Le Glorieux Café Dornonville

Issue #11

Le Glorieux Café Dornonville

Interview by
Mariah Katz

Photography by
Lykke Sjödin


Agnes married Martin. Johan married Madeleine. And so the story begins. This past January, the couples joined forces and opened Le Glorieux Café Dornonville. It is Malmö’s first pink café. On its menu, they sell a mean cup of coffee, classic Swedish breakfast, an exotic açaí bowl, among other treats. We asked how two couples got together and somehow worked seamlessly through a shared vision. It’s not everyday that this sort of collaboration occurs. Johan sometimes takes Agnes and Martin’s kids to the park while Agnes works as the resident barista nearly every day. Madeleine is on maternity leave and hunts for new recipes learning to navigate current trends and restocks items. All the while, Johan and Martin have an interior design company. The couples have a DIY type of work ethic that’s both brave and unusual. Not many people write their own rules in business, especially with their spouse and young kids in tow. They are doing this their own way and it works. Walking into Le Glorieux Café Dornonville, the café is just as unique as its origin story. The furniture has a chic 1970s vibe, there are plants everywhere and did we mention the walls are the colour of a California sunset? They have made a café that looks more like an interior design magazine than a place to eat and drink. After sitting in one of their retro chairs with a tasty latte, Creative Malmö can’t imagine a better, or more stylish way, to enjoy a fika. 

Before we started recording, we were talking about how you all had this café idea for seven years…

Agnes: Yes a very, very long time because I had been working in shops in Denmark and it’s quite a big problem when you have two small kids and you have to be going across the Oresund bridge and commute between Copenhagen and Malmö. So we were talking and talking and talking about settling in Malmö with a café, but we never came to the goal. Then, Johan called me one day about starting a café, and we were like, “Yes! Let’s do it.”

So you both independently as couples had this idea to create a café?

Johan: Actually, no. One year ago, Martin and I started an interior design company called Ranelid de la Cour Studio. It is based here in Malmö. While searching for a bigger office with a showroom, we ran into this café space. After a couple of months, we sat here in the empty dusty room and through lots of weird ideas we decided that maybe we should do a café. Then, I asked Martin, what if we asked Agnes if she wanted to run the café since she was working in Denmark and was going back and forth too much over the bridge. Agnes was willing to do the café idea. 

Madeleine: And so the story begins…

Johan: At this point, Madeleine and Agnes run the café and we focus on our other business. As we move forward, it’s going to be more these two ladies doing the café. Of course, Martin and I also partly own the café but it’s their show, really. They will move it forward.

Madeleine: Yeah, in autumn, when we put our baby in daycare, I am going to be here full time too.

Agnes: We will then expand our opening hours in September. 

You guys have had to create a lot of symbiosis between things: between each other’s working styles, between interior design and café work, and family life and business life. How do you balance all of these separate things together? 

Johan: We don’t. We don’t balance it. If we are going to see some problems that may be it— imbalance. Often, we just go into things if it sounds right to us. We just take it as it comes. That could be difficult in a business. Eventually, we will find our way to do it, and it will drive us forward. 

Agnes: It could be a strength to improvise. Also, I don’t think that so many people have two kids and a lot of things to pay for who suddenly open up a café. There is no rule book for this sort of situation. So, as Johan said, we aren’t thinking so much and that can be a strength but it may catch up with us and be a bad thing. In the end, we have each other and everything has worked out so far. 

Johan: We do think a lot and we have many ideas, but we are guided by intuition and feeling.

So you guys improvise, but it’s always thoughtful?

Everyone: Yes.

What steps did you take to decide your work process? After the initial idea of a café, did you guys start with a casual dinner together or did you immediately lay down very formal plans?

Madeleine: I would say immediately it was very serious. 

Agnes: I actually stopped working right then. 

How quickly did you stop your work after the idea for a café came about?

Agnes: I would say it was not so good. I was very brave. I stopped my job too early I would say. I stopped work in October of 2016 and we opened in January 2017. I thought we would open even quicker. But I made the most of it. I went to Stockholm and studied how to be a barista at Il Caffé. For nine days I studied there.  

It doesn’t feel like I’m going to work, it feels like I’m going home.
— Agnes Ranelid

Were you never a barista before?

Agnes: No, no. I had never done it in my life. 

Madeleine: Neither of us had ever worked in a café. 

Agnes: In the end, I should have stayed at my other work longer and saved some money, but we managed between the kids and business. Somehow we made it. I thought to myself, what the hell have we done? There wasn’t much of a plan. But everything has been so smooth and so good, I think it will only get better, especially when Madeleine starts.

So you all have this new-found passion for coffee and brewing it. Has it been a struggle to find interest in coffee or was it love at first sight?

Agnes: First off, I think the whole aesthetic, the rooms and the decorations, we have here are so nice. It doesn’t feel like I’m going to work, it feels like I’m going home. Everyone coming in here comments on how nice it is because it’s cozy. It is the whole atmosphere that makes me happy. It is the physical café and the coffee that make me so interested. But in the beginning we knew very little. So, Johan and I went on Google [laughing]. The first place we went to is Monteriva that is owned by Oscar Berg, and we talked to him and got to know the coffee. We knew it was the coffee we had to have. I initially wanted the Italian coffee I worked with in Stockholm at Il Caffé, but they exclusively sell to them. We went with Oscar’s brew instead and it’s been great. 

Johan: None of us are big coffee drinkers, especially Madeleine who doesn’t drink coffee (sometimes a cappuccino). Me and Martin prefer filter coffee. 

Agnes: I love coffee, I still don’t know everything about it, but I love it. 

Madeleine: Our idea for a café didn’t begin with food or drink, it began with the atmosphere. We wanted it to feel warm and welcoming. It is a place to go to feel good. We don’t just want the best coffee or the best sandwich; we want the place to be amazing too. It’s the whole package. 

Johan: None of us are experienced baristas, so we don’t have that background. When we started the café, we thought a lot about the aesthetic. As for the food and drink, we knew we wanted it to be local. Maybe we don’t sell the best objectively, but we choose what we personally like and think is the best. We personally believe we have the nicest atmosphere and some proper coffee and food. 

Agnes: A lot of the time, we think what we would want out of a café on a Sunday morning. There isn’t a place in Malmö that I truly love. My kids want to go to Espresso House. That’s not our scene. So, we wanted to create our own place. We made this café just as we want, including the food and coffee. Everything we have here we like ourselves. It’s the things I like and Madeleine likes and Martin likes and Johan likes. Our açaí comes from Lotta Love, we get our cheese from Bengtson’s Cheese, our tea is from Tea Junkie. I actually had a delivery of cardamom buns from Stockholm that I loved and I went around trying to find someone to replicate them here. We now have St. Jakobs Stenungsbageri do them—they are famous in Skåne for their cardamom buns, cinnamon buns and other pastries.

Johan: Our cardamom buns from St. Jakobs turned out better than the ones from Stockholm.

Your café definitely looks like an interior designer’s café rather than just a foodie’s café. That is what is so unique about this place: you walk in and it has a ‘wow’ factor. It looks very designy. It is unique and curated, yet each piece comes together. You can tell someone really has an eye and worked hard on the interior. Usually, food comes first and design second. Though we just tried your latte with Oatly, and it’s very good too. Rich, nutty and not too acidic. You have both a good interior and a good cup of coffee. But since you define yourselves by the aesthetic, do you feel like you are outsiders in the restaurant/café scene here in Malmö? 

Agnes: I think we are outsiders. To be honest, we don’t know so much about things. The cool thing about us is that we stand up for what we believe in. We didn’t create this café to please the masses. We like it this way. We also always try out things together, we always innovate. We don’t work like other restaurants because we don’t have the same set of knowledge or strict rules. People are liking our new approach and find it refreshing. We have a relaxed environment and I try to include everyone in a conversation who come in here. By not knowing so much, we are carving out our own style of café. 

Johan: We have all the ideas of how we want the place to look and the feeling we want people to have when visiting. If we start with the feeling of the café and how people react to it, we will always be mindful of their business and their time spent at the café. In the meantime, we just hope to get better and better at running a café and all it entails. We have high standards even if we aren’t typical café owners and baristas. People haven’t complained…yet [laughing]. After our first quarter, we hope to have even more people coming here. 


Why Malmö? Why is it both your home and where you chose to have your café?

Agnes: I was born here forty years ago, but when I was ten my family and I moved to Stockholm. I moved back to Malmö at twenty-four after selling my apartment. One year after, I met my husband, Martin. Every year, our whole marriage actually, he has wanted to move from Malmö to another country. Malmö can be boring, but it can also be really, really good. There is a lot happening if you look for it. We are now settled here. Martin has also settled in more now that we have this café and he and Johan started the interior design company. Since Martin works with such a close friend it helps him love this city more. We are all adding something to Malmö with this café. Malmo needs a pink café. Everything looks the same here. We have H&M, Gina Tricot and Espresso House at every corner…everything is the same here.   

Malmö has something no other town in Sweden can offer.
— Johan De La Cour
Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 11.03.03.png

It’s true, small businesses are the jewels of every city… 

Agnes: Yes, and we need to be here to have this café and add something nice.

Madeleine: Also, Malmö has a reputation of being rough, but there are actually so many good things happening here. People want to contribute to the city and do nice things to it. We want to show the better side of Malmö. I was born a bit outside of Malmö, but now we live in Malmö. I moved to Malmö when I was about 20 years old. Johan and I have lived all over the city. I love this city and I love the beauty and the roughness. We are working for a better Malmö. There are more cafes and small shops opening everyday. 

Agnes: I think people are also struggling and really trying to do something different. There are people doing urban farming or opening companies. All sorts of things. There are people coming in our café and having meetings. So we even overhear how things are happening. 

Johan: Martin and I are born and raised in Malmö. I’m from one side of the city and he’s from another side. I’ve only ever lived in Malmö, with the exception of six months when I was working in Jönköping. It wasn’t great at all, so I moved back to Malmö. I think there is too much focus on the bad things in Malmö. People outside of Malmö are the ones really giving this city a bad reputation through misinformation. It really isn’t as bad as people say. Malmö is super nice. That’s why I came back to it. 

Madeleine: It’s a small big city.

Johan: Malmö is also quite trendy and up-and-coming. Speaking to people from Stockholm, they are realising that Malmö has something no other town in Sweden can offer. I’m always going to love this town and I will do what I need to do to help it. If I tell outsiders I’m from Malmö, they always cite the violence. But look at the violence in Stockholm. There is violence in Gothenburg. There is violence everywhere. If you look outside our Swedish borders and compare, Sweden is, despite everything, still one of the safest countries in the world. Malmö is friendly and open. I’m quite tired of hearing from people that have never been to Malmö that it is bad.

Have you gotten regulars since you opened?

Everyone: Yes!

Madeleine: Actually, a lot of regulars. It’s really nice. We have all different ages come in I’ve noticed. Young and old. 

Agnes: Everyone is welcome. 

Madeleine: For older people, they recognise our retro furniture from their heydey and for the younger people they love to Instagram our unique interior.

Johan: Actually, the first week we had older people come in and then more young people have come into the mix.

Could this be considered a café to work at as well? Is there wifi for those interested in bringing their computers? 

Agnes: Yes, we have wifi. We actually have quite a bit of people who drop off their kids and then come here to work on their laptops. 

Johan: This is also like a café you would want to bring a first date. We hear that a lot. In our ears that sounds really good. 

Madeleine: It makes our café sound intimate. 

Johan: You always want to impress on a first date, and this café does that.

What are your bestsellers here at the café?

Johan: We sell the most units of coffee, of course. 

Agnes: Then it’s the açaí bowl and the avocado sandwich. So many of our recipes come from Instagram. 

Johan: But the idea for a classic Swedish breakfast came from me. Martin and I are traditional and old-school, so we wanted Swedish food. We are like two old men who think we know everything. But then Agnes and Madeleine have brought a lot of modern and trendy ideas, it’s helped us sell a lot. We are traditional but with a twist!  

You are not only small independent business owners, but parents and half of you are women. Mothers are not typically small business owners. Madeleine and Agnes, what advice would you give to mothers interested in opening their own café or shop?

Agnes: You need to be brave. If you want to do something, do it. Money is not the most important thing, I’ve noticed. It shouldn’t drive you, your aspirations should. 

Madeleine: I’m also thinking along the lines of teamwork. Be a team with your partner and co-workers. Help each other out with work and help each other with your kids. 

Agnes: I’ve offered to watch their dog last week and recently Johan offered to take my kids to the playground. We always help one another, otherwise this wouldn’t work. 

Is that the same advice you would give to a couple who are looking to open their own business? 

Everyone: Yes.

Johan: 100%. Collaboration and communication between everyone involved is key. We can speak about everything together and we understand each other even when we argue.

Agnes: It helps that Martin and Johan have known each other for decades. But I haven’t known Madeleine for very long at all. We all had to become close very quickly. Maybe we only understand each other one time out of ten, but we discuss and work things out. We have been angry at each other but we move forward quickly. 

Johan: Listen to your colleagues. I’m not saying I’m perfect at that, but you have to learn how to listen and be able to realise when you’re wrong. 

It’s pink, it’s warm and we talk to people.
— Madeleine De La Cour

Are there any plans brewing that we can expect from you in the future? Any additions to the menu? Special events?

We eventually plan to make this more than a café. We want more events. Like hosting book releases or special speakers.

Agnes: We would also like to have artists display their works on our walls.

Madeleine: But the menu will not change too much.

Agnes: Just small additions and tweaks.

Johan: But like Agnes said, we want this to be more of an event space. We want to publicise that this space is available to rent for events. In the past, we have had someone rent it out.

What is one word that you would use to sum up this café?

Madeleine: It’s not one word, but a phrase: ‘The Pink Café.’ 

Johan: This colour is actually what people talk about most. Everything we have done here to get the right colour was very intentional. Martin and I sat for many nights trying at least 50 to 100 different colours. When it came to making the interior of the café, we put maybe the most time into getting the right colour. It took many hours to find the right furniture as well. But the colour was by far the most difficult part. Pink can be really pink as well, which means overwhelming. We went for the classic California pink, less in your face.

Agnes: We are the proudest of the interior because no one else’s café looks like ours. It’s all uniquely put together. We don’t want to be original, that isn’t our mindset because it would come off as contrived. We are working with our individual preferences and desires. This all happened organically. 

Johan: When I met my wife and also when I met Martin, our philosophy was always about doing something together. It was about the ‘we.’ It was about coming up with something totally our own.

Agnes: We could have easily made a café in Stortorget with 100 chairs. Now we are talking money. It would have been so easy. But what we made is not so easy. We are putting in so much effort into something that is independent and unique, not for the masses. 

Johan: It cost us a lot of money.

Agnes: If you make something with 100 seats and fast coffee all day long, I think there is no heart or soul in it. For us, it is a lot of effort behind all of what we are doing here. We may seem chill and calm but we are constantly thinking of what’s next. I’m even on the phone with Madeleine everyday. 

Madeleine: Yeah, and I send inspiration and photos to her all the time. Instagram photos and recipes. 

Agnes: Anyone can open a café, but to make something special it takes effort. I try to strike a conversation with everyone in the coffee shop. People have a need of talking. A lot of people come here alone. There was one man who was seventy and we ended up talking for two hours. He told me everything about his life and his daughter.

Madeleine: You may have heard that Swedes are very closed off or don’t talk to people, but this café is trying to go against that. It’s pink, it’s warm and we talk to people. 

Agnes: People find each other here. I’ve seen people exchanging cards and numbers. 

Madeleine: We’re going to change the world [laughing].

Le Glorieux Café Dornonville
Stora Nygatan 42, Malmö

Mondays 11-15    
Tuesday-Friday 8 – 15    
Saturdays 11 – 16

Facebook: Café Dornonville
Instagram: @cafedornonville


Issue #10


Interview & photography by
Lykke Sjödin


On a dark winter’s day in St: Knut, Lua, Amanda and Caroline opened up Mineral’s doors for the first time on December 16, 2016. Since taking over from previous occupants, Kiez Wine Bar, the new owners have retained the venues soul but added their own distinctive touch. Some of the changes at Mineral include an enlarged selection of wines, and the addition of vegetarian lunch and dinner. Its interior has been repainted with a noticeably warmer tone coupled with the addition of plants throughout. "It feels like coming abroad to a warm country," said one customer upon entering. The warmth is also thanks in large to the owners’ welcoming nature. Mineral leaves you with a sense of escaping into a new and inspiring world, a moment's respite from the noise of the city.

It helps that we complement each other and really love what we do, it’s great working together.
— Lua Morena

Where does the name Mineral come from?

We wanted something that felt organic, simple and a bit rough. We thought about something related to minerality in wines, and then we just thought what about Mineral? It felt right from the beginning!

How did you end up opening Mineral at St: Knut?

Lua: It was when we saw that Kiez was for sale. It was our favourite bar in Malmö. We just decided we were gonna get it and we did. Then things moved really quickly and here we are! We are self-employed and have support from our friends and family. We had a good plan before on how to setup a restaurant from our work experience and studies. Because of that we were able to embrace the challenge and jump right in. Previously, we have all worked together at Kafé Rotundan in Halmstad. Amanda and Caroline started there in 2011. We love working with food and love to work with each other. 

Tell us a little more about your backgrounds, what you have done before?

Lua: I studied gastronomy in São Paulo before and I’m a qualified sommelier from International Sommelier in Barcelona. In Barcelona, I learned all about the restaurant business. Now I have lived in Sweden for four years and met Caroline and Amanda in 2012. 

Amanda:  I'm from Halmstad and came to Malmö in 2009. I have studied fashion design for many years. In 2011 we took over Kafé Rotundan in Halmstad and developed it into a very popular vegetarian lunch and fika place where you could also enjoy free culture events all summer long. 2014 me and Caroline started Butik Fabrik. A small shop full of vintage and hand made home decor. 

Caroline:  I moved to Malmö in 2012,  before that I lived in Milan and worked within fashion and the bar world for three years. Stopping in Halmstad for a while back in 2011 I took over Rotundan and run it since. Here in Malmö me and Amanda opened our shop once we found the right space, but actually in the beginning we had planned to run a vegan fast-food restaurant somewhere in town.

What is the concept for your menu at Mineral?

We serve lunch and dinner. Lunches vary depending on the vegetables we get. The dinner menu is more fixed. For lunch, we always have soup and something in addition, you can also order "combo" to get a little of each. We buy fresh vegetables everyday and don’t throw anything away, it has happened that the food sometimes runs out. The kitchen is tiny but to maintain the quality of the food we think it’s fine for what we currently do.

I think it would be hard to go back to being an employee now that we have experienced this freedom.
— Amanda Liedman

What are your favourite wines?

Right now, in this very moment, La Lunotte Les P’tites Vignes from the Loire valley, but I feel we have some new favourites coming in very very soon. One Slovenian sparkling that is a real killer, to mention one.

What was your inspiration for the interior design of Mineral?

Lua: We wanted to have lots of plants! It creates a cozy and organic feeling when you come in.

Caroline: Mineral is more refined in its décor style than Butik Fabrik, and what we have from there are the self-dyed cushions and macramé plant hangers. 

Amanda: We wanted to keep the roughness and mix it up with some nice pink and plants to make it feel relaxed and effortless. We really loved the foundation of the place already. We chose to have both vintage scruffy tables and odd chairs and then mix it up with hand made tables from our friend Der Bubbat, who can make the most beautiful furniture out of wood.
, who can make the most beautiful furniture out of wood. But it comes together in harmony. Everything has soul. 

Had you been self-employed before?

Amanda: We had regular jobs before, but we felt that this was something we wanted to do independently and so it’s the first time we're all fully self-employed. I think it would be hard to go back to being an employee now that we have experienced this freedom. I always had a project next to my studies and work, I guess I just want to have it that way.

Caroline: No going back now really.

What have been the biggest challenges with Mineral?

Lua: It helps that we complement each other and really love what we do, it’s great working together. The biggest challenge is always be able to renew our menu and continue the good quality of the wines as kiez had before, but it's also part of the big fun.

How was it to take over from Kiez?

Lua: Kiez was my favorite bar and the place had a good soul before.

Caroline: Many customers were curious and a little worried. Some came to Butik Fabrik to tell us that they had read that we would take over and asked what we planned to do. Many customers were probably afraid that it would not be a wine bar anymore.

Are we ever creatively satisfied? I believe the process is never ending!
— Caroline Carlsson

What place does art have in Mineral?

Amanda:  A big part of Mineral’s vision is to highlight culture as we love working with the arts. For example, we have art on display in our toilet that is rotated every couple of months. In May, a new artist will take over and change the look. The toilets are different from the rest of Mineral, they are very colourful. Visiting the toilet is almost like the feeling of stepping into a church with their high ceilings. In addition to artwork, on the walls we also offer free tampons for those that might need them. Mineral’s idea is also to highlight new music, and Moto Boy has already booked the venue for the release party of his new record.

Are you creatively satisfied after opening Mineral?

Caroline: Are we ever creatively satisfied? I believe the process is never ending!

Do you have a lot of regular customers?

Amanda: We have many new regulars beyond our friends which is great fun! It's okay to sit here with your computer and work, so we have many that comes here to study during the day.

Lua: We have many dog regulars like Daisy, Jules, Peggy, Bertil, Arne, Muffin... And last but not least our house dog Figo that is actually my dog. We expect that even more people will visit when it gets warmer and they can enjoy the outdoor terrace.

What other places would you recommend in Malmö?

Lua: I worked at FYN before, and I think that their food is fantastic. Everybody who works there is very passionate about the business. I must say that Rosforth & Rosforth is a favourite in Copenhagen, it’s under a bridge in Christianshavn. Go there on a Friday night for their tasting. During the summer they also have food and you can sit by the sea. Super cool place to visit.

Caroline: I like Söderberg & Sara and all their projects are unique and i admire how they work. They have their own farm where they live and grow vegetables they later use in their dishes. On their farm in Österlen they serve wonderful pizza in a old barn.  They have a good eye for composition, colors and furnishing and it’s very casual and rustic. 

Amanda: In Malmö I would recommend Mitt Möllan's Food court where you can have fresh noodle soup, crazy sandwiches and Malmö’s best pizza at the same time. And of course, a vegan ice cream from Köld afterwards. Copenhagen has a lot of really cool bars and micro breweries. Two of my favourites are Rosforth & Rosforth and Manfreds, where you can also have really nice plant based food that changes every day. Now that we are working so much, I really love to just make big dinners at home as well. 


S:t Knuts väg 13

Tuesday-Thursday 12:00 - 23:00
Friday - Saturday 12:00 - 23:59


Bagaren och Bonden

Issue #9

Bagaren & Bonden

Interview by Justin Style
Photography by Lenise Ormsby


After recently being recognised for the best sourdough bread in Sweden, Bagaren & Bonden has become a hot spot for sourdough lovers who are willing to travel miles to Malmö and buy their fresh bread. A fact illustrated by the numerous interruptions during our interview with eager customers pitching up on their prep day. Although they were closed, one woman needed her fix anyways and asked, “Do you have anything in the freezer?” Demand is clearly rising for Karl and Daniel's bakery, so we were keen to hear their story...

Why the name Bagaren & Bonden?

Karl: A question we often get is who is the baker and who is the farmer? That’s not the thinking behind the name, but rather that when a customer buys bread from us it is both from a baker and a farmer. Hence the name. It’s a collective effort between us and the one making the primary product, the one we call the ‘farmer.’ It is everyone from the one producing grains in Skåne to the producers of cinnamon and sugar. All the producers. We want to give them recognition. We focus on the products, rather than just a place with cool interior design. We ask first: is it healthy and produced organically? Is is environmentally-friendly? 

How did you and Daniel start working together?

Karl: I grew up at a farm in Dalsland, outside Mellerud. Daniel is from Stockholm. We got to know each other working at a bakery in Stockholm.

Can you tell me a bit more about your background and education?

Karl: I’m a civil engineer with focus on energy systems and environmental consequences of technology and society. I studied for five years and then worked the following five years on environmental risk, crisis and security. I helped develop strategies for organisations to handle crises. It wasn’t really my scene: most of the time spent working in an office for an administrative authority with a focus on industry. There, I was a project management consultant, but I wanted to get closer to the source and work on a smaller scale according to my own values. As a consultant, you work for an employer who hires you out to other employers. I felt quite far away from independence.

Growing up on a farm,  I had this interest for food and also an interest for grains. I missed having that in my life. I changed jobs for something closer to my heart and landed in the bread business. My life had everything I cared about again: the countryside, the environment, food and health. I tried the change and liked it. But I couldn’t start a bakery on my own, I needed someone who knew the trade. And that’s where Daniel came in.

Daniel: I’m a biodynamic gardener, and I’ve worked at a farm with cultivation, gardening and animals. Some of these places have had their own cafes with their own bread. There has been a natural connection there. And I got into it and studied to become a baker. Since then, I’ve worked at many bakeries and have been drawn to places that bake organic sourdough bread.

Is there any place that inspired you when you first started?

Daniel: Rosendals Trädgård in Stockholm has been an inspiration both when it comes to baking and gardening. Also, Rute Stenugnsbageri in Gotland, which was where I did my work experience. I’ve been a baker for about five years. 

Who does most the baking?

Karl: I help with the bread, but mainly focus on the sweet things, like the cookies. 

You were running your company without having your own place. How did that work?

Karl: In the beginning, when we made the decision to start something in Malmö, we didn’t have our place. It took a while, and I thought we’d try out our baking first. We spoke to Caroline at Brödlabbet in Lund and she allowed us to rent that place once a week. We started to sell our bread in various places. We sold to a coffee shop, and at stalls on Möllevångstorget and Värnhemstorget. It’s not easy to just sell things nowadays, you need to to have permission for everything, so we had to go through the necessary permissions. At the same time, we tried to learn how to run a company, read up about bookkeeping and the whole administrative side. We didn’t know how to run a company before. 

Did you always have the plan to start your own company?

Karl: That was something I felt that I needed to do after working for other people for a while. 

When did you decide to open something in Malmö?

Karl: First I was working in Stockholm while trying to look for a place here. That wasn’t easy, so I quit my job and moved down here. It was Daniel’s idea to try Malmö.

Daniel: I had been working in Copenhagen and wanted to come back to Sweden. And I had a plan to get a farm and open a bakery there. But then it felt like a massive project. All of a sudden, this place opened up and we thought we could start something. It was a bit of a coincidence. We thought there was space for a bakery and it was our style here in Malmö. In Stockholm, there is a lot of competition. 

Karl: Before we opened, we came to Tornahällestads Lanthandel and met Anders Hammar, who has been running the bakery in his garage. Anders let us bake at his place two days a week and cooperate with the Farm Shop. He needed time off, and we could bake for him. So we were working there a couple of months, but then Anders said that he had seen an advert for this place in Malmo, and asked us if we should buy it and we felt it was time to get our own place. We had been selling at different square markets and knew there was an interest. People liked our bread, which made us feel comfortable. We got to test our wings. 

Did you already have places that wanted to buy your bread?

Karl: Uggla Kaffebar has bought from us from the start. We felt that this would work, and if people wouldn’t find their way there, we’d have to go to them in the markets. 

We don’t see our bread as a luxury product, but rather the healthy choice… It is not a product for a privileged part of the society, but something for everyone who cares about our values. 
— Karl Söderlund

What’s your work schedule?

Daniel: We set the sourdough on Mondays, which takes about an hour. Otherwise we’re off Sundays and Mondays. Then we’re always a day ahead: on Tuesdays we bake Wednesday’s bread, which will yeast in a cold room. It’s a nice way of working because we don’t have to get up too early since bread will taste better if it’s allowed time to rise. 

Your business has grown a lot since you opened. How much has that affected you personally?

Daniel: We have a lot more to do, and because of that we've had to hire an additional baker. 

Many people travel here for Sweden’s best bread. 

Karl: It’s fun. It’s worked well here. It’s a weird street, and with us not being from Malmö, we didn’t know much about the areas. People told us that the expensive organic stuff wouldn’t work in Värnhem, that we should maybe go to Slottsstaden. To be honest we didn’t have much to choose from. We looked at a few different places, but then we liked Värnhem. 

Daniel: It felt like a place in transition. A place that has perhaps had a bad reputation, but is undergoing a process of renewal. And then there are a lot of people coming through the bus connections. 

Karl: There are a lot of people moving here. Maybe not on this exact street, but around here. We don’t see our bread as a luxury product, but rather the healthy choice. Our bread is supposed to be eaten everyday, it’s an everyday product. It is not a product for a privileged part of the society, but something for everyone who cares about our values. 

How does your bread compare to that found in supermarket?

Karl: The industry has jacked up the prices of bread, and if you compare our prices with commercial bread sometimes our bread is cheaper. There is so much air in the mass-produced bread. They look big, but won’t fill you up. 

What would you say is your vision for the bakery? 

Karl: The vision: We want to be a place where people buy their everyday bread. Then we want to be a place that’s alive, where things happen, where there is a pulse. Fridays and Saturdays here are great. We also want to be a cafe. We’re interested in food and drink--especially coffee. That’s why we incorporate it.. We buy organic products and try to think like a farmer way. If we bake with rye, then we allow the rye to lift the flavour alone, and the same thing when it comes to coffee. We like single origin. We like diversity, but want to allow things to taste different.  We have an espresso and a filter coffee. The filter is light and fruity, while the espresso is dark and heavy. If you like dark coffee, then we’ll do something with espresso. If you like an elegant fruity cup, then we have the filter. We buy our coffee from Solde. And they’re one of few micro roasteries who work with organic coffee. They roast their coffee just on the opposite side of the train tracks, and we have a good relationship and a dialogue with them. It feels great to have Solde here. What’s our thinking behind what we have to offer? We’re thinking about bread, buns, croissants, coffee, tea and sandwiches. 

Daniel: Bread has been our focus. Sourdough and the culture grains. And to bring out the flavour in the grains, rather than adding flavours. Croissants are fun to make, since it hasn’t had a daily place in bakeries. It’s fun to bring home for the weekends. 

Karl: We make croissants everyday, and people appreciate them. 

What characterises your bread? Your croissants taste different…

Karl: Everything is ‘kalljäst’, (cold yeasted/raised). We believe a lot has to do with the time we allow the dough to rise. 

Daniel: If you allow the dough enough time to rise, different kinds of flavouring will appear. Bread and sweet things like croissants will get a more mature taste. This is also important when it comes to the health aspect, since enzymes will break down the starch. Flour, that is difficult for the body to break down, becomes accessible through the baker. That’s the problem with the bread industry, that they make bread that’s difficult for the body to deal with. And the taste doesn’t come out. 

Karl: It goes hand in hand. Luckily for us, to allow longer rising time will result in better flavour as well as better health. It’s better taste and you will feel better when you’ve eaten a long-rise sourdough bread, cinnamon bun or croissant. And in these, the cinnamon buns and croissants, a lot of the dough has been at work for two days since we also allow a day for the pre-dough. It’s a two-day project and nothing you just put together. Some people don’t realise this, and order buns the days before, but we need to plan two days in advance. Actually we have started to work with a four day process now with the croissants.

Are people asking you to expand and move to their area?
Karl: We don’t have an expansion plan. Our goal is to be able to live on this place. To make a salary that will allow us spend time with family. But we’ll see. 

You are closed on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, which some people find difficult, since they want your bread everyday. You’re often closed on holidays. Some people would say it’s not that smart. What’s your thinking behind this?

Karl: Everyone is different, but you can’t work always. I’ve never worked as much as these past two years. 

Daniel: The baker world is quite rough. Early mornings and hard physical work. I want to think long-term with the work load, and not to begin earlier than 6am and be open four days in order to keep up the quality. 

Are breaks like these important to a company?

Karl: It’s extremely important. It wouldn’t work to extend the opening times. It’s not a choice since we need to recuperate.

Daniel: And to bring in more people, we wanted to keep it tight to begin with, for our financial security and to keep a good quality. 

Even if you would have someone else working on Sundays, would you still think about it. I think it’s important. 

Karl: We try to think long-term, even if these past two years have not had a long-term workload.  We’re not there, but we’re open 4 days, but have to work five days due to preparation. And I’m often here on Mondays to set the dough and clean up and work with bookkeeping. A lot of things need to be done. 

You’ve had the company for two years, but it’s been a dream for a long time. What has been the biggest surprise running a company?

Karl: It has been a lot of fun. I’ve never regretted it. It has almost been easier than we thought. Maybe because I didn't realise just how good Daniel is at what he does. We realised it would be a challenge, but we’ve gotten so many customers and positive reactions. It has been very hard work though. We didn't plan to hire anyone from the start but we’re bringing in more help. But then we get less money.

You won SM Gold for the best sourdough in Sweden. Is it important for you to be recognised?

Daniel: In one way the important thing is that our customers think we do something good. It is them we make a living on. Then of course it made us really happy when Sweden’s best bakers liked our bread. 

Karl: We had a lot of media coverage, which made more people find their way here and, of course, that is good for us. It’s ‘fantastiskt roligt’ and fun to win a prize. And good for us as a business. And the bread we won with has everything we believe in. We want to make healthy bread full of nutrition, and this bread, a 100% wholegrain, won the wheat category. Wheat is usually seen as ‘white’ bread with sieved flour and poor nutrition. Our bread, on the other hand, is wholewheat full of nutrition, minerals and vitamins. And the connection to the farmer - Per-Ola Olsson, who is an amazing farmer, grows this grain that is a rare kind in Skane. There is no mill down here in Skåne who buys this ‘culture’ grain’. We love to support him. We submitted this bread because it’s our favourite, not because it was an ‘easy-to-win’ choice. Most people prefer lighter bread. 

How long have you had your sourdough for?

Daniel: It’s not old, but I brought it from a previous bakery. We’re not big fans of old sourdough. There are different theories. But the way we think, a sourdough will adjust to the new environment, thus its history is not of great importance. 

What other place in Malmö would you recommend?

Karl: Hmm, we’re not out much so this is difficult. Have you been to a falafel place? I’m panicking. Kiez was a favourite of mine until they changed owners, but I hear the new place (Mineral) is keeping the same concept of natural wines and organic food so I'd probably recommend checking them out.

Hermansgatan 3,
212 11 Malmö

Wednesday-Friday 08:00 - 16:00
Saturday 08:00 - 13:00


Hörte Brygga

Issue #7

Hörte Brygga

Interview by Linn Style
Photography by Lenise Ormsby


There aren't many better ways to enjoy the summer months in Skåne than a visit to Hörte Brygga. Just a short drive south of Malmö and you arrive at this hidden gem, loved for it's quality locally sourced menu, good vibes and a beautiful sea view. We sat down to chat with Emma and Martin on their life as a young family running a growing business.

How would you describe Hörte Brygga?
: The vision was to create a high quality restaurant, but with a focus on being accessible. When you allow people to book months in advance, this leads to certain expectations, which is something we wanted to avoid.  
Emma: People should be able to come when they please and that’s why we decided not to take lunch bookings, to allow people the opportunity to spontaneously turn up. We’ve cut back on stiff things like a front of house manager and instead it’s more relaxed with everyone standing in line to order.
Martin: Ultimately, we’ve made a place where we’d want to spend a lot of time ourselves.

Tell us the story about Hörte Brygga
: This is an old eel harbour previously owned by an estate nearby and the restaurant house used to be the old twine house, where the fishing equipment was stored during winter. Today the harbour belongs to a non-profit association that renovated this house in order to make a bit of money. We contacted them after they had renovated the outside, and they gave us the permission to do whatever we wanted with the inside. We’ve been running this place since 2014.

What are your backgrounds?
: We’ve both worked in the restaurant business since the age of sixteen and have a substantial background within food, drink and hospitality. Emma grew up in Ystad and I’m from Karlskoga in Värmland, which is a not a very exciting place when it comes to food. In order to pursue my passion I had to move to where the good restaurants were, which I did the day after my high school graduation. The first stop was Gothenburg, where I met Emma, and since then I’ve worked at several restaurants in places like Stockholm, Jämtland and Gotland before finally moving down here.
Emma: I studied to become a sommelier back in 1999, a time when nobody here in Sweden knew what that was. I’ve studied for seven years in total, with the foundation at Wine and Spirit Education Trust in London.
Martin: We’ve worked at many highly rated restaurants in Sweden, but felt the need to strip back how we do things here.
Emma: Some things you can do in a simpler way. Less is more, as they say.

You are a couple as well as business owners. How does that work?
: The main reason for opening this place was that it would work for both us and our children. We love to work - food and drink is our biggest passion - but working for someone else on evenings and weekends doesn’t leave much time for family. We’ve created a place that compliments our lifestyle, because running a business, just like family, is a full time gig for us.
Emma: You do a bit of work, play with lego for half an hour, then do some more work…
Martin: We do bits and pieces all the time, which means that we work all the time and are free all the time. That was the original idea when we rented this place. It’s hard work, as in all relationships, but it works.

How would you like your children to experience this place?
: I grew up in a family that owned a flower shop, and thought it was wonderful to be alongside my father as he was making arrangements. I’d love my children to have the same experience and to feel like they’re a part of all this.
Martin: It would be magical if they enjoyed it. They get to meet all kinds of people, everyone from crazy people to ordinary people, and it’s a fun environment to be in. I’m quite certain they feel at home. If we’re out eating somewhere, our son Henry walks straight into the kitchen, regardless of who the owner is.
Emma: We got this place around the same time Henry was born, which means we built everything with a baby in tow. When Ilse came along, we were working with the building permit for the open-air seating and had to bring her to all the meetings. It’s great to be able to do both at the same time.
Martin: We don’t want to differentiate what we do with the children and what we do without them. We’re a part of their lives and they’re a part of ours.

How does a typical year look like to you?
: We exist all year round, but are closed in January and February in order to plan the rest of the year. Otherwise we’re open for bookings and dinners.
Martin: Then we do lunches from May and all throughout the summer. We also take bookings for dinners and smaller parties where you can have the place to yourselves.

How does your menu work?
: We follow the seasons, which dictates which food we serve. In spring and summer, a typical dinner consists of ten to sixteen different dishes. During autumn and winter, we serve fewer, but bigger size dishes. We work with ‘blind menus’, which means that it will be a four-hour eating experience and where every new dish is a surprise. Since the kitchen is integrated within the dining area, there is always a good home-feeling. We really enjoy these dinners.

You cook food in front of your guests. What’s the thinking behind that?
: We want to make visible what we do instead of hiding in a kitchen far away. As a chef, I think it’s much nicer to cook in a bright, nice room with a good record playing, rather than in a basement with artificial lighting. I like this way of working, even if it’s not always the most practical way.

What is the thought process behind the drink list?
: We want to serve good drinks that are produced in a sustainable way with future generations in mind. When it comes to wine, we focus on organic and biodynamic products, as well as natural wines. The wines might have a different taste profile to the commercial wines that people are familiar with, but it feels so right to work this way.
Martin: Recently both of us have started to learn more about beer and this year we have made an effort to serve beer from local breweries. It turned out there are quite a few nearby, and we’ve tried to visit as many breweries as possible, in order to understand the thinking behind their beers. We don’t want to just sell a beer, we want to share the thought behind it as well.

What kind of coffee do you serve?
: Since neither of us are a barista, we had to find a way to serve good quality coffee to all our customers, even on a good summer day when nearly two hundred people might turn up for lunch. Instead of ruining the whole experience with burnt cappuccinos, we decided to simplify it and supply all our guests with really good filter coffee. We’re working together with two different roasteries, Solde and Söderberg & Sara. The guys from Solde are good people to work with and their coffees are fantastic. Per and Tilde from Söderberg & Sara normally only roast coffee for themselves, but we happened to mention once that we wouldn’t mind a ‘Hörte blend’, and before we knew it they had made one for us. We always have two thermoses with one brew each - and we trust both companies completely.

My theory is that if you create something authentic and to a high standard, it will spread organically
— Martin Sjöstrand

How do people find their way out here?
: We built this place thinking it would be just us working here. Then it just exploded without us doing any marketing, which is quite amazing in itself - it’s just spread by word of mouth. 
Martin: My theory is that if you create something authentic and to a high standard, it will spread organically. Our restaurant is built on a good reputation, which is gained by people being recommended by someone they trust. And it helps to have an instagram-friendly sea view…

How does it work on a rainy day?
: Really good. Last summer was a great example. 
Martin: We have twenty-four seats inside, and on a rainy day last summer, we still did ninety lunches in a day. We just have to tell our guests to have something to drink while waiting, or we build more tables out of boxes. We’ll find a way one way or another. We’re currently in the process of building a rain shelter outdoors, which will make it even easier.

You have created a beautiful place. What’s the thought behind the interior design?
: I enjoy the challenge of creating a unique environment. The experience in visiting a restaurant is not just to meet people for a meal, everything that surrounds you helps create a wholeness. We have the advantage of having worked within the business for a long time; we’ve learnt how to operate in the kitchen and how to make it work in a small space. With that said, we wanted to create a relaxed environment, where people feel at home. 
Martin: Emma is really talented in this area and has clear visions of what she wants. Sometimes it takes a long time to get things right, but the result is always good. She rearranges the fixtures until perfection is reached and can spend ages buying a whole set of coffee spoons on Tradera, a couple of spoons at a time. It’s impressive.

What’s the best thing about being in this location?
: Being close to the producers and the source of our ingredients, and just the fact that people here help each other out. People in the area like us being here, for example, one neighbour who is a regular here supplies us with apples from his own garden. Another good thing is that people have to travel to come here; they aren’t just passing by. Because they have intentionally invested time to come here, we usually are afforded the opportunity to share our vision with our guests. 
Emma: I’m still amazed how relaxing it is to walk down this road. We’re here everyday, and we can be very busy, but I never feel stressed out. I love this place and can honestly say I’m proud of everything we do here.

You’ve been running this place nearly two years. Is there a day that sticks out as a highlight for you?
: During peak season last summer, we had a guest bartender here a couple of evenings. The first evening was magical - it was sunny, we had music on full blast and he was standing in the middle shaking cocktails. People chilled out and had a great time. To me, that was pretty perfect. 
Martin: Another good memory was the end of last summer’s season, when we made a long outdoor table seating forty people. There were several different bookings, but people sat down all together, we played good music and Ivan from Kv. Åkern was here making a hog roast. It was the last good summer evening and the atmosphere was great. There was a great mix of people of different ages and it was like a social roulette taking place. People made new friends and the whole idea about Hörte Brygga became so visible.

Why should people from Malmö travel to Hörte Brygga?
: It’s a great place to be, what else do I need to say? It’s easy to travel here, even if you don’t have a car, and when you come around the corner from the road - something happens. The nice harbour with old boats have a calming effect, you can just relax and enjoy something nice to eat and drink. It’s a nearby break from city life.

What other place in Malmö would you like to recommend?
: There is one place not many people have discovered yet, but people would do well to visit. It’s called Blå Båten, run by two guys called Linus Höök and Valle Westesson. Within the concept ‘creative’, this is probably one of the most creative places to visit in Malmö.


Hörte Hamn, Dybäck 465, 274 54 Skivarp

Thursday-Sunday 12:00-16:00
Check website for special events



Issue #6


Interview by Linn Style
Photography by Lenise Ormsby
This is our lives, we’re here all the time and need to have fun while working. You cannot work every weekend without enjoying yourself.
— Sophie Andersson


Since meeting in Gothenburg, chef Olle Ahnberg and sommelier Sophie Andersson have built up a reputation for creating a memorable dining experience. After their first venture together at a summer tavern in Österlen, they have now brought their talents to Malmö. Västergatan has gained a reputation for its seasonal menu with a strong west coast vibe.

What’s the story behind Västergatan?
Sophie: It all started in Gothenburg, where we met while working at Sjömagasinet, one of the biggest seafood restaurants in Sweden. Olle had been a chef there for a few years when I got a job on the side of my studies. We started talking at an afterwork on my second day...
Olle: After working at the same place for six or seven years, I felt ready to leave Gothenburg, and decided to move to Ystad, where Sophie’s from. I spent a few years freelancing, worked on some cookbook projects, took part in a TV programme, catered for weddings and taught cooking courses. In 2013 we stumbled upon a seasonal place in Österlen, a little restaurant seating around 30 people in the middle of a corn field. 
Sophie: The neighbouring farm delivered vegetables and we had a dairy producer nearby -  it was a very inspirational place. We ran that place for two years, but felt a bit limited because the season was so short and the idea about running a more permanent place was born. 
Olle: We wanted something we could control completely and wanted to try to do it in a more vibrant city. We had already started the concept in Österlen and decided to move it to Malmö when we found this venue. 

Your restaurant is named after the street it’s located on. How did you end up at Västergatan?
Sophie: We were looking for a place and found this on Blocket by coincidence. There used to be another place here, Tryne till Knorr, and we knew immediately that this was the kind of place we wanted. We wrote to the owners straight away and said: “we’ll get the money, don’t sell it to anyone else”. 
Olle: We liked the area and the venue. It’s small, only twenty-eight seats in the dining room and eight seats in the bar, but it’s personal and easy to overview. 

Why did you name the restaurant after the street?
Sophie: It’s quite a funny story. Before we opened, my sister who is very good with interior design, recommended me to open an account on Pinterest, which I did under the name ‘Västergatan’. We added pictures and involved people in the process, and when it was time to come up with a restaurant name, my sister simply stated: ‘you have already named it Västergatan, stick with that’. We thought we didn’t need to make it more complicated. 

What was the first thing you did after moving in?
Olle: We wanted to make it our own place. The previous owners had done an amazing job putting the restaurant on the map, but we had to change the interior design in a way that suited our style. With that said, we’ve kept a few details from Tryne till Knorr, to keep their memory alive. 

Why do people choose to come back to Västergatan?
Olle: We serve a four-course dinner called ‘Kvällsmat’ for 400kr, which is very affordable. We are a neighbourhood tavern with ambitions and want to make it easy and familiar for people by serving good food without complexity. 

Ivan at Kv. Åkern said that the word neighbourhood tavern doesn’t always evoke the best impression in Sweden. What’s your thoughts about that?
Olle: I understand what he means, but I think those associations are disappearing. We want to defuse the restaurant visit and make it more available to people. 
Sophie: A neighbourhood tavern should be a place where you feel welcome and comfortable without the pressure of dressing up. 

You are a couple as well as running a restaurant together. How does that work?
Sophie: It’s intense, but we understand each other and think alike. We don’t give it much thought, it just works. 
Olle: We are heading in the same direction, which is a very positive thing. 

We heard that you are an amazing seafood restaurant. What else do you serve?
Olle: Coming from the west coast, seafood is a natural part of my cooking, but we serve other meats as well. Sophie runs a sheep rearing farm together with her mother and grandfather, so lamb has been a natural part on our menu since we opened. We’re also about to begin our own vegetable farming within the family, which will influence what we serve. We’re planning on growing our own root-vegetables, kale and herbs. Things that we use daily but that will taste much better if it’s harvested the same day.

It sounds like you like local produce? Apart from own produce, where do your get your ingredients from?
Olle: We choose suppliers where we can get good quality things. Kött & Vilt Specialisten supplies us with good products from Skåne, Bondens Skafferi has a great selection of vegetables, Ola at Leröy picks the best from Göteborgs Fiskauktion and we get amazing charcuteries from Alex Charkuteri
Sophie: If we could decide, it would be spring, summer and autumn all the time in Sweden. We did a wedding last summer for a guy who runs a vegetable farming place called Happy Onion in Rosengård. At the wedding, he only wanted to serve his own vegetables, which is quite a project when you have a party of over a hundred people. We ended up using him as a supplier when we opened and he delivered fresh veg on his bicycle. It was great and we wish we could buy from him all year round. 

How do you plan your menus? 
Olle: The menus vary after our inspiration and what’s available. After everything’s done on a Saturday night, we open a bottle of wine and decide next week’s menu.
Sophie: The chefs discuss back and forth and make a test run on the Tuesday, and change a few things around on the Wednesday - it’s an ongoing process. 

Do a lot of dishes stay on the menu?
Last autumn we had a popular dish that stayed on the menu for a long time. It was lamb croquettes with meat from my mother’s farm, as well as our own grown kale and pickled onions, which made it extra special. 

Is there any night that sticks out a bit extra? Any fun memories?
Sophie: The best evening was when Pasteleria 413, a couple of guys from Gothenburg who make desserts while listening to hip-hop, did a guest performance here. 
Olle: We’ve tried to bring Gothenburg with us in our restaurant to avoid getting homesick. We serve beer from west coast microbreweries and play Gothenburg music, like The Embassy, TTA, The Knife, Håkan and Roffe Ruff, on our playlist. And the word has spread to Gothenburg people who visit Malmö. One customer even suggested we should become Gothenburg’s embassy here. 
Sophie: This is our lives, we’re here all the time and need to have fun while working. You cannot work every weekend without enjoying yourself. 

Do you work every weekend?
Sophie: We have done since our opening. 
Olle: We’re fairly new and if you want to start a good business, you have to spend a lot of time to make it work. We will take a few weeks off during the summer though. That’s the good thing about being a small independent company - we can decide how to do things. 

What kind of coffee do you serve?
Olle: Solde. We have a good relationship with those guys and their coffee is great. They come here and eat with their children, which we love. 

How do you pick wines to go with your dishes?
Sophie: It’s a bit difficult with wine, beer and coffee. Many have a perception of what it should taste like, but recently a market of microbreweries and natural wine makers have changed that image. 
This is a challenge for us, since a lot of people come here thinking they will get a traditional meal because of Olle’s background. However, the drink list is not so traditional and we often pick hand-crafted products, made on a small scale with lots of love and with as little pesticides as possible. Sometimes there is a little clash in taste, but it’s a fun challenge.

What would you like Västergatan to be known for?
Sophie: We want to serve good food and provide people with a nice experience. Rather than making a fuss over things, we like to work in the quiet, like when we opened and only announced it to our then hundred followers on Instagram. Rather than doing lots of advertising, we like it when we’re recommended by people. 

What other place in Malmö would you like to recommend?
Sophie: We’d like to recommend a place that is located just outside of Malmö called Hörte Brygga. It’s a great place for Malmö people to visit, and it’s incredible how many people find their way there considering it’s out in the middle of nowhere. 
Olle: ‘Come and hang out’ is their motto, which is exactly what people do there. It’s a great hangout place. 


Västergatan 16, 211 21 Malmö

Tuesday-Saturday 5pm–10pm


Kv. Åkern

Issue #5

Kv. Åkern

Interview by Linn Style
Photography by Lenise Ormsby
If I could pass on my own advice it would be: ‘just suck it up, do what it takes and leave your ego out of it’.


Since opening its doors in February of 2015, Kv. Åkern has built a reputation for exceptional food at an affordable price. We talked to owner Ivan about his mission to breathe new life into the traditional neighbourhood tavern.

What was the inspiration for opening your own restaurant?
Working for other people has given me a lot of ideas and when this venue became available, I decided to refine my skills and open my own place. It used to be another restaurant here, and the whole place had to be redecorated to get it looking the way I wanted, including moving the kitchen, lowering the ceiling and building a new bar. I had an idea of how I wanted it to feel, and thankfully my girlfriend is very good with interior design - all the details in here are her handiwork.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a chef.
Up until the age of 25, I didn’t know what to do with my life. I worked odd jobs as things like a furniture mover, factory worker and telephone marketer before I discovered cooking through an adult education course. I fell in love with it, and contrary to all those other things I used to do, I realised I could work with food and actually enjoy it. Having a late start in my career and thinking other chefs my age were so much better, I knew I had to work hard. In order to gain experience, I offered to work for free at reputable restaurants around town - not a lot of places would turn down that opportunity. The first restaurant I approached was Atmosfär, rated as the 12th best restaurant in Sweden at the time, followed by Smak at Malmö Konsthall. In order to support myself financially, I worked at a place called Pub 25 on the weekends. It went on for about a year and a half and it was hard work, but an invaluable step in my career.

What would you like Kv. Åkern to be known for?
I like what Johan from Solde said in his recommendation, that this is a place with a good atmosphere. I want people to walk by, look through the windows and be attracted to come in and sit down. Naturally, to be known for good food is always important. This is a neighbourhood tavern, which doesn’t always evoke the best impression in Sweden as people often associate it with crappy food, but this is the kind of restaurant I’d want in my neighbourhood.

We heard that you wait tables as well as cooking. How does that work?
It’s such a small place so everyone has to contribute to everything. We can’t have people just cooking, or just waiting. We all have to help out everywhere and do what is needed whether that’s dishes or waiting on tables; it’s a collective effort. Customers like it when the kitchen staff interact with the guests, since we know everything about the food we’re serving.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I don’t get a lot of advice, I must say, I just work hard and I’m not afraid to be humble. During my training, I had to let younger people boss me around due to the simple fact that they knew more than I did at the time. If I could pass on my own advice it would be: ‘just suck it up, do what it takes and leave your ego out of it’.

You recently won an award for the best vegetarian restaurant here in Malmö. What’s the secret behind your vegetarian food?
There’s no secret. I cook as I’ve always cooked, minus the meat. By learning the basics, you have freedom to do whatever you want - it’s as simple as that. Here at Kv. Åkern, we focus on vegetarian food, however, it wasn’t my intention to open a vegetarian restaurant, but rather to open a place that serves good food at a reasonable price. My way of doing that is to serve good food without the excess of expensive meats. I can serve a 4-course dinner for 350 kr and still be able to make a decent margin. It makes it much more affordable for everyone.

This is great. We recently interviewed Saltimporten Canteen where you can get a high standard lunch for less than 100 kr…

...and what they’ve done is to strip it down to the bare essentials. They focus on the food - and in their case the bread - that’s why they can keep the prices down. When places include salad buffets and coffee, the price naturally goes up. More restaurants could be cheaper if they just did what they’re really good at - the plate of food.

This is an evening restaurant, but are you planning to extend the opening hours?
No. I think that would wear a bit too much on the staff, and the place itself, running it from noon till midnight. We don’t have much room either, just seventy square metres, so we have a limitation on how much food we can store, which in one way is good since it forces us to get fresh produce every day.

People come here for your creative dishes. How do you plan your menus and where do you get your ingredients from?
We take what’s in season and find what works together. Carrot, for example, goes well with sesame seed and smoked butter, then we find a way to incorporate it in a dish. We work a lot with root vegetables, which surprises certain people, since it’s generally considered simple food. Here in Skåne, it's quite common to use root vegetables in fancy cooking, probably thanks to a chef called Tomas Dreijing, who experimented a lot with root vegetables around twenty years ago. He was a great source of inspiration to many chefs and I’d call him something like ‘the grandfather of cooking’ in this area. I haven’t worked for him personally but have worked for people who have, so perhaps some of my style has descended from him.

At Kv. Åkern, we change the menu over a two-week period, which means that there typically is a new dish every two days. We try to get the best we can get for our money from suppliers like Frukt & Grönsakshallen, Bondens Skafferi, Lindegrens and Kongsbak. For more specialised products we use smaller suppliers - our sardines for example come from an excellent supplier of Spanish goods.

You’ve been open for a little over a year. Is there any night that sticks out a bit extra?
Our opening was special, but to be honest I think all the evenings are kind of special. My girlfriend and I have tried to build a timeless place to enjoy for a long time, and I think we have succeeded. Sometimes when I walk back through the door after fetching a bit of air on a busy evening, I realise what a good place this is. The customers are enjoying themselves and it’s cozy and warm - it’s a nice feeling.

Who comes here to eat?
I’d say our average customers are between 25 and 55.  I thought we’d mainly get people in their mid-20’s who live at Möllevången, seeing as our main focus is reasonably priced vegetarian food, but they still haven’t found us. With that said, we’ve been fortunate to have some good press and that goes a long way here in Malmö.

What other place in Malmö would you like to recommend?
There is an excellent restaurant in Gamla väster called Västergatan. The owners Sofie and Olle opened about six months ago and have built a wonderful place - and they serve the best seafood in town.


Nobelvägen 73b, 214 33 Malmö

Tuesday-Thursday 5pm–12am
Friday-Saturday 5pm-1am