Googly eyes and killer food are about all you can ask for in a restaurant. Södermalm's newest eatery, Bauer, offers both.
Immediately to the right of the Slussen subway exit on Götgatan, Bauer is located where the old neighborhood pub, Krönet, used to be. The Spanish-inspired menu has a big focus on bite-sized dishes in the form of tapas and cheese plates.
When you step inside the door, you'll be greeted by several larger-than-life cartoon figures, including a bear, an owl, a giant pink mouse and a yellow square smiley. A three-letter word is the most apt description of this new watering hole: F-U-N.
Designed by interior graphics duo Dizel&Sate, the quirky characters create a youthful atmosphere with their goofy smiles and hint of animé. Slobodan Zivic explains that each icon represents a particular emotion. “We wanted to illustrate different pleasures and senses — tastes, visions, thoughts, dreams, flavours, sexual pleasures, nightlife, parties,” he says.
The pink mouse was inspired by the quintessential rodent himself, Mickey. Zivic cites a quote from Walt Disney: “I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse." While most restaurants wouldn't do well to flaunt a mouse, in this case, it adds a lot of charm.
My favourite is the insomniac owl, which Zivic says symbolizes nightlife. It's a bit more understated and elegant than the other characters, although the underlying humour is still there.
A blurb on the menu describes the design as “1920s Bauhaus style” combined with “Berlin’s new gallery and bar culture”. I wouldn't immediately associate the interior with Bauhaus, known for its modernist flair and geometric shapes, but this description works for the owl and certainly for the wallpaper.
The allusion to Berlin is also apropos, as the decor in the main room combines a gritty, unfinished feel with a touch of elegance; raw MDF is juxtaposed with ornate moulding that was probably part of the original architecture. It creates an interesting lounge area that also doubles as a gallery space.
As for the food, the tapas, which range between 45-55 kronor, stole the show. The ajo blanco (asparagus soup) was definitely worth writing home about, but even so, it wasn't the best thing on the menu. When I sampled the bacon-wrapped dates, my boyfriend mumbled rather grumpily: “You look like you just had an orgasm, and I didn't have anything to do with it”. (I don't think anything more needs to be said about that).
Having had our appetites fully satisfied by the orgasmic dates, we opted to skip the main courses, which were a bit pricey at around 250 kronor per person. Here you can expect fusion fare, including butter fried jumbo pollock, roasted duck breast coq au vin, and beef angus.
Our only real complaint was the service. The staff were friendly but forgetful — it took 30 minutes for our server to bring bread, and only then after we reminded her twice, by which time the asparagus soup was cold. (It's a good thing I was preoccupied by my dates).
All in all, Bauer deserves a big thumbs up on everything from the decor to the bacon-swaddled figs. It provides an alternative for people wanting to avoid the hype of Stureplan but who are still seeking a little something different. It's casual, yet cool. Stockholm needs more restaurants like this — in other words, places that don't take themselves so seriously.
Götgatan 15, Stockholm
08-640 08 20