Essence: ”A complete surprise until the arrival”
After living and travelling around Europe and developing his culinary skills Scottish chef Stefan Taylor decided to open the Dinner Club restaurant in Västerås. The restaurant started as a pop-up concept and quickly evolved into a full-time restaurant earning a high ranking in the Swedish White Guide. Stefan Taylor tells us about his new project Essence.
“Essence is like building Dinner Club again, Only the way it should have been built the first time.”
“The biggest difference between Dinner Club and Essence is that Dinner Club started as a pop-up concept in a kitchen showroom. It was built in a small space with equipment that you would find in a home kitchen, which resulted in many limitations.”
Every element of the new restaurant has been designed by Stefan himself and has the same quality of the equipment that you would find in some of Sweden’s best restaurants. Where he used to be restricted to household ovens and stovetops, He now uses a professional combi-oven and a handmade Japanese Konro grill where he can cook over an open fire. A new favourite tool that will be used at Essence is the centrifuge, a piece of equipment used for filtering/separation by the use of gravity. The centrifuge causes denser substances and particles to move outwards, which leaves the lighter particles to float above them. Allowing him to break down ingredients into components that could normally not be achieved.
Dinner Club also held the counter dining/chef´s table concept where guests sat around the kitchen. However, all the guests were required to arrive at the same time and were served each course together as one group. This time round the counter is built directly into the kitchen and the guests sit far closer, the dishes are plated directly in front of them and they can feel much more involved in the whole experience. Guests no longer need to wait for other groups to finish before they move on to the next serving, allowing every individual group to experience the dinner at the pace they are most comfortable with.
While the concept remains the same in the new location all of the restrictions that he had before have been removed. This means ideas and dishes that were not achievable in the old restaurant can now be brought to life at Essence. “The possibilities are endless” explains Stefan.
A complete surprise until the arrival
Like Dinner Club, Essence serves a set menu. This time seven servings, three are signature dishes of Stefan’s that remain fixed items on the menu and only change seasonally. The other four dishes can change daily and take advantage of ingredients that are hard to source and new ideas that have been in development for some time.
“The menu is served to the guest in a sealed envelope, you are welcome to open it before dinner if you like, but our idea is that you take it home and open it the next day as a reminder of your experience at the restaurant.”.
“Taste, texture, technique and presentation all play equal roles in the dishes.”
“Menu design starts with a base ingredient. We build on this by choosing other ingredients that will work in harmony with this ingredient, always trying to think in a modern and creative way. With all our dishes, we try to take everything into consideration. Taste, texture, technique and presentation all play equal roles. If we can add a fun element to a dish that will give the guest a memorable experience, then we will do it, but only if it works; nothing is ever added to a dish that should not belong there.”
Are you chasing the stars with this project?
“I am just doing what I enjoy if we pick up any accolades along the way, I will, of course, be very happy. Dinner Club did well in the White Guide, so of course, with the new location and better equipment, I would like to achieve that again at a higher level. I have worked in Michelin star restaurants during my career, and I have huge respect for this kind of restaurants; if I got to a point in my life where I could earn my restaurant a star, it would be a dream come true, but for me, the most important thing to focus on is that the people that come here are happy, that my co-workers are happy and that the restaurant meets our guest’s expectations.”
“This is a new restaurant, but the biggest change is the name, location and ambition to take the concept to the next level. I’m looking forward to welcoming the guests that have been at Västerås Dinner Club and all the new guests that will visit in the future to experience the new restaurant Essence.”