At Sjömagasinet for a Christmas table sitting, 2021, Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro & JE Nilsson 2021
Sjömagasinet has become a signature restaurant to visit for the family julbord during the yuletide season. I love family Christmas table sittings in Sweden, and I began writing about the julbord spreads at the restaurant from 2007, 2008 and 2009 when the restaurant was helmed by Guide Michelin Chef, Leif Mannerström.
Browsing through the photo archives, it is interesting to see how the restaurant has evolved over the years, with slightly different interiors, and certainly different menus in the change of restaurant ownership. The 2014 visit reflected an event by award winning Chefs Gustav Trägårdh and Ulf Wagner.
Since 2014, we began having our family julbord sittings at other restaurants that include Tjolöholm Slott (2015, 2016 and 2017), Tromsø Ishavshotel (2018) and Långedrag Värdshus (2020, 2021). In a way, being back at Sjömagasinet this year felt a little as if coming home for a Christmas table, where the restaurant from April 2020, has been under the captainship of Mats Sjölander and Jennie Selin.
Noticeable at this year’s julbord is the variety of seafood dishes from shrimps to crayfish and crabs that complemented the more traditional cold seafood dishes of smoked salmon, cod and gravad lax. Personally, I thought there were many distinct and memorable dishes such as the lamb prinskorv (sausages), the fishballs made of cod, their wild meat pâté and their pork ribs. Their Swedish meatballs, I thoroughly enjoyed too.
In Swedish tradition, one would begin with the herrings, and then move on to the cold fish dishes and then begin with the warm meat dishes, just before a dessert of cheese or sweets. I broke with tradition (and since when do I not?) and filled my dessert plate with more of my favourite pork ribs, fishballs made of cod, and lamb sausages. I thought those were all excellent and deserved a few more rounds of picking.
For the dessert round, refraining from looking like Marve’s symbiote Venom, I took a prettily gilded dessert plate and filled it with small cuts of meat and liver pâté that I thought looked very much like a sweet treat. Then, coffee.
Just outside the main entrance of Sjömagasinet is this fireplace where you can stand and warm your hands whilst waiting for company to arrive.
A shared spacetime, by the outdoor fireplace.
I love most everything about Sjömagasinet, particularly the indoor open fireplace. The team with Mats Sjölander and Jennie Selin did an excellent job in making guests feel at home.
There was a variety of seafood dishes at this julbord that include shrimp and crayfish, which complemented the more traditional Swedish pickled herring selection, cold smoked salmon and cod dishes.
Sjömagasinet’s julbord, beautifully prepared and presented.
At the dessert table, guests will find their favourite Swedish sweets such as sugared raspberry jellies, caramel bites, chocolate and raspberry mousse, as well as some new items such as crisps made from vegetable roots.
In Sweden there are as many variations to this festive custard cheesecake as there are baking forms that you can use to mold them. The more regional favourites are Småland (Frödinge) and Hälsingland. The main ingredients to this custard cheesecake are keso, eggs, sugar, a little bit of wheat flour and ground almonds.