Reroute To 2112
Touring in a band can be a crazy thing. Somedays you find yourself in whole new places, seeing new sights and people never really imagined before; eating and drinking things you can’t pronounce; playing concerts with bands from all over the globe. I still recall being in 8th grade geography class and learning about where Sweden is… never did I think I’d be there pretty much yearly.
Metallica’s Black Album got me into metal, and was my gateway into metal bands - but flash forward a few years after my initial introduction to the genre, after trying out for Trivium, around age 14/15 or so, into the glory days of Napster (when it was still around)…
I was browsing about when someone over Napster sent me “Jotun” by In Flames. I awaited the file transfer, hit play - and something happened… I’ve never heard music done like this before - yeah, I’ve heard all the bands from Metallica through Slayer and made myself quite familiar with all the USA/UK classic-metal bands - but never have I heard it done like this. It had what sounded like screaming-singing, beautiful melodies layered under-neath that sang like foreign-folky melodies unlike any sort of music I had yet to hear. The juxtaposition of such intense brutality and such enchanting melody showed me something special… this was a turning point for me.
I quickly looked up their entire catalogue online, bought every album available at the time (everything from Lunar Strain to Clayman was currently out) and waited impatiently for everything to show up at my local CD stores that I special ordered them to. I was hooked on In Flames… on this “Gothenburg-style” music, on “Melodic Death Metal” (is it was initially named). Metal wasn’t quite what it is today, so I found myself purchasing everything In Flames on eBay possible (bootlegged VHS tapes, merch, posters).
When Reroute To Remain came out, it again changed the game for me. Applying the techniques learned from this album, I began attempting the sing/scream swap that became such a signature in Trivium. Without albums like The Jester Race and Whoracle and Reroute, I feel I would not be here today.
Jump forward a few years: 2005, 2006, 2007 - Trivium had the privilege of touring with In Flames. Forward in time again in time: another summer tour together in 2011; to the present winter tour, where we have a European and UK tour with the band. Next year we will tour North America and Australia together as well.
Needless to say, each one of these tours is a dream come true - and the fact that we’ve all became buddies over the years is pretty amazing too.
Within the last 5-6 years or so, I’ve began to take my love for food to a whole new level: learning to cook, writing and photographing food and food culture from around the world, and being really into attempting to devour anything that is of cultural food-significance to any and every place in the world. Amazingly, I hear online one day that Peter and Bjorn from In Flames have opened a restaurant in their hometown, Gothenburg.
I was invited to come down to 2112 at the beginning of the European tour, and found myself heading over there on the day of the Gothenburg, Sweden show. The show’s pre-sale was at about 8,000 or so, and I was about to go eat some killer food (not a bad day at all, my friends).
2112 is tucked away in an area where the locals go; an area lined by old stone and brick roads, away from the touristy areas - but still very much so in the city; the surrounding-lining buildings look like old Europe/Scandinavia, but newly renovated and modern inside.
It’s a nondescript little rectangle with the monicker “2112” that greets you on the walk in; a large window from the outside shows you the people happily tucked inside. When you walk in, it’s very welcoming - people all sat and standing nearby each other. This place feels communal: it’s in the air, it’s in the vibe of the customers and staff alike… you see that this is where the locals go. Very clean, organized, modern - while still feeling at-home.
At first - it’s the bar with seating around it, some tables packed with people eating and drinking happily; walk up the a short batch of stairs into a still-very-open dining area. Clean decor, good lighting. Further in is another sort of private lounge room, adorned with In Flames photos and awards, pictures of some really impressive guests and friends of the restaurant; then to the left is the cellar (packed with all craft, local, micro-brew beers) and the kitchen.
When I first arrive, I bust out a quick little solo-interview, then I am greeted by Bjorn and Peter who give me a tour of the beer-stock and the kitchen.
Bjorn explains that the idea behind their beer-stock was to carry beers that had something special going on (I was very happy to see no Bud Light or Coors Light here) - things like micro-brew/craft beers from the USA; little independent, small batch breweries from neighboring European countries, beers that the guys describe as “beers that go great with the food."
The kitchen is meticulously organized - always a great sign of a great restaurant; the chefs diligently working on the intense lunch rush orders (the whole 2112 is packed full of people going to the show later - not bad for business at all I must say). We pop out of the kitchen, and the owners grab me a beer, The Bistro Lager - brewed by chefs and brew masters to get a beer that goes great with food.
We chat over the name of the restaurant and the originations. One day, in Taiwan - Bjorn and Peter were chatting over what to do during their upcoming year off; Peter says to Bjorn, "I want to open a restaurant.” Bjorn to Peter, “I want to open a bar.” Thus, the idea of 2112 was born. The vibe of the restaurant/bar is something familiar yet modern - incorporating feels of slow food, local/organic/sustainable when possible - things that go with things. This is definitely a welcoming place - you feel right when you walk in, that you’re supposed to be here (hell - I booked a flight just so I could experience this place at night when I got back from the adventure).
Anders from In Flames soon joins us, we sit and prep to eat.
The first course was house-made duck sausage, foie gras, orange marinated in star anise, brioche and pistachios. Fantastic presentation, fantastic taste. I am always a big fan of any type of sausage, especially when house-made - certainly a change of pace and a new idea for sausage, utilizing duck. The foie was soft, full of flavor, and exactly everything that a cut of foie gras should be. The brioche was light, crisp, and had a nice butter-rich-bite. The star anise-marinated orange slices complimented the game-meats very well, the pistachios were a perfect extra crunch to finish.
We polished off our original beers, and moved to the Piston Head from here (then Modus Hopperandi after that). Anders and I chatted on everything from Sweden’s obvious amazing influence on all metal from around the world to food, to beer and scotch and cocktails. I shared that without In Flames and At The Gates (Anders from ATG/The Haunted was here as well with us), I really feel American and British Metal bands nowadays wouldn’t be around - those two bands truly shaped everything that would be the blueprint of what’s happening nowadays with music.
Our main course was the braised ox-cheek with mushrooms, smoked pork, morel sauce, potato puree’ and roasted garlic. This was something special. The ox-cheek sliced simply with the side of your fork - texturally somewhere along the lines of an all-day roasted pot roast. The flavor of the meat was bold, not gamey; the gelatinous little fat bits were mouth-meltingly phenomenal. The mashed potatoes here are one of Bjorn’s favorites, and I can see why - this stuff was airy, whipped perfectly; just a hint of garlic and butter in the background. Great stuff.
The use of the morel sauce and mushroom/smoked pork could have been the only thing I ate there, and I would have been happy. That morel sauce was delectable. It went with the meat, the potatoes, by itself… with the other mushrooms. A creamy, meaty-flavored sauce covered the morels. The smoked pork/mushroom side was another favorite of mine; such a perfect combo of chewy-good smoked pork (not unlike a good, thick bacon) and shrooms was really too good to not finish entirely.
Our desert was creme’ brulee, white chocolate crisp, and pistachio ice cream. Already full, but absolutely in need of eating this beautiful assortment, Anders and I dug in. The creme’ was done perfectly - a crisped lid atop the delicate cream tasted exactly how an amazing creme’ brulee should taste. That white chocolate crisp was so. damn. good. Really sweet, really rich. Milky, sugary, chocolatey, velvety, but also softened-crispy. This was like a white-chocolate, flattened, gourmet rice-krispie-treat; but 100 times better.
Pistachio ice cream is my current favorite flavor of ice cream in the world - and this one was just like everything else in 2112: just as it should be. The berry sorbet to the side of the pistachio went perfect with it. All the flavor pairings here made sense in just the right way.
The experience at 2112 was truly fantastic. Being here, you feel at home. You feel like you’re around friends, in a community of like-minded people who all want to eat and drink something good. My life philosophy is that I don’t eat to live… I live to eat. You could come here, not meet the owners, not know their ethos - eat and drink a meal here… and know that Bjorn and Peter live to eat. You can see it in the food, in the drink, in the staff, in the restaurant and bar. I truly enjoyed my time here and can’t wait to get back.