Table for one: the Swedish restaurant with an extreme approach to social distancing


Table for one: the Swedish restaurant with an extreme approach to social distancing
The restaurant is located in the forest of Värmland. Photo: Jacque de illiers/imagebank.sweden.se
Worried about the risk of infection while eating out? One restaurant in rural Sweden has taken the guidelines on social distancing to the extreme, serving individual diners in an empty field with the meal arriving by zipline.

Aptly named “Bord for en”, or “Table for One”, the unique al fresco eatery allows patrons to “let their worries go”, long enough to enjoy a meal, the restaurateurs told AFP.

“It’s nice to just for once not think about ‘Oh, am I going to catch the virus now?’ ‘Am I being a risk to anyone else?'”, says Linda Karlsson, 36, who hatched the idea with husband Rasmus Persson in Sweden’s western Varmland province.

At a table set with a white linen tablecloth, David Nordstrom – who came by bicycle from Karlstad, 50 kilometres (31 miles) away – savours his three-course meal in the wide-open wilderness.

On the menu: Seaweed caviar on Swedish-style hash browns with smetana, yellow carrot ginger puree and sweet corn croquettes, and ginned blueberries with iced buttermilk for dessert. All delivered on a zipline that runs from the couple’s kitchen window.

“I hadn’t eaten food outside my apartment since early March. I wanted to get out of my voluntary quarantine and leave the city,” Nordstrom, the spot’s first customer, told AFP. As he dined, a butterfly circled the table and a hawk soared high above.

The idea was born when Linda’s parents, who are in a risk group, came for a visit.

“It was a windy day” in March, she recalled. “They came by and we said ‘You need to go around the house’, and we had put this nice table up with nice tableware, a nice linen cloth and two chairs.”

“We served them through the kitchen window and they really enjoyed it. We were able to spend time with them and it was safe, and we thought that maybe we should make this available for everybody.”

The couple opened their establishment on May 10th, but are fully booked through August 1st when they will close. They offer a set menu, but guests decide how much they want to pay for it.

Rasmus, a former chef turned freelance radio host, and Linda, a former waitress who is now a production company executive, work their normal jobs during the day before opening the restaurant at the end of the afternoon.

In Sweden, which has focused on voluntary measures in the fight against the new coronavirus and has reported more than 5,100 Covid-19 deaths, most restaurants have remained open throughout the pandemic.

However, they must follow guidelines such as marking distance between groups of diners, offering table service only, and taking other measures to ensure social distancing. Restaurants, cafes and bars that violate these rules risk being shut down.

Swedish vocabulary

quarantine – (en) karantän

hawk – (en) hök

menu – (en) meny

tablecloth – (ett) bordsduk

distance – (ett) avstånd

Published by CityFella

Moved to the Big Tomata in the nineties from San Francisco. No Suburbs for me with its single colored houses and lawns and the excitement of pulling out my trash can once a week. I'm a CityFella , a part time New Yorker. I'm happiest in the Center City where people the streets and people are alive. I'm still waiting to buy a 34th floor condo somewhere downtown/Midtown with a nightclub. "Hurry I'm old" My politics are somewhere in the middle with a needle that constantly moves. I'm too liberal to be a Republican and too conservative to be a Democrat. Everything interests me . I've come to love Sacratomato, Its a nice town in cheap sensible shoes .

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