Restaurant Saga in Gothenburg: when Singaporean cuisine meets Scandinavian cuisine

Saga in Gothenburg offers a cuisine where Singaporean influences meet Swedish ingredients for a fine and elaborate result.

I keep a constant watch on restaurant openings in the towns that I like and where I often go to detect potential nuggets that I would like to try out one day, even if in Gothenburg I have a very good local informer.

That’s how I identified Saga over a year ago. But the restaurant ran into problems during the works, and the opening was repeatedly postponed. Frustrating, because this promise of a meeting of Asian (Singaporean in this case) and Scandinavian cuisines had everything to please me.

Fortunately, the restaurant finally opened a few months before my trip to Gothenburg, and I rushed off to book a table.

You’ll find a summary of the articles about this trip to Australia at the bottom of the page.

The concept

Saga is the meeting of a Singapore-born chef, Pearly Teo, and Scandinavian cuisine, in particular its ingredients, with a shared passion for authenticity and plants. A passion for plants that she rediscovered in Sweden.

Saga is the name of a red seed that is very popular in Singapore and this region of Asia.

At Saga, the restaurant, each dish is like a story, one that begins with the chef’s childhood memories and ends with her new life in Sweden.

A bit like 100 Maneiras in Lisbon… but in a radically different style.

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The setting

The restaurant has two small dining rooms. Warm light, the omnipresence of wood, sobriety – this is Sweden.

I’ll be dining in the room at the back of the restaurant, overlooking the open kitchen where the chef officiates.

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The menu

The restaurant only offers a tasting menu, available in full or small versions.

MUSSEL BROTH

Mussel juice, red dates, goji berries and roasted elderflower vinegar

NORI PIE

Mia’s leeks and fermented summer tomatoes, Lilla Laback

ZANDER SASHIMI

Last year’s marinated elderflower capers, white pepper, tomatoes and soy dashi.

KIMCHI PANCAKE

Homemade butter and wrängebäck

SWEDISH MUSSELS

Fermented potatoes, curry emulsion and smoked crème fraîche

HAND-CUT NOODLES

Pumpkin, fish milk, langoustine oil, coriander cress

SKOVDE SIRLOIN

Coconut cream with shallots, glutinous rice and fermented celeriac

SORBET

Sea buckthorn and calamansi sorbet

MILK TEA AND JASMINE ICE CREAM

Gula melaka, vanilla cake and apples from Mia, Lilla Laback

The meal

I have the misfortune to arrive about ten minutes before my reservation time. The waiter tells me it’s too early and that I have to come back later. However, it’s nearly 7pm and the restaurant is supposed to have been open since 5pm. I wouldn’t be too offended if it wasn’t -10°C outside!

I ended up coming back at the right time and the welcome was very cordial. I’ll be seated in the second room next to the open kitchen and the restaurant will fill up quickly.

They bring me a hot oshibori on a ruler and I place my order: the full tasting menu with wine pairing.

Mussel broth, mussel juice, red dates, goji berries and roasted elderflower vinegar

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Served by the chef herself, who explained the dish to me. Very pleasant given the outside temperature and the taste of iodine is perfectly balanced by the rest.

Nori tart with leeks and fermented Mia summer tomatoes, Lilla Laback

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Fine and light, a pleasant little snack.

Zander sashimi, last year’s marinated elderflower capers, white pepper, tomatoes and soy dashi.

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The fish is of excellent quality, the flesh very firm, fresh and lemony, the pepper hardly noticeable and the capers discreet.

Rhubarb pancake with Kimchi, homemade butter and wrängebäck

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For the uninitiated, wrängebäck is a Swedish cheese. The sauce is homemade with fermented mackerel.

It’s really excellent, you can taste the kimchi and cheese, while the sauce is more discreet.

Swedish mussels, fermented potatoes, curry emulsion and smoked crème fraîche

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The dish is served under a curry tile with a curry emulsion.

It’s like curried mussels in a fermented purée with a few vegetables and spices. It’s fine and a delight! Really delicious.

Cream of egg soup with squid, trout roe, mushrooms and spring garlic

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Strange, it doesn’t match the initial menu…perhaps a change due to product availability.

Good, especially with the coriander that you can smell at the end, but it’s perhaps the dish with the least pep in this dinner. A little tastier when you mix it all together, but it’s not as good as the rest.

Skovde sirloin, coconut cream with shallots, sticky rice and fermented celeriac

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The rice balls are crispy on the outside and sticky on the inside. You can’t really taste the coconut, but the celery is very good.

The meat is cooked to perfection and the soy and vinegar sauce is very good.

Sea buckthorn and calamansi sorbet

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A very fresh palate cleanser that is perfect before dessert.

Milk tea and jasmine ice cream, gula melaka, Mia’s vanilla and apple cake, Lilla Laback, honey tile

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A fresh and very tasty dessert to finish with, with a variety of flavours that combine perfectly.

I’ll finish with a hojicha tea, a roasted green tea that I really like.

It was a meal that really lived up to its promise, with the meeting of the cuisines of two influences that I really like.

Final bill: 140 euros, expensive but within local standards for this type of restaurant.

The service

Apart from the slightly stiff waiter at reception when I arrived, the service was excellent. The chef was very friendly and available and the waitress who looked after my table was very friendly and smiling, attentive and took the time to explain all the dishes.

The atmosphere

Friendly and relaxed, not noisy, pleasant music that is not intrusive.

Bottom line

When you expect a lot from a restaurant, the risk of being disappointed is often high, but that was not the case here. I found exactly what I expected to find, the promise is kept, the food is authentic, the dishes perfectly executed and the service very good.

If you’re interested in this type of experience and you’re passing through Gothenburg, this is a restaurant I’d recommend.

The articles about this trip to Australia

#TypePost
1DiaryPreparing a trip to Australia
2LoungeAir France lounge Roissy 2G
3FlightParis-Gothenburg, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
4HotelDraken, Gothenburg
5RestaurantKuruya, Gothenburg
6RestaurantSaga, Gothenburg
7HotelScandic Landvetter Airport
8LoungeSAS Lounge-Gothenburg (already tested many times, no review)
9FlightGothenburg-Munich, Lufthansa, Business Class (A320)
10LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge Munich T2 Gates H
11FlightMunich-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
12LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2
13FlightTokyo Haneda-Sydney, ANA, Business Class (B787)
14HotelMoxy Sydney Airport, Sydney
15LoungeVirgin Australia Lounge Sydney Domestic T2
16FlightSydney-Adelaide, Virgin Australia, Business Class (B737)
17HotelIntercontinental Adelaide
18RestaurantDaughter In Law, Adelaide
19DiaryVisiting Adelaide
20LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, Adelaide, Domestic
21FlightAdelaide-Melbourne, Virgin Australia, Economy X
22HotelRitz Carlton Melbourne
23RestaurantEntrecote, Melbourne
24RestaurantDelhi Streets, Melbourne
25RestaurantBincho Boss, Melbourne
26HotelW Melbourne
27RestaurantCapitano Carlton, Melbourne
28RestaurantRed Spice Road, Melbourne
29RestaurantYakikami, Melbourne
30RestaurantFreyja, Melbourne
31DiaryVisiting Melbourne
32LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, domestic, Melbourne
33FlightMelbourne-Sydney, Virgin Australia, Economy X
34HotelW Sydney
35RestaurantManta, Sydney
36RestaurantAalia, Sydney
37DiaryVisiting Sydney
38LoungeAir New Zealand lounge, Sydney T1
39LoungeThe House, Sydney T1
40FlightSydney-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
41LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2 (already tested on the outward journey, no review)
42FlightTokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, ANA, Business Class (B787)
43LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, Frankfurt, T1 Gates A
44FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg, Lufthansa, Business Class (A321)
45HotelJacy’z, Gothenburg
46LoungeThe Lounge, Goteborg Landvetter
47FlightGothenburg-Paris, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
48DiaryDebriefing my vacation in Australia
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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