Review: Gamla Brogatan and a Day in Malmo, Sweden

Note – photo gallery at the bottom of this post.

While we were in Copenhagen, K and I did a daytrip to Malmo in Sweden on the train. While the trip theoretically takes only half an hour, it took a bit longer to get into Sweden as the border guards were rather zealous in stopping the train and racially profiling people to pull them off for interrogation. While I was uncomfortable with the way guards were targeting particular individuals, I was also too afraid to speak up. I keep thinking now about how I could have done things differently, to speak up against the prejudice of the guards. I’m disappointed in myself and my inaction.

We spent a lot of time in the large Kingsgarden public park to the west of the city centre, wandering on the green paths, watching the ducks in the pond, and just taking in a bit of nature. It’s a beautiful way to enjoy the attractions of Malmo, which is otherwise just a mid-sized Scandinavian city with the same shops in the commercial centre and the same kind of old churches and architecture. There were a handful of more interesting small Scandinavian design shops, but it’s hard to enjoy them when you’re not doing any shopping on the trip!

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Still, we did enjoy the restaurant I had picked out for lunch, Gamla Brogatan. We picked this restaurant based on the fact that 1) It was rated pretty highly on TripAdvisor; 2) The regular menu was quite pricey which generally indicates a certain standard of service and food; 3) They offered a pretty reasonable weekly lunch special which made dining there more affordable. This method of choosing a place to dine hasn’t failed us yet!

Gamla Brogatan is quite centrally located, in one of the streets running parallel to the main pedestrian shopping mall. At the same time, it was quiet on the day that we dined there, which I think indicates its status as a restaurant that locals dine at for dinner, rather than one where tourists dine for lunch. My theory was supported by the fact that amongst our fellow diners were a few groups of older ‘ladies who lunch’ and a few business people holding lunch meetings – all clearly locals.

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We started with a drink each, included in the weekly lunch special menu. With a choice of a still or sparkling water or a low-alcoholic beer, I chose a bottle of sparkling. What I’ve found interesting about a lot of the glass bottles we’ve seen in Europe is that they tend to be a bit rougher and marked around the neck, which indicates that they’ve been recycled many times before. It’s great to see a visible reminder of how recycling and environmentally-friendly practices can make a difference.

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Also included in the weekly lunch special menu is an unlimited supply of salad (essentially just a lettuce mix, chickpeas, and an interesting preserved fruit paste), and their home-made bread. While the salad was a bit boring without even the hint of a dressing, the home-made bread was absolutely more-ish with a crunchy crust but super doughy centre. It was deceptively dense as well, and very delicious dipped in a little bit of olive oil. We asked the waiter how they made the bread, and all he said was “I can’t tell you, because the chef won’t tell anyone his recipe!”

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The lunch special that I chose was the Smoked Salmon with Caramelised Carrots. The salmon was absolutely incredible – I had expected the thinly sliced fatty and oily smoked salmon that I’m accustomed to getting in Australian supermarkets, and certainly hadn’t expected the two firm and plump fillets of salmon served to me. Dipped in a little bit of the horseradish cream, it was simply delectable. Smoked salmon in Scandinavia – it can’t be beat!

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K chose the lunch special of the Rib-Eye Steak with Roast Vegetables, served with two generous dollops of garlic butter on either side. Interestingly, while the waiter didn’t ask how K wanted the steak cooked, it still came out cooked to medium as he likes it – I expect that steaks cooked to medium is just a standard in the restaurant. The chef might rebel if someone asked for a well-done steak! I particularly liked the roast potatoes on his plate with their crispy skins, very nice especially when dipped into the garlic butter.

All in all, Gamla Brogatan was an excellent choice for lunch in Malmo. Their weekly lunch specials make an excellent meal very affordable (our final bill was about $45AUD), and it’s certainly central to the main attractions of the town.

Malmo itself is worth the day trip from Copenhagen – it takes hardly any time to get there, and it’s nice to have a quick taster for what Sweden is like, from a design, nature, food perspective. As I mentioned earlier though, my main regret is not standing up for those being targeted for the colour of their skin – if you find yourself in the same situation, I hope that you will be braver than I and be willing to stand up for others.

Gamla Brogatan is located at 12 Brogatan, Malmo.

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