INTERVIEW WITH LUA MORENA, AMANDA LIEDMAN AND CAROLINE CARLSSON, FOUNDERS OF MINERAL.
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.
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.
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.
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