Despite the cheesy name, Pio Country Club, in south Sweden along the road between Halmstad and Simlångsdalen, is a very good restaurant. Two years ago we had a very nice mid-summer’s dinner there with typical Swedish mid-summer’s dishes in haute cuisine fashion with paired wines. This year we discovered that the guy who runs it is a fan of Argentina, has visited the country and serves great Argentinian food. They have a garden where they grow their own vegetables and everything is freshly made from good quality ingredients. Reservations are required; since it is a bit out of the way they are not used to serving people who just show up unannounced.
The appetizer was a ceviche of sea scallops ‘cooked’ in lime juice and olive oil, served with fresh fennel and tomatoes from the garden, fennel fronds, chile pepper and oregano flowers. A nice dish with great texture, even though the taste of the scallops was slightly overwhelmed by the other flavors. Paired well with a high-altitude torrentes from Argentina, a very aromatic wine that is imported into Sweden just for this restaurant.
Rib-eye steak from the BBQ, cooked on the medium side of medium rare, with beets from the garden and chimichurri. Again the Argentinian origins of the dish are obvious. I like it very much that they serve it like this and offer to cook it longer if you want. Both beef and beets had a lot of taste, and paired well with an oaked Malbec from Argentina.
Pio is not cheap at SEK 595 (EUR 72/US$ 89) for 3 courses plus SEK 450 (EUR 55/US$ 67) for matching wines, although I should mention that I do not know how this compares to other Swedish restaurants. This is not Michelin star level, but certainly very good and worth going to if you are in the neighborhood.