How To Make

How To Make: Swedish sushi

25th January 2016

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Dan Dennison

For José Cerdá – a Swedish chef of Mallorcan ancestry with an all-consuming interest in Japanese culture – creativity is a process of constant refinement. This applies to the food at his restaurant Hoze in Gothenburg: tiny, perfectly formed dishes which he arranges on the plate with the artistry and precision of a sushi master.

It also applies to the restaurant itself: Hoze started out small, with just 20 seats, but rather than expanding outwards Cerdá has made the dining area smaller so that it now consists of a single concrete bar with six fur-lined chairs. With only one sitting per day, Wednesday through Saturday, the maximum number of people that can eat at Hoze in a single week is 24.

Now, six years after it opened, Hoze is the hottest ticket in town. For a seat overlooking the prep counter, where Cerdá plates up dishes such as egg velouté with sunchokes, chive oil and sea urchin, you’re advised to book at least two months in advance. We sidestep the waiting list by popping in early one Thursday afternoon, as the 30-year-old chef is getting ready for the evening’s service, and asking him to make us a dish that captures the essence of the restaurant.

Cerdá, who trained under a Japanese master in Spain, used a thought experiment to formulate his approach when he opened the restaurant five years ago: “I started to make dishes like I was a Japanese person coming to Sweden and making Swedish food.” He restricted himself as much as possible to local ingredients and, as a Japanese person might, made good use of the region’s bounteous seafood.

The dish he makes for us, which he calls “Swedish sushi”, is topped with pickled herring, pickled pearl onions, pureed carrot, chives and black pepper emulsion. Instead of rice, he uses sourdough bread gently fried in butter and bay leaves.

The Hoze concept continues to be refined – but now he’s broadening it a little. “Last year I started to incorporate Spanish influences too, like the black pepper sauce and the bay leaves. Soon I’m going to import some ham from Spain and try to get in more Spanish influences. So it’s going to be like a Japanese guy who lives in Sweden and his father’s from Spain.” He laughs. “It’s going to be crazy.”






Hoze is at Stigbergsliden 17, 414 63 Göteborg, Sweden; Follow José on Facebook and Instagram


Serves 2


Whole wheat sourdough bread
1 tbsp butter
2 bay leaves
½ tsp chives, finely chopped
Pickled herring
1 pickled pearl onion, thinly sliced
Flaked salt

Black pepper emulsion:

200g whole black peppercorns
½ clove of garlic
50-100ml olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ a lemon, squeezed
1 egg (optional)

Carrot puree:

2 small carrots
½ a lemon, squeezed

Leek ash:

1 leek, the green part


Make the leek ash in advance. Preheat your oven as hot as it can go. Place the green part of the leek on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until blackened, 70-90 minutes. Let the leek cool, break it into shards and store airtight at room temperature.

Next make the black pepper emulsion. Using a powerful blender, blitz up the garlic, black pepper and salt and then add the oil in a steady stream until it emulsifies. (If this does not happen, use a raw egg to help it out.) Pour the mixture into a squeezy bottle and set aside.

Cook the carrots until soft. Put them in a blender with the lemon juice and blitz until they form a smooth puree.

Cut a 2cm slice of sourdough bread, remove the crusts and carve out two sushi-sized rectangles (roughly 2x4cm).

Carefully cut two slices of herring so that each will sit neatly on top of a rectangle of bread. (José pickles his own herrings with vinegar, salt, sugar, leeks, carrots, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, sugar and salt – but shop-bought is fine.)

In a frying pan, heat the butter until it bubbles, then add the slices of bread and bay leaves. Fry the bread until both slices are golden all over.




Lay the rectangles of bread on a board or plate and add the toppings in this order:

Two dots of the black pepper emulsion.


The chopped chives.


A slice of pickled herring. Two circles of pickled onion.


A dab of carrot puree.


A few crystals of sea salt.


A delicate sprinkling of leek ash.


Serve immediately.


Posted 25th January 2016

In How To Make


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Dan Dennison

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