VRÅ Restaurant, Gothenburg. The best of worlds between Japan and Sweden

One of the reasons I chose Gothenburg for this fall getaway is that I’ve heard great things about the quality of the local restaurants. So it’s time to start with my first discovery: VRÅ, a Japanese restaurant located in the Clarion Hotel Post which we will talk about soon because I also stayed there for a few days.

As a reminder, the details of my week:

The VRÅ concept

Very simply, the restaurant’s promise is to offer a menu at the crossroads between Japanese and local cuisine (even if we can feel the Japanese side prevailing, which is not to my displeasure) which may disconcert the purists of Japanese cuisine but will delight the travelers who are fond of mixing flavors and cultures.

And since it’s in the spirit of the times, the food is necessarily local, with some vegetables even grown in a rooftop garden and others from a local farm. The fish are of course caught in the region.

The setting

A japanese restaurant in Sweden is expected to be sleek and it is. The room is large, the tables spaced out. You can relax and breathe.

A very pleasant setting and you’ll have to trust me for lack of evidence: for some inexplicable reason I was so distracted at one point that I totally forgot to take pictures of the room.

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VRÅ is located in the Clarion Hotel Post

VRÅ’s menu

Japanese yes, but really at the crossroads of paths and cultures, which may be surprising.

VRÅ Gothenburg: the menu
VRÅ Gothenburg: the menu

A short menu is usually synonymous with fresh products. Now let’s taste it!

The meal and the dishes

Since there were two of us, we were able to order different dishes and taste a bit of everything.

First the Sashimi with horseradish. It’s superbly present, fresh and spicy at the same time, and the horseradish makes a surprisingly good substitute for the traditional wasabi. A fine dish is eaten very easily, too quickly in fact.

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Sashimi moriawase, horseradish, at VRÅ Gothenburg

Then the Sashimi of scallops and pear, soy sauce. Same remark as for the previous dish. The visual is so good that you don’t want to touch it. Then in the mouth it is fresh, light, and the sweet-salty perfectly balanced.

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Sashimi of scallops, pear and soy sauce – VRÅ Gothenburg

A little more “classic” the “Oki fries” with fish eggs…a surprising mix but once again good.

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Oki fries and fish eggs – VRÅ Gothenburg

To finish, or almost we let ourselves be tempted by a last dish…

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And while we’re at it, Ponzu oysters to finish the sequence. Original but well done! The oysters are really big

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Oysters with Ponzu – VRÅ Gothenburg

And since the best things come to an end: dessert. Two desserts to share are better than one…

Chocolate mousse with sesame caramel and sea salt. Delicious and melting.

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Chocolate mousse with sesame caramel and sea salt – VRÅ Gothenburg

And the yuzu-coconut ice cream with red fruits.

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yuzu-coconut ice cream – VRÅ Gothenburg

Bottom line: from the visual to the palate there is no fault and the meeting between cultures (do we eat Japanese in Swedish style or Swedish in Japanese style) surprising but never shocking. All this for fine, light dishes with a perfectly balanced taste.

Only one regret, as often in this kind of property, we always have the impression not to have enough and to want to ask for more because it is so good. But with several people you can share several dishes, which helps.

The service

A fast service, without false note, with a smiling, friendly and very welcoming staff.

Then you have to put things in context. Even if contrary to France the restaurants were not closed in Sweden there is no need to put a gun to people’s heads to make them be careful. In short, in the middle of the week we were that evening almost the only two customers of the restaurant.

I don’t doubt that the quality of the service remains very good even if the huge room is full, but it is obvious that the staff will have less time to do relationship building.

The atmosphere at VRÅ

Same remark as above. Two people in such a big restaurant, even if we had found a “cosy” place in a corner, well… either you have an exciting discussion with the person and everything is fine or it quickly sounds hollow and sad. Fortunately the discussion was there.

Impossible to judge therefore, for lack of having visited the restaurant in “normal” conditions.

Bottom line

A nice discovery! At least for me because for the locals the place is more than known. The meeting of the Swedish and Japanese styles is successful without any false note, the dishes are as beautiful as good, the setting very pleasant once we forget the context of this visit.

In short, I will return with pleasure and that is the main thing.

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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