Imagine a restaurant where a base humble ingredient has been elevated to the star (yea I watch too much Masterchef), here at Brothers Olsson Garlic & Shots they do just that.
No prizes for guessing what the star ingredient is – garlic.
The simple garlic is so important in cooking since it gives fragrance to so many different savoury dishes, it is also extremely versatile since it is can be made part of some wonderful-sounding desserts.
Garlic is perhaps one of the most pungent ingredients in a cooks arsenal, not pungent in a pejorative sense but rather that the taste is really strong.
It has had a strange history with humans though, history has shown that many cultures from the Egyptians to the Chinese, Israelis to the Europeans use garlic as a key aspect of their cuisine. In fact, during the Jewish 40 years in the desert one of the items that they missed was garlic – “we remember the fish that we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” (Numbers 11:5). Chinese culture is full of dishes with garlic, most simple stir-fry dishes use garlic for fragrance (bao xiang).
At the same breath, we are afraid of its pungence. In the 18th century, Christians in America described garlic with its snake repellent properties as evil, rationalising that nothing good could come from something so smelly since wherever it grows you can find bad things (i.e. snakes) running away. Garlic also has a cultural basis as something that keeps vampires away. Most societies have moved away from religious objections of garlic but that doesn’t mean that people are not afraid of garlic, as the show above says – it’s not chic to reek.
That is clearly not a sentiment shared at this bar in the hip Sofo district of Stockholm. Here at Brother’s Olsson, every dish is about garlic. You can tell they take their garlic seriously by the decoration filled as it is with garlic.
There’s even a whole wall of garlic pressers.
But we came to this bar for Garlics and Shots, and yes they were garlicky. At least those that I had, a garlic based bean-chilli, a garlic beer and a garlic-inspired shot. The food and garlic worked really well, the drinks though… well, they are an acquired taste, a taste my tongue had not acquired. Let’s leave it at that.
Strange how people on the bus stayed away from me the next day… 😉
ON THE MAP