Artist Carsten Höller’s New Restaurant Makes Brutalism Edible
Brutalisten is a new restaurant in Stockholm with a menu inspired by the bold simplicity of brutalism
Forget living in brutalist architecture. Try to ingest it.
Belgian-German artist Carsten Höller’s new Stockholm restaurant, Brutalisten, translates the defining aspects of brutalism into a kitchen with a range of rotating dishes prepared from a minimal amount of ingredients.
‘Ocean Whitefish’ by Brutalisten
The concept is the physical manifestation of Höller’s Brutalist Kitchen Manifesto – a ten-point list of instructions that has more in common with Tristan Tzara’s Dada Manifesto than Julia Child’s Kitchen Rules, with statements like that “decorations on the plate should be avoided” and “we are all born brutalist eaters, because mother’s milk is essentially brutalist.
Describing the philosophy of brutalist cooking, Höller says, “I don’t despise complex dishes made from a multitude of ingredients, but that seems to be what everyone is doing these days, piling tons of stuff on a plate and layer the ingredients horizontally. . We are going in the opposite direction. The goal is to vertically dig into the taste of a given ingredient and rid it of background noise.
Carsten Höller (right) and chef Stefan Eriksson (left) in Brutalisten
Brutalisten is not the first restaurant concept for Höller who previously created the pop-up club and restaurant The Double Club in collaboration with Fondazione Prada. “Both projects are social experiments to some extent, and in both projects division plays a central role, but in different ways,” says Höller. “In The Double Club, each area was divided into Western and Congolese parts of equal size and kept separate, both architecturally and acoustically. At Brutalisten, the ingredients are cooked on their own after being divided into different parts, which are cooked separately in different ways and then reconstituted.
The menu, designed by chef Stefan Eriksson, has been divided into three sections: “semi-brutalist” dishes which allow the use of oil or a minimal amount of other ingredients, “brutalist” dishes which allow an elevation using only salt and water. and “brutalist orthodox” plates, which allow no additional ingredients, such as crab cooked in its own shell.
‘Mushroom Carsten’ by Brutalisten
The list of complementary drinks includes a Brutalist beer specially made without hops and brewed only with grain malt, as well as a variety of non-alcoholic Brutalist drinks made from fruit, seaweed and mushrooms.
Ultimately, Brutalisten is a restaurant well suited to those who prefer dining out to be an experience rather than a comfort. As Höller puts it, it’s a place to eat “in a new and sensible way”, where you can “have a good time in an unusual place”. §