Restaurant Natur in Gothenburg: warm and natural

Continuation of my discovery of the Gothenburg culinary scene: after having gone upmarket with VRÅ and Koka, back to more “normal” cuisine at Natur.

Natur: the concept

Contrary to what its name might suggest (and some might even fear), the concept of nature is to serve local, seasonal produts, nothing more. A guarantee of authenticity and quality without falling into the trap of green washing.

Another characteristic of Natur is the promise of a wide and varied natural and artisanal wine list presented as “an adventure”.

So if we strip away the marketing gimmicks, we could be talking about a wine bar/restaurant with a cuisine based on local ingredients.

The setting

Like the other restaurants I’ve tried so far in Gothenburg, it’s all about wood, but not light wood and designer furniture, which are often used as a sign of simplicity and authenticity, even if it means looking a little cold but dark, varnished wood, and a setting more reminiscent of old Parisian bistros or wine bars.

Natur Gothenburg

In the background, you can see the line-up of bottles embodying the property’s promise.

I really liked the dark, warm setting, which was a lot less cold and impersonal than other properties I’ve seen. Wood is part of the local spirit, but I find that playing the natural card to the max tends to create cold environments. The luminous ambience, dark but not overly so, also contributes to this feeling of warmth.

Natur’s menu

This is where it gets complicated. I didn’t take the photo of the card on the evening of my visit, but I’ll show you the one that appears on the site on the day I write this article.

Menu Natur Gothenburg

No, I didn’t make a mistake, the menu is in Swedish and only in Swedish. As well as the website by the way. So if, like me, your English is better than your Swedish, which is limited to “Hej” (hello), “Tack” (thank you) and “Restaurang” (I’ll let you guess), as soon as you make a reservation (“Boka Bord” to reserve a table on the site…this will help you, as it’s not the only restaurant site I’ve found untranslated), you think it’s going to be complicated.

To give you a rough idea of the menu, even a rough Google translation is your best friend.

Menu Natur Gothenburg

But in fact the absence of an English menu was a very positive element of my experience, and I’ll tell you why below.

For now, at least, the menu delivers on the restaurant’s promise. And as I often say, a short menu is usually a guarantee of freshness.

The meal and the dishes

After a classic aperitif, i.e. my traditional Negroni (decent but light years ahead of the one at Harry’s Bar in Paris…) it’s time to get down to serious things.

Let me remind you once again that my dinner doesn’t match the aforementioned menu (or not entirely) because the two have different dates. At least this proves that the menu changes at least every 3 months, which is important when you have a short menu.

I’ll start with oysters! But if you’re looking for a local touch, you’ll be disappointed: they’re French. Too bad, because I was told there were also some very good local oysters (although locals told me they were a bit oversold).

Oysters – Natur Gothenburg

Of course, you don’t taste them the way you do in France, and that’s the whole point. Very successful seasoning and good-sized oysters (you’ve got to love it).

Then it will be the venison.

Venison – Natur Gothenburg

The appearance is very attractive.

The meat is melt-in-the-mouth and the Grand Veneur-style sauce is just perfect. Special mention for the mushroom purée, which was especially melting.

As I was hungry, I ordered two dishes. The second will be a turbot! It’s a shame to go to these regions without enjoying the local fishing.

Turbot – Natur Gothenburg

Once again, it’s a complete visual success.

The butter sauce is light, so obviously not too rich. The combination with the cucumber, although surprising, goes very well. The cucumber is so finely sliced that you can barely feel it, which prevents it from being too overpowering. There’s still one ingredient I couldn’t translate or identify, but in the end the result is very tasty: a delight.

As for the wine, given the range of choices on offer, I’ll be lazy and ask the waiter to serve me wines by the glass, trusting him to make the right choice.

An excellent surprise: for each dish, he’ll let me taste two wines so that I can choose the one I like best, and he’ll also leave the “unchosen” glass on the table.

A Cava will go with the oysters and the fish, and a Bordeaux will accompany the meat. The choice of Cava was original but appropriate, the Bordeaux correct. I’d have been more impressed by the food than by the wines, which were all very decent but no real pleasant surprises.

However, I won’t be having dessert. Not that I didn’t want to, but the time that elapsed between the end of the course and the return of a waiter to take an order dissuaded me from taking one out of sheer weariness. All the more so as I was expected elsewhere afterwards. It’s a pity, but it’s a recurring problem in many restaurants: after the main courses, there’s a sort of space-time gap before you’re offered dessert, which ends up discouraging you. With several people, discussions can keep you busy, but when you’re dining alone, it’s prohibitive.

And it’s a shame, because everything had gone perfectly until then.

I eventually intercepted the waiter who had taken care of me in the first place to get a green tea. But it’s been hard…

The service

When I was talking about the advantages of not having a menu in English, here it is: it provoked long discussions with the waiter, who took all his time to explain the dishes to me one by one. It was a quality exchange that led to further conversations, and which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t needed to have the menu explained to me.

I was served by two people. The first waiter will introduce me to the menu and help me choose the wines. Friendly and warm, perfect.

Then an equally friendly waitress took over. However, when she brought me my dish, she launched into a long litany in Swedish to explain what I was going to find on my plate, before realizing after a while that I didn’t speak the local idiom. It happened to me 3/4 times during my stay, I’m going to start thinking I look like a local.

On the other hand, if everything was perfect all the way down to the dishes the rest was more disappointing. Once the dishes were finished, they were cleared away in record time and then….nothing. After a 20-minute wait, as I’ve already said, I managed to beg for a cup of tea, but the length of the wait put an end to my desire for dessert.

The atmosphere

A very warm and friendly setting, as I’ve already said, very discreet lighting but without giving the impression of eating in the dark, as in too many places, and a background sound that’s audible but not too loud.

Because of the COVID, the room was far from full when I visited, but from what I could see the place was lively without being overly noisy, and the people were very relaxed.

Bottom line

After two more upscale properties, Koka and VRÅ, it was a pleasure to discover this more casual property.

A setting and atmosphere that make you feel good, sophisticated but uncomplicated dishes, quality ingredients and very friendly staff (if you forget about the dessert).

In short, don’t be put off by the lack of an English website or menu, and take the trouble to discover this warm-hearted restaurant with a cuisine that won’t disappoint.

As a reminder: articles related to this trip :

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrin
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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