Table for One: This Is Dining in the Social Distancing Era

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We’ve heard of al fresco dining, but it took a pandemic for us to consider dining solo in the middle of nowhere – true story. One of the rare restaurants celebrating its opening right now, Bord för En – or Table for One – will serve a three-course meal to a single customer each day in a lush meadow in Värmland, roughly 350 kilometers from Stockholm.

table for one
Photo: Courtesy of PA Images

Sweden has eschewed the blanket lockdowns imposed by many European countries, instead advising its people to employ social distancing, and Table For One has taken the message to heart. Designed to be as coronavirus-proof as possible, food will be transported from a kitchen window to the lone table in a wicker basket down a line of rope, and dishes will be double-washed between patrons.

Guests will have nothing but themselves for company, enjoying their meal in perfect seclusion. The brainchild of chef-and-waitress duo Rasmus Persson and Linda Karlsson, the idea struck while hosting Karlsson’s parents as COVID-19 made its way around the world. Rather than have a shared meal together, they set up a table for the elderly couple outside in the garden, a safe distance away. Work on the Table for One website started shortly after.

Photo: Courtesy of Twisted

A three-course sample menu promises a Swedish meal with Spanish inspiration, including Swedish-style hash browns, seaweed caviar, wood-plucked sorrel, and sweet corn croquettes. With purse strings tightening across the continent, diners can decide how much they can and will pay, with proceeds going to a ‘fund for creative moms’ set up by Persson.

If nothing else, the couple hopes to help tackle the strange stigma attached to solo dining. “When I dined alone before, it felt like people were under the impression that I had been stood up,” says Karlsson. “At this restaurant, you will not meet anyone. Not even a waiter.” Spectators at this unique concept won’t be allowed either. “We want to avoid the feeling of being watched while you eat your food. We all are facing difficult times and there are people who have lost their jobs, a loved one, or even their mind.”

Table for One will be open from May 10 until August 1. Book here.

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