Eat Viking: Särimner on Birka Island

Eat Viking: Särimner on Birka Island

Follow writer Wailana Kalama to the island of Birka to sample Viking food at its newest restaurant, Särimner.

All photos by author.

The Viking Restaurant Särimner on Birka Island has now opened its magnificent wooden doors to the public for the 2017 summer season. Thanks to the efforts of Strömma and Swedish musician Martin “E-Type” Erikson, the restaurant underwent a renovation over the winter season, transforming what was an ordinary deli into a princely medieval mead hall.

The new and improved Särimner boasts refurbishments in traditional Viking Age style. Round shields line the walls, robust log tables pack the corners, and a stone fireplace coaxes a cozy atmosphere.

Center: Swedish musician Martin “E-Type” Erikson

Dining tables stretch out long enough for six or eight people to eat and converse on benches wrapped in fur. For ornaments, look for the colorful tapestries, polished elkhorns, and wrought-iron candlesticks in the shape of seafaring ships. And it won’t be long before you find yourself admiring the massive longboat hanging from the ceiling.

Birka Island is an island on Lake Mälaren dedicated to the Viking way of life and its traditions, so it’s no surprise that the new restaurant has all the trappings of a Viking dining hall. Even the name, Särimner, evokes the Norse legend of a creature consumed by the gods each night, only to be brought back to life the following day. Särimner promises nourishment and renewal.

Live music is spirited, and appropriately medieval. Two troubadours play out their hearts on a traditional säckpipa (Swedish bagpipe) and a wheel-and-key instrument known as the hurdy gurdy. Honestly, after the novelty of the restaurant, these cheery tunes are the highlight of the meal.

Even the menu is curated from food that the Vikings would have eaten, made with locally grown ingredients. Visitors should sample succulent dishes like salted beef brisket, roasted root vegetables, reindeer meat and smoked Baltic herring with cranberries. The beers are known brews from nearby Adelsö and Härjarö.

Treat yourself to a fine mead that’s neither too sweet nor without flavor, as some meads can be, but a well-balanced potion, with a mild fragrance of honey and flowers. For children, there are meatballs with pasta, or pancakes with whipped cream and raspberry jam. Desserts bit of modern twist, from rhubarb pie to spinach cake.

Särimner is a delight, both inside and out–for those that want to enjoy the summer sunshine, there’s plenty of outdoor seating on picnic tables. It’s a Viking feasting hall fit for a Viking island!

Practical Information

Our writer was invited to the grand opening of the restaurant but all opinions are hers.

Author: Wailana Kalama

Wailana Kalama is a freelance travel writer from Hawaii. She spends her evenings exploring her leafy district of Skogås and reading far too many obscure histories. Read more of her work at waikalama.com.

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