Food: creative with emphasis of ingredients from Småland
Address: Storgatan 22, 352 31 Växjö, Sweden
Phone Number: +46 (0)470 75 97 10
Guide Michelin: 1 star
What I paid: 700 € (World class wines + tasting menu. Per person)
Visited: October 15, 2016
PM & Vänner (“vänner” is friends in English) is a hotel and restaurant group in the heart of Småland. On the topic of food, PM has one bistro, one cocktail bar with food, one bakery and one “Fine Dining” restaurant.
“Forest, lake and meadow” are the three keystones for the PM & Vänner philosophy. Luckily, the region of Småland provides a lot of high quality produce that is served in their restaurants. The culinary vision is a modern interpretation of the regional cuisine, striving for uncomplicated yet stimulating dishes.
The restaurant is quite famous in Sweden with many awards on the topic of food (e.g. a star in the Guide Michelin Guide). However, our main reason to come here, were actually for their excellent wine list.
The wine list is not only exceptionally well stocked with many world class wines and interesting labels, but have also in many cases, very moderate mark-ups. Most Scandinavian restaurants have horrendous mark-ups. My two visits this year (i.e. 2016) to the two 3-stars restaurants Geranium and Maaemo, in Denmark respectively Norway, painfully reminded me about that fact.
The idea was that a group of five people, with a set budget, would agree on a wine-selection. That was easier said than done… But after weeks of arguing by emails, spreadsheets, voting and a final telco, we finally ended up with a sort of consensus. Of course with a maxed budget…
These are the wines we finally decided for:
1992 – Vilmart Champagne Coeur De Cuvée Magnum
1990 – Henriot Cuvée des Enchanteleurs Magnum
2004 – François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre Magnum
2007 – F.X. Pichler ‘Unendlich’ Riesling Smaragd
1985 – Château Margaux Premier Grand Cru Classé
1985 – Château Latour Premier Grand Cru Classé
1988 – Château Cos d’Estournel
2005 – Sine Qua Non Atlantis Fe203 Syrah 1a
2006 – Emrich Schönleber Monzinger Halenberg Auslese (375 ml)
Given the amount of wine, we decided to start sampling both the magnum champagnes and the Ravenau in the Bistro a couple of hours before the dinner started.
Even though the wines was in focus this day, it wasn’t a wine tasting per se and I did not take any notes. That being said, both champagnes were good “bottles” (e.g. well stored and no defects) and, from my taste preferences, of good maturity.
Initially, I had the Henriot Enchanteleur as my favourite, but it changed character after some time, while the Wilmart kept its qualities for a longer time. However, the Henriot did a “come back” after while. Regardless, it was two very good and mutually different champagnes that once again cemented the fact that size matters… Magnum rules!
After an hour or so with the champagnes, we started tasting the 2004 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre on Magnum (that then had been decanted about one hour).
The most magnificent and celebrated estate of Chablis are the wines from Domaine Raveneau. Worshipped by many, those wines are a hard catch, and even harder, is it to find Raveneau on Magnum. Raveneau’s premier crus are nearly as revered as its grands crus. In fact, some would argue that Montée de Tonnerre, from the same south-facing slope as the grand crus, is one of Chablis’ very top wines.
If I didn’t know that I was served a Chablis, I would spontaneously have guessed that this was a (white) Bourgogne (which it is, by the way… 😉 ). This though the oak was more prominent than I am used with in regards to Chablis. However, this was not to its detriment though it was very well integrated. For me, this was one of the best wines this evening.
At 19:30 it was time for us to move the “Fine Dining” room and start our dinner.
There are two tasting menus to choose from:
- SKOG, ÄNG & SJÖ (“Forest, meadow and lake”)
We opted for the bigger menu Tabberas. The name of the menu, Tabberas, derives from the Latin tabula rasa which, in this context, means “cleaning the table”. The reason for using this menu name here, is that the world famous writer Astrid Lindgren used that in one of her books about Emil of Lönneberga (a small town in Småland). In one of the books about Emil, there is a chapter called The Big Tabberas in Katthult. Emil invites all the Pauper and give them all the Christmas food in the house. When a person has taken the last available food on the dish, this was called to be “taken tabberas”.
TABBERAS – OUR TASTING MENU
Bröd & Sovel:
Those little cones filled with whitefish roe from Vänern was a really delicious start of the dinner.
Those little snacks were also good.
The bread served was from the restaurants own bakery. I liked the crackers the most.
Cult Wachau producer F.X. Pichler was next up on the table with its top wine F.X. Pichler ‘Unendlich’ Riesling Smaragd from 2007 (‘Unendlich’ means “never-ending” in German). The majority of the F.X. Pichler’s wines are vineyard-designated, but in the very best years, F.X. Pichler also produces two top-end cuvées, namely ‘M’ and ‘F.X. Unendlich’. ‘M’ stands for Monumental and is a Grüner Veltliner of exceptional quality that was first made in 1991 and ‘F.X. Unendlich’ is a Riesling first made in 1998.
I think this Riesling was fantastic and if I am forced to pick a winner, among all those world class wines we had this evening, I would probable preference ‘Unendlich’. However, in strong competition with the Raveneau Montée de Tonnerre.
Langoustine from Fjällbacka, served with purslane, cabbage from Ekobacken and emulsion of crayfish:
The langoustine was sweet and of good quality, but I think I foremost will remember this dish thanks to its emulsion.
Pike-perch with beetroots from Solmarka Farm, elder capers, browned butter and truffle:
Even though it looks like plenty of truffle on this dish, I could not really feel that much taste of it. This dish made no great impression on me.
Local Mushrooms and celeriac:
This mushroom dish was a favourite for everyone! Very tasty!
Now we were served the three Bordeaux and the US Syrah half blind. Of course, the Syrah was easy to identify from the others. Since I have never had any of the Bordeaux I did not have any references. That being said, we voted which one we liked the most and interestingly, most (but not all), had the 1988 Château Cos d’Estournel as their favourite. Interestingly though this is “only” a Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) and the other two (Château Margaux and Château Latour) are Premiers Crus (First Growths).
Our first Château Latour (which we didn’t know it was at that time) were defect and we therefore sent it back and got a new one. Naturally, this wine was not aired (i.e. decanted) and that maybe we should keep in mind, in regards to the comparison.
I have had the SQN Atlantis (Syrah) one time before and rated that moment as one of my best wine memories. I couldn’t recall those feelings this time and that could be related to the stiff “competition”. But maybe rather, due to the amount of alcohol intake, which at this time of the dinner eventually had reached the level of too much of a good thing… 😉
Mousse of ethical duck liver, purée of cherry apples, preserved chioggia beets from our garden and powder of mushrooms:
Corn duck from Munka-Ljungby, served with black currants from our garden and crunch:
Single Goat Milk Cheese:
Apple from Urshult with soured cream and almonds:
Although the wine list is very good, interesting and well stocked, the best vintages are missing for many wines (e.g. for Raveneau, our third wine). That being said, I doubt I have been to a restaurant with a better price/performance in regards to the wine list.
Given the argumentation we had in the wine selection process, we did not only maxed out budget, but did also end up having very much “wine per capita consumption”. A little shame given the quality of the wine and how I felt the day after… 😉
This was not a wine tasting per se, but foremost a very nice dinner with excellent wines together with friends. Consequently, I did not take any serious notes on the topic of wines.
PM & Vänner are famous for their food and its restaurant, but I was actually a little bit disappointed on the topic of food. It was good, but not excellent. Also; the food service was really slow. Actually so slow that it become a source of irritation. I heard that some of the staff had recently quit and moved to Kalmar (a city, not that far away from Växjö) where they opened up a new restaurant (named Postgatan) and this may explain why the food and service wasn’t top notch this evening (which it supposedly has been).
Personally, I will gladly get back for only the wine. That being said, I will in that case focus on a more specific wine theme (e.g. specialising in one specific wine region and not drink so many different wines as we did). It is also well worth mentioning that our Sommelier Ruben was really good, service minded and with lot of knowledge.