderflowers and sourcream. This movement is something that more restaurants should incorporate into their meal. Sitting for 4 hours with an occasional bathroom break is not the greatest for digestion.
Everything about the savory courses was spectacular, hence why we are writing about Daniel Berlin to begin with. All of the dishes were creatively conceived and felt authentic to Daniel’s concept, something that we always deeply appreciate. The last savory course was quite special. The Lamb diaphram bloody with beets was artistically executed and tasted magical.
Daniel Berlin is one of those dining experiences where you are completely overtaken by your senses and immersed in a strong sense of place. It may be in the middle of nowhere, but to be honest most of the best places are like faviken, Kadeau, Willows and Riverstead. The small effort taken to get here pays off in spades the second the creative dishes start coming out. It surely will be a night you will never forget. Daniel’s food is unique and genuine to he surroundings and honestly was a refreshing break from the strong nordic flavors seen earlier during our trip in Copenhagen. If you love food that is contextual to its surroundings and the intimacy of getting to know about the chef that is making the glorious flavor combinations then you really must get yourself to Daniel Berlin, the ride back to the Inn with Daniel himself will surely be the cherry on top.
Daniel Berlin Krog i Skåne Tranås
273 92 Skåne Tranås
Phone: +46 417 203 00 www.danielberlin.se