When we were in Stockholm recently, at least half a dozen people recommended Hermans Vegan Restaurant.
When I entered the restaurant in Fjällgatan for lunch, I was stunned by the situation. It is perched on a hill overlooking the harbor and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city. The place was full and I had to wait 30 minutes before I found a table.
The buffet table was plentiful and sumptuous. I paid my 220 Swedish kronor at the counter and received my plate. Since the focus is on upcycling, plates and cutlery are obtained from second-hand shops, which explains why they are available in different sizes and shapes.
Soup, bread, four types of salad, two types of dressings, two types of sauces, four types of cucumber, curry, stew, pasta, rice, lasagna and spinach and potato casserole were all on the buffet … there is also one Daily Indian rice dish and lentil salad. At the weekend there is a vegan grill station.
"The multicultural character of the buffet is reflected in our kitchen staff, who come from different parts of the world," says Malin Orthagen, service manager. Since the Indian vegetarian cuisine naturally adapts well to the vegan cuisine, the influence seemed inevitable – that day there was chickpea salad, vegetable stew and coconut rice pulao.
She adds that the restaurant sources organic vegetables in nearby Jarna. She also mentions that the menu changes depending on the seasonal vegetables.
However, rice, chickpeas and lentils are imported, as are vegetables in the winter months. The employees grow kale and edible flowers in the restaurant garden.
In 1992 Herman founded Ottanson Hermans as a small vegetarian canteen that only looked after the employees of the building in Fjällgatan. Hermans was an instant success, the popularity of which grew through word of mouth and in a few years became a restaurant and cafe.
In 2006 he sold it to the young couple Leo and Omer, who continue to run the place. The couple switched to vegan food about four years ago and intensively dealt with soy and coconut milk, oats (locally grown), coconut oil, rapeseed oil, olive oil, margarine, vegan butter and peanut butter. The lasagna I tried was excellent: a mix of Italian and Indian with the aroma of coconut and Italian spices.
Guests clear away plates and cutlery in special containers and throw leftovers in another container. Food waste is processed internally and converted into biofuel, while vegetable waste is composted and used for the vegetable garden. Staff t-shirts and aprons are made from organic cotton and bamboo.
Hermans & # 39; vegan desserts are popular. Confectioner Devi Prasad Nair said when she joined the company a year ago it was a challenge to find vegan ingredients for every dessert she wanted to bake. Every ingredient is prepared in the kitchen. Devi did a baking course at De Pastry School in Kochi, followed by a certificate course in cake decoration in Stockholm.
Last year she attended a one-week master class at the Vegan Gastronomy Culinary Academy in Spain. Hermans offers an enormous selection of vegan desserts, but the most popular on the menu are cheesecakes, mango delicacies, 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 a dessert.