IDA BAUHN AS HEAD CHEF AT NOUR

Sayan Isaksson welcomes a known face within the Swedish culinary scene, Ida Bauhn, to the culinary team at Nour as she steps into the role of head chef. 

“It feels wonderful, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Ida. Her deep knowledge, extensive experience, and creative flair are pivotal for the future of our restaurant,” – Sayan

Since its inception in 2020, Nour has aimed to create a unique culinary experience influenced by Japanese culture and techniques while emphasizing the use of Nordic ingredients to promote sustainability, a principle dearly held by Ida Bauhn.

“Our goal is to continue leading in sustainable restaurant practices by maintaining close relationships with our suppliers and making sustainable choices in all aspects,” – Ida

In recent years, Ida Bauhn has led the Swedish Culinary Team as its first female captain, starting in the team in 2021 alongside Matilda Ewaldh. Beside her competing, Ida has worked as a freelance chef. Her passion for cooking was ignited during an internship in a pub kitchen in eighth grade. In 2022, she with the Olympic team to a silver medal in Luxembourg. 

Ida and Sayan have now been working together for about a month, and have already worked out seasonal changes to the menu, utilizing what’s available and fresh. Duck and mackerel are through Ida and Sayan transformed into new dishes and enter the menu and a few summery desserts are also making their appearance. Nour has also made its menu more accessible, by introducing a new three-course menu, in addition to the existing five- and eight-course options. 

“The idea behind the new menu is to offer our guests more choices, with different pricing but still faithful to Nour’s essence,” – Sayan Isaksson

Special thanks are also extended to Olle Broström, the previous head chef at Nour, for his contributions since the reopening in 2021.

“I would also like to extend a huge thank you to Olle Broström, former head chef at Nour, who is a major reason for where we are today and for us receiving a Michelin star together in 2022,” says Sayan.

Visit Nour to see the new faces and to experience the news!

Nour placed among Falstaff’s top ten best restaurants in Sweden

Falstaff magazine, founded in 1980 by Wolfgang M. Rosam in Austria, has a storied history as a leading publication in the realm of wine, food, and lifestyle. Initially focused on the Austrian wine scene, Falstaff quickly expanded its scope to cover international culinary events. The magazine has grown to become a key resource for enthusiasts and professionals alike, offering insights into the world of fine dining, wine, and gourmet travel.

Their daughter Swedish magazine has visited Nour and placed in the absolute top restaurants of Sweden, an impressive feet considering the fierce competition on the Swedish culinary scene.
The magazine’s name, inspired by Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff, a character known for his love of good food, fine wine, and jovial lifestyle, perfectly encapsulates its essence. Falstaff embodies the celebration of epicurean delights, aiming to share this passion with its readers through expertly curated content.
We at Nour would like to extend our thanks to Falstaff Magazine and hope they return to sample our cuisine again soon.

Read more about the Swedish restaurants featured.

To Falstaff Magazine.

Nour in Malaysia

Back in 2018, chef Sayan Isaksson was the head chef of celebrated restaurant Esperanto and was invited to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by the prestigious Mandarin Oriental hotel. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has existed since 1876 when they opened the Kingdom of Siam’s first luxuary hotel in Bangkok, The Oriental.

Malaysia is an interesting region in the way that it is truly multi-ethnic, it’s three major ethnic groups are Malays, Chinese and Indian, and peninsular Malaysia shares a common history with Singapore. Today’s Malaysian cuisine is a vibrant fusion of flavors, drawing from a rich tapestry of cultural traditions. It blends elements from Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and Filipino dishes, alongside indigenous Bornean and Orang Asli influences. This culinary diversity is further enriched by a variety of external culinary styles, including Arab, Thai, Portuguese, Dutch, and British, among others. The result is a complex and diverse gastronomic landscape, characterized by an intricate symphony of flavors.

Last year Nour and Sayan was invited back to Kuala Lumpur to have a Nour pop-up at the hotel’s restaurant, the Mandarin Grill, and cook a tasting menu for invitees and the hotel’s guests. As of February 2024 Sayan has introduced his menu “Simply Scandinavian” at the hotel. A menu that shares virtues with that of Nour’s but created with local ingredients, which puts an interesting spin on the menu.

 “Sayan Isaksson: Although I have been here before, I am still super excited to explore more of Malaysia’s food culture and regional produce. In addition, I am always eager to work with a new team and new talents!”

You can read more about Sayan’s adventures from the view of local Malaysian magazines below. Also make sure to follow our Instagram account for live updates of the event.

Options – The Edge
The Yum List
Grazia
Robb Report Malaysia

Saké Tasting Dinner the 6th of February

On the 6th of February, we will host a sake tasting dinner at 18:00, and we would love for you to join in. We’re joined by esteemed guests and owners of the Shimizu Seizburo Shoten brewery Mr. and Mrs.Shimizu. Coming all the way from the Mie Prefecture, Japan, they will hold a sake workshop and then join us for the dinner. Nour has imported sake from the authentic Flying Brewery for some time, and we’re also happy to invite Eiko Andersson, sake sommelier and importer.

We work closely with Japanese producers and Eiko Anderson, our Swedish-based, experienced sake sommelier and educator, is our unique resource for everything connected to Japan.”

The event will take place on one of Nour’s off days and thus we’ll be joined by various characters from the restaurant and food & beverage business. A unique opportunity to join us at Nour for an intimate and fun evening with likeminded guests! A 5-course dinner signed chef Sayan Isaksson along with at least 11 different sakes will be tasted.

We are able to host a maximum of 30 guests for this particular event, so make sure to grab a spot while they are still available.

Here is an excerpt from our co-host Flying Brewery’s mission statement:

“Our passion is to introduce Sweden and the rest of Europe to the magical world of beverages from Japan. Our team of experts is at your service to assist with information and in-depth knowledge of our products. We work closely with Japanese producers and Eiko Anderson, our Swedish-based, experienced sake sommelier and educator, is our unique resource for everything connected to Japan.”

A warm welcome from us at Nour and hope to see you there!

Book here.

Sustainable Nour – 360° Eat Guide

At Nour, sustainable practices are important to us and we’re very proud to share our listing in the 360° Eat Guide. The magazine’s evaluation takes place in two parts. First a member of their jury visits the restaurant and grades everything – the venue, treatment and presentation during service, all the way to the quality of the ingredients, craftsmanship, creativity as well as of course taste.

The final part consists of a extensive interview about the business side of the restaurant, focusing on all aspects of sustainability. Nour happened to get a very high rating of our gastronomy, as well as a place in the guide for being a sustainable business.

This is an excerpt of their review of Nour from this fall.

“The agenda has never been to stand on the barricades for sustainability but to run a modern restaurant with respect for animals, nature, and the guests” – Chef Sayan

GASTRONOMY: 91-95P

”Even if Sayan Isakson doesn’t advertise his sustainability efforts, there’s still important work going on behind the scenes. At this Asian-influenced restaurant, there is a knowledge and craftsmanship that few can match. The ingredients, the cooking techniques, the flavors, the aesthetics, as well as the staff, warm welcome — at Nour, quality permeates every little detail.”

Thank you 360° Eat Guide!

Read the entire review and about more of Stockholm’s most sustainable restaurants here.

Japan and Nour

It’s 2 pm in the restaurant and pre-service is in full swing. Glasses are being polished, doughs are being kneaded, coffee is being repeatedly brewed for the staff. The air is filled with pleasant fragrances of sweet vinegar and duck on the grill. The mood feels calm and in control two hours out from service. Sayan still works daily at the restaurant, and he has told me that he needs to complete these doughs and thus I am confined to the middle of the outer kitchen of Nour, on a footstool with my computer. Behind me is Bella, one of the newest additions of cooks at Nour, tending to small green leaves and most probably listening in to our conversation. There’s an infectious energy and anticipation in the room, as before each service.

The reason for this visit to Nour is to ask questions about Japan, and its meaning and usefulness to Nour, an inherently Japanese and Scandinavian restaurant. Sayan’s journey into the Japanese cuisine started early, he mentions an essay about Japan that he wrote in the ninth grade, and how it pulled him in with what he calls mysticism. The real venture into Japanese culture happened after he moved to Stockholm. There he got to taste his first piece of sushi at Fridhelmsplan at a run of the mill sushi-corner. With just three ingredients, he was fascinated by the simplicity yet strength of the dish, and realized he wanted to open his first Japanese restaurant. The year is 2005, and Sayan Isaksson and Daniel Höglander, both having been members of that year’s Swedish olympic culinary team, opens the restaurant Esperanto, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2007 and was regarded as one of Sweden’s best restaurant for many years. In 2009, Sayan opens trendy “Råkultur”. Råkultur was located just above Esperanto in the same building and was deemed by reviewers as a cool spot with excellent food. At Råkultur, Sayan quickly realized that his foray into sushi was only dipping a toe into the complex and ancient traditions of Japanese cuisine.

“I was also shocked at the level of quality. Me and Olle Broström were very short of time one night and went to a McDonalds in Tokyo…”

“From there, I started taking trips to Tokyo and Japan, and I realized that Japanese cuisine was this huge thing, full of techniques, textures and flavors that were mostly unexplored in Scandinavia. I was also shocked at the level of quality. Me and Olle Broström (chef de cuisine of Nour) were very short of time one night and went to a McDonalds in Tokyo and ordered a Tokyo version of the Quarter Pounder. We were floored with how good it was, and two hours later we actually went in to get another one. It’s also something about the way they walk there, here in Stockholm everyone’s walking in every direction. In Tokyo everyone is going in one straight line for each direction, and it’s the only way it would work, there would be chaos if it was any other way.” 

The journey into Japanese culture then continued with a competition in 2009 in London called Seven Sushi Samurai with now nationally famous chef Frida Ronge. Sayan and Frida was one of seven pairs invited to compete with their sushi skills and managed to place second; an impressive feat considering that there was a Japanese jury and a Japanese winner. A realization when exploring Japanese food is that it isn’t as easy in Sweden to find the same quality of produce as in Japan. It’s a unique island in the way that it covers three different climatic zones – subarctic, extratropical and subtropical. This gives the country access to all kinds of ingredients of high quality that simply isn’t available in other places.

“It’s a mindset as well, the Japanese don’t keep the bad produce and sell it, everyone there are so tuned in for the best there is, so the readily available produce is of excellent quality, because the Japanese standard is higher.”

It’s somewhere within this realm that Nour creates its own, unique menu. The food is the translation yielded when using Scandinavian, local produce and exploring Japanese ways of cooking said ingredients. This, with the creativity, hunger and experience of the team, draws out what is being created at Nour. However, the dishes made at Nour is not exactly available in Japan, the restaurant will use Japanese words and phraseology as labels to put something unique, beautiful and delicious on a plate.

“To me, the level of service we’re starting to expect is from Japan.”

In 2016, Sayan Isaksson opens Imouto, a humble sushi bar, and receives his first Michelin star, just next to Esperanto. This made Esperanto and Imouto two restaurants next to each other that both had gained a star in the guide, so the building became a bit of a two-star sensation in Stockholm, which Sayan reminisces as good times. From there, Nour opens in 2020.

“To me, the level of service we’re starting to expect is from Japan. If you’re leaving a restaurant in Tokyo the owner and your waiter of the night will follow you to the door, and they’ll wave you goodbye until you round the corner of the next street. There’s such extraordinary professionalism and knowledge there as well as such humility. There’s no “startenders” in Japan, they use an expression, Omotenashi, which roughly interpreted means satisfying others’ need without being told to do so, and without any self-gain involved.”

The desire to truly understand Japanese cooking has led to many interesting developments at the restaurant. The team recently went back to the traditional basics of making Koji-rice, which is cooked rice that has been inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae. A mold that is widespread in Japan. This mold releases enzymes that ferments the rice by decomposing its carbohydrates and proteins. This process can also be applied to other grains like barley, and according to Sayan, it has revolutionized the team’s entire approach.

Olle was just positively sanctified by this milk”

“We’re just reaching a different intensity. It feels like we did things harder for ourselves than we had to, exploring these traditions has honestly made the flavors better and the process more genuine. If I didn’t have kids, I’d honestly move to Japan. It’s such an endless inspiration, just from going to this one island, Hokkaido. We had some milk there and Olle was just positively sanctified by this milk, so now we have our own artisan milk in the restaurant, but from Swedish cows from Gotland, Olles birthplace.”

After spending years dipping their toes, the team behind Nour now have their feet fully planted in the ocean of knowledge that is Japan. Chef de cuisine Olle Broström and chef Sayan have more trips to Japan planned, and creativity is running high. With a chef’s table in Key West, Florida that Sayan attended last month, constant renewals and revisions to the menu, field excursions to new restaurants for the team – it is safe to say that there is something special brewing at Norrlandsgatan 24.

Stay tuned for more upcoming articles.


PHOTOS: SAID KARLSSON

Nour DNA

Nour Dashi

Our dashi is the backbone of our kitchen used in broths, marinades and sauces to enhance the Umami. Made of water, kombu, katsuobushi, and mushrooms.

Koji

We make a classic Koji from steamed sushi rice and koji mold (Azpergillus oryzae) for the starter of our misos and the shio koji.

Shio koji

White koji water made from rice koji, water and sea salt make a terrific savory liquid.

Miso

We make two variations of miso paste, one from domestic yellow peas and one from domestic white beans, again with the rice koji as the work horse.

Smen

A Moroccan condiment consisting of butter mixed with 10% blue cheese kept at room temperature for about a year or more. Makes for a super potent flavor bomb.

Meatso

A miso paste made of beef, koji and sea salt.

ACV

”Apple cider vinegar” from domestic apples. We infuse vinegar with other ingredients as well, such as elderberries and katsuobushi.

Fish sauce

We make a nam pla style fish sauce based on the fish heads and bones that we get. Only sea salt is added and lots of time.

The Yakitori Grill

Our go-to heating source is the grill. We grill almost everything over charcoal to create a smoky flavor profile using glazes and different fats as flavor enhancers.

Nour XO

Originally from Hong Kong, XO meaning Extra Old. This savory condiment packed with umami is incredible. Our version is special because we use chilis from Gotland, house dried scallops scraps and dried Swedish squid.

 

Learnings from the past season

The amount of work that goes down into running a restaurant is bewildering. Running Nour, with the caliber that the guest expects, is that amount of work taken to the next level. In this update of sorts, we’ll speak with Sayan Isaksson, the chef and boss of Nour about what Sayan wants to convey and try to come closer to what the point of Nour is.

“This last season working at the restaurant, I’ve gotten so much closer to the guest. It has been strong for me to be able to see them when they exit, scan their faces for an immediate feedback, it’s been very humbling to be honest.”

With Réne Redpazi closing Noma1, the fine dining scene has never been more in question than before. This is something that is constantly brooded upon at Nour, how to really use the incredible workbench that is fine dining. On one hand, the stamp “fine dining” lends the cook and entrepreneur access to the best ingredients, to incredible premises and to be able to offer excellent service. On the other hand, the ephitet comes with shackling levels of standards that needs to be carefully considered and above all – met.

“Stress is definitely something that can affect service, there are only seven tables in total, yet there’s a rhythm and beat to it. It’s about letting the guest have the best possible experience that they can, with excellent food and a wonderful relaxed feeling”

Service at Nour is one of the aspects that have been rethought for this fall. With the experience being inherently luxurious, its important to the team that the guests are made to feel relaxed, like they can move and laugh and spend their time at Nour however they want. While still enjoying one of the best meals that Stockholm has to offer. Its about deconstructing and reforging what a fine dining experience is or can be.

The past season at Nour has been colored by the aftermath of the familiar virus, and every restaurant has had to make adjustments to the post-pandemic restaurant scene. Speaking to Sayan, it seems to have almost reinforced his love for his work – Nour managed to retain its michelin star2, and after an inspiring trip to Tokyo Japan, along with a popup at the Westin Yokohama in the Kanagawa district, chef de cuisine Olle Broström and Sayan plans an ambitious fall season at the restaurant.

“There are a few hills to climb to reach the level we want, but we’ll get there”

Stay updated on the website to follow the inner workings of Nour.


 

1. Jessa Crispin, 2023 The Guardian
2. Guide Michelin, 2023

 


PHOTOS: SAID KARLSSON, HILDA LEVINSSON