Food: Scandinavian fish- and seafood (sushi) treated in a traditional Japanese style
Address: Stigbergsliden 17, 414 63 Gothenburg, Sweden
Guide Michelin: No stars
What I paid: 950 SEK (omakase tasting menu, per person)
Visited: December 10, 2014
Restaurant HOZE, located in Gothenburg (on the Swedish West Coast), embodies a style of dining where fish- and seafood from the Scandinavian coast meets Japanese cooking traditions. All this performed by a Spanish cook named José Gabriel Cerdá Contreras (nicknamed Hoze) who by accident (in many implications…) started his career under master chef Fumihiro Hayashi, who taught him the basics of the art of sushi.
The restaurant resembles a traditional Japanese sushi place where the food is served on a small counter (with only six seats) in front of the chef. This not only gives the opportunity to see the chef in action but also the opportunity to interact with him and listen to his stories and interest in food.
The sushi commonly known around the world today is a combination of fresh raw fish and cooked rice seasoned with vinegar. Nonetheless, this is only a single variation within many other types of sushi that exists in Japan. This particular type of sushi is a rather modern Japanese cuisine initially created by the Edo (the old name for Tokyo) fast food businesses during the 1820’s. The Edomaesushi, or Edomeaezushi directly translates to “Edo front”, and literally translates to Edo style. HOZE practice the Edomae sushi style using fish- and seafood from the Scandinavian waters.
HOZE offers two menus:
- Sushi Omakase (a 450 SEK)
A “light” omakase version consisting of some snacks but mainly sushi (served one by one in a traditional manner)
- Omakase (a 950 SEK)
A full course omakase menu changing with season, availability and the mood of the chef
We opted for the full course Omakase menu and this is what we had:
A story about reflection
The Nordic King prawns (Pasiphaea tarda) should not be confused with the endangered tropical giant Tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon; the biggest and most common “giant prawn”). The Nordic King prawns are (in Sweden) a by-catch and are usually not sold on the fish auctions. It’s a shame because they are very tasty (and at the same time not endangered).
Enjoying the season
Celebration of freshness
Property of happening now
Even though I liked both those dishes above, I think that it would have been better to have one dish between those two. This because both contained deep-fried and prominent flavors.
Respecting a tradition
Beginning of the end
I like dill a lot but would probably not have opted for it six times during a dinner if I were to decide…
Closure to a story told
Hoze is located in a quite unexpected location in a rather dull area. That said, Hoze itself is anything but dull and has improved a lot those few years it has been in operation. I consider Hoze the most interesting restaurant in Gothenburg for the time being and also one of the “best”. If we only talk sushi it’s one of a kind in Sweden. But even so, the best part for me were the dishes preceding the sushi.
Very fresh and high quality ingredients, but foremost very good flavor combinations characterizes this unusual (in a good way…) restaurant.
No alcohol is served which is kind of strange but I know this is something the restaurant is working on (read: rigorous and retarded Swedish alcohol laws) but for me (a person drinking quite a lot of wine…) this is fine. This is because I find it “relaxing” to sometimes just go out and have water or tea on a good restaurant, especially on a weekday (with work the day after). But for some reason I usually feel “obligated” to opt for wine on a “good” restaurant… That said, this is obviously something that needs to be addressed or as I suggested to Hoze: why not offer tea-pairing instead (as an alternative to wine paring usually existing at other restaurants. I had tea pairing at Ryugin and really liked that). Also, wine is probably not the best alcoholic match for sushi, but beer and sake is of course something that a restaurant like Hoze should be able to offer its guests.
Apart from a notch too much dill (not from a flavor perspective in each individual dish but from the number of dishes it occurred in) my only real objection is that my taste buds did not fully appreciate the desserts as much as I enjoyed all other food. The deserts were definitely good, but from my taste preferences, I think that part of the dinner could be further improved.