In the past, gastronomic developments were mainly introduced via the plates of the city’s more advanced restaurant kitchens. This is no longer the case – many global culinary trends are now being brought in by food trucks, fast food stands and simpler establishments.
One of recent year’s most talked about dishes is poke, the Hawaiian raw fish salad that could be described as a mash-up between sushi and a bowl of bibimbap. Several Stockholm restaurants have introduced the dish on their menus, but A Bowl, located on the narrow, cobbled staircase that leads up Mariaberget, is possibly the most ambitious venture to date.
Founded by youngsters Rima Ismail and Samir Kersh, with joint experience from Oaxen, AG and The Burgundy, this hole-in-the-wall has quickly become a hip spot to pick up a lunch from (or, when the weather permits, taking a seat on one of the steps outside).
The atmosphere inside the tiny space is hectic, with a young cashier taking all orders, three servers scooping up ingredients into bowls behind a counter, and a server “on the floor”, providing packed take-away bags to customers. On a scale between chaos and order, the former seems to prevail, as our ‘Maxed Salmon’ (110 kronor) and ‘Maxed Tuna’ (130 kronor) salads are bypassed by customer orders placed way later than ours. The staff’s chirpiness and eagerness to rectify the mistake make up for any low blood sugar frustration we might have felt.
What also instantly upped our blood sugar level was that first fork full of chunks of fish, lukewarm rice, avocado, mango, cashews all smothered in kimchi and spicy mayonnaise. The tuna salad clearly surpasses the salmon, which has a hint of fishy flavour to it. All in all, we’re quite content with the generous bowl, that keep our bodies filled with the fuel that we need throughout the afternoon. We are, however, quite suspicious to the “healthy fast food” banner, under which poke seems to be marketed. Sure, the fish offers a tasty way to up your omega-3 intake, but the white rice and sauces, most likely high in both salt and fat, should be seen as what they are – not great for your waistline, but a reliable mood booster.
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Words: Micha van Dinther