First of all I will start by saying that neither of is a vegetarian. We like meat, though we are not crazy about it. We could easily skip it from our menu for a few days without even realizing it, but we somehow always end up with some meat on our plate because that's how we were brought up. On the other hand, whenever we eat at home, same dishes make their way to our table with a religious constancy. If meat + vegetable dishes are limiting, how would vegetarian dishes be, we asked ourselves so many times. But we were being ignorant and eating at Hermans Restaurant in Stockholm was an eye opening experience for us as we learned 3 things:
1. Vegetarian recipes are fun
2. Dare to play with spices
3. There's a lot of variety when you cook with vegetables
We arrived at Hermans Restaurant in the Södermalm District of Stockholm just before 9PM. The place was packed and we worried we won't find a table, but the staff helped up find one on the glass covered terrace. Unfortunately they told us we just missed the grill and that the restaurant was closing in one hour. Nevertheless, we could help ourselves from the buffet table that was still set inside.
This unfortunate turn of events disturbed us a little, but then we realized it was totally our fault for not checking the local customs before. Apparently though we arrived very early for dinner by Spanish standards (in Spain dinner starts around 10PM and lasts till midnight), the Swedish have dinner at healthier hours and therefore the restaurants close earlier.
I must say the buffet was still plentiful and we certainly didn't have to settle for leftovers. There was an incredible array of cold and hot vegetarian dishes, all fresh and yummy. We instantly knew there was no way we would leave hungry. But the revelation came to us the moment we started tasting the different dishes, all so uniquely flavored and delicious. Vegetarian food is far from boring and we should definitely have more of it in our lives! Neither of us could refrain from serving a second plateful of salads and cooked dishes. The cook had used spices from all over and our dinner ended up being a journey around the world in 80 bites (not that we really counted them).
The coffee and tea were also included in the buffet and we could help ourselves from the machine as many times as we wanted. The desserts were however separate, but there must have been over 15 different types available, all looking extremely good. We went for the berry pie and the apple pie and we weren't disappointing at all, au contraire.
From the glass terrace we could enjoy some of the most astonishing views over Stockholm, while also being warm. We watched the sunset over the canals and we marveled at the green terrace laying between us and the water. Having lunch at the shadow of these trees, during the warm summer months must be amazing.
In the end our vegetarian dinner at Hermans turned out to be a rewarding experience in spite of us arriving late and missing the grill they organize daily in the garden. We would have loved to experience it. Apparently the legacy of Hermans, the man who opened this restaurant over two decades ago, continues to touch the lives not only of the Swedish but also of the people traveling to Stockholm. Back when the restaurant opened, Hermans had a vision that the Swedish didn't eat enough vegetables, as the traditional local cuisine involves lots of meat, fish and potatoes, without the use of spices. In a way, the dishes served in this restaurant are today totally the opposite of that.
Howadays, Hermans Restaurant has weekly themes with different types of buffets: TexMex, Meditteranean, Middle East, India, Asia and MultiKulti during the summer months. They have a multinational background and employ chefs of 16 nationalities. They also have great discounts for retired people and 50% discount for students. It really shows people get great value for money here, or otherwise it wouldn't have been so busy when we arrived.