48 hours in Malmö

Malmö, the former fishing port at Sweden’s southern tip is a beguiling spot for a city break, thanks to its sandy beach and balmy summers, Add in a farm-to-table restaurant scene and coffee-and-cake culture and you’ll be hooked, says Hugh Thompson…

48 hours in Malmö

Where to eat in Malmö

“The restaurant community here has a great do-it-yourself vibe,” says Linda Dahl, who runs food tours (matkaravan.se). “Plus there’s excellent produce. Every restaurant with a reputation in Malmö grows their own or works closely with a local farmer. ”

Linda recommends the medieval centre as a good place to start – a walkable grid of cobbled streetslined with pretty buildings. First stop: Julie, a little wedge of heaven for cheese and wine lovers. The cheese is mostly French and the wine mostly ‘natural’ (the waiter says it’s what everyone wants these days). The aromatic fennel salami, cured in a castle cellar, goes brilliantly with a nice glass of local wine (natural, naturally) made from solaris grapes – a cold climate variety.

In the eastern docks area, three friends, Claudia, Karin and Lina, have turned an old locomotive shed into Mygel (mygel.nu), a cool canteen-style lunch spot with herb plots outside. It serves beautifully simple ingredient pairings at low prices (three courses about £23): fresh peas, broad beans and mint with a sharp cream cheese and a drizzle of olive oil on sourdough.


Pack a picnic

Still central, Malmö Saluhall  is an old freight depot that’s been turned into a buzzing food hub while retaining its original brick exterior. Try the creamy sanda blue at Möllans Ost cheese shop or browse the fresh, pickled or smoked fish on the counters of Söderholmens fisk – on Fridays they do oysters and champagne. Poms Mackor constructs doorstop sandwiches (salt beef, cheese and gherkins) to eat at the bar or take away. Load up with goodies and explore the parks and gardens of Malmöhuss slot, a 16th-century fort – or Ribbersborgsstranden, a long finger of parkland that starts at the Western Harbour, lined with sandy dunes and and jetties running enticingly into the sea.


Swedish sweetness

Everywhere you go there’s a chance to indulge in Swedish ‘fika’ – coffee and cakes. Try Ruths in the old town (also a handy lunch spot) or, for the best buttery kouign amanns, head south of the old town to Soderberg & Sara. For sticky buns, try Bageri Leve, run by Martin and Didrik. Amazingly, Martin learned how to bake from Instagram – and the cakes are all plant based (not that you’d know). Martin’s rosehip doughnuts have the perfect mouth puckering sharp-sweetness.


Farm-fresh dining

In Möllan, the trendy part of town, you’ll find Lyran flying the flag for New Nordic cuisine. The fixed eight-courser (£48) comprises eclectic heirloom ingredients (those proud farmers Linda Dahl talks about get listed too) and delivers daring flavour combos: confit tomatoes in a crystal clear tomato consommé with chilli and raspberry; wild blueberry sorbet on smoky tea ice cream drizzled with a liquorice sauce.

Despite its Scandi minimalist decor, Vastergatan feels a bit more chilled, offering a five-course seafood-heavy menu (£48). The chunky cod fillet for the main course was butter-soft, sitting in a pool of gentle horseradish cream, sprinkled with chilli flakes: no kitchen pyrotechnics, just assured cooking from chef Olle Ahnberg.

Where to drink in Malmö

Hyllie Bryggeri is a brewery started by Michael Nathhorst in his garage before he expanded into this larger location with friend Erik. It’s low on kerb appeal (more multi-storey car park) but inside there’s a food pop-up (you can’t sell alcohol in Sweden without selling hot food), a well stocked bar with a funky mural at the front and big shiny brewing tanks at the back – the beer doesn’t travel far. While some of the brews are a bit experimental (hot chilli beer, anyone?) their bestsellers, such as Hyllipan IPA, hit the spot on a sunny day – 6.5% made with citra and mosaic hops.

Malmö’s cocktail culture is small but growing. Pushing the mixology envelope, Care/of, set on the canal, bizarrely shares the site with a barbers. Proud of their ‘no waste’ mantra, the team squeezes and distils local grapes and apples, along with whatever else they need. Try a drink called The Sun Never Sets (£11) – a bracing mix of brandy, rhubarb, spearmint, amontillado sherry and clarified almond milk. Like Malmö, it’s fresh, different and delicious.


How to get to Malmö

Fly to Copenhagen (Skyscanner has flights in August from around £110), then take the train from Copenhagen airport (about £22 return) via Øresund Bridge, with the train plunging down thrillingly into an underwater tunnel before emerging at Malmö Central.

Where to stay in Malmö

Story Hotel Studio Malmö on the waterside has modern rooms. Doubles from £108 with breakfast.

Scandic Triangeln is close to Möllan with spacious rooms. Doubles from £100 including breakfast.

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