Fäviken Magasinet has been called the world’s most isolated restaurant by Bloomberg. It’s also one of the hardest to get into, since it’s a 16-seat farmhouse dining room featuring the Nordic cooking of one of the world’s great chefs, Magnus Nilsson, and it’s open just a little more than half the year. In 2016, Nilsson calculated that only about 5,000 people had actually been there.
But say you’re one of those 5,000 who scored that Fäviken reservation and travelled to the remote town of Järpen in the middle of Sweden, a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle, to claim your reward, as I did last month. The clock is ticking: Like all the best things, the experience will come to an end, and pretty quickly. In fact, guests can spend only one night at Fäviken—if you’re staying there, you’re eating Nilsson’s extremely local and seasonal cooking, like the famed scallops cooked in their shells over juniper. Your seat is coveted, but your meal wouldn’t be much different the next night. Fäviken’s check-in is at 3pm, and checkout is the following morning, directly after a glorious farmhouse breakfast that ends with hot, fist-size berry jam-filled cookies.
Nilsson was aware of the problem this posed for guests who had travelled hours—and probably days—to arrive at his place. Fäviken is 30 minutes from one of the country’s best skiing destinations, Åre (known as the Aspen of Sweden), but Nilsson wasn’t comfortable recommending any place in town to guests. So he took matters into his own hands.
Earlier this year, he launched a private supper club in a space that adjoins his luxe hot-dog stand a block away from Åre’s main street, and is open to guests who have stayed at Fäviken. Accessible via an unmarked door, the low-ceilinged club has a handful of tables and black leather banquettes with puffy pillows; it seats about 30. There is no menu; instead, Nilsson prepares a family-style meal.
He described a typical meal to me while we ate his flatbread-wrapped hot dogs (the bread is shaped into a cone and stuffed with potato salad and slaw, the discreet equivalent of piling a plate high at a cookout). “You start with snacks, like pickled vegetables and all kinds of herring,” he said. “I’m also making charcuterie, we have it at Fäviken as well. Then comes the main course, maybe a roast chicken with Hasselback potatoes—they’re always a favourite (the potatoes are sliced, then basted with butter as they roast so they’re tender and golden, a kind of rich baked-potato potato chip). Afterwards, apple pie with soft-serve ice cream.” Of course, Nilsson makes his own soft serve—a few years ago, he bought a machine from Japan that makes incredibly soft and not-too-sweet ice cream from the outrageously good milk he sources.
Nilsson has applied this same attention to detail to beverages at his supper club. The wines, which are displayed in a glass case with prices scrawled in white marker on the bottle collection, are unassumingly jaw-dropping—what you might find at the best bistro in Burgundy.
Sommelier and winemaker Raj Parr recently visited the club. “It’s a super-cool wine selection,” he said on email. “Class vintages from Domaine Roulot and DRC, like the 2010 Romanee St Vivant. And they have a good selection of natural wines—the good kind. It’s so cool to see so many great wines in a small speakeasy supper club. And the cocktail game was strong.”
At his club, Nilsson has a list of just four cocktails, including a vodka martini with pickled crab apple “served dirty”; a gin and tonic mixed with Nilsson’s own wormwood tonic; and an on-tap rowanberry Negroni made with a liqueur of the tart, pink local fruit. It’s a good way to start the meal or end it; Nilsson recommends you do both.
Currently the club is a pop-up that runs into mid-April, though he might extend it. In summer, Åre becomes a primo mountain-biking and hiking destination, and Nilsson’s seasonal menu at Fäviken will be totally different. You just need to get a reservation.