Calm before the storm: (l-r) Yelena Packwood, Nils Noren, Eron Woods and Meaghan Dillon meet before Samuelsson at HP opened on Tuesday. *Photo by Don Burgess
Calm before the storm: (l-r) Yelena Packwood, Nils Noren, Eron Woods and Meaghan Dillon meet before Samuelsson at HP opened on Tuesday. *Photo by Don Burgess

They came, they saw, they ate.

The crowds flocked to witness the opening night of Bermuda’s most-talked about restaurant — Samuelsson at HP at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel.  

The two-month pop-up restaurant, located to the side of Harley’s and outdoors overlooking Hamilton Harbour, was fully booked with 74 reservations.

Mr Samuelsson was not there for last night’s opening but will be in Bermuda for one official visit and will check in on things a few more times.

Nils Noren, vice president of restaurant operations at the Marcus Samuelsson Group, told the Bermuda Sun: “We’re so happy to be here. You couldn’t cook in a nicer place, and that’s amazing. 

“We want to take opportunities to use products that are unique to Bermuda. For example, the fish we have on the menu right now, we picked up right off the dock (at the Hamilton Princess) from Steven Cabral. We unloaded the wahoo, the bonito — and that’s such an amazing thing. It’s hard to beat fish right from the dock.”

Mr Noren said he and Mr Samuelsson tried to get a feel of Bermudian culture and culinary heritage to influence the menu. He said the pair of them went back and forth to try to decide what should be on the menu. 

“It is a process. We hopefully have tried to understand what Bermudians are looking for and then create something that is our style, but a little bit different.

The other thing that was a little bit challenging was figuring out what we could get on a regular basis and what we couldn’t get.”

Chef Noren said the decor for the pop-up restaurant  was “fun”.

“In all our restaurants, it is very important that you feel where you are and that’s why we have the Bermuda posters and we did want something that was a little bit nautical because it’s right on the water, but not overly so. We always want warm and inviting restaurants. If there are four guys having a business dinner, I want them to feel like they can take their jackets off after five minutes and feel comfortable.”

Mr Noren said the buzz surrounding the pop-up restaurant has been “tremendous. When we’re out talking to people it seems like a lot of people have heard about it. It’s very humbling and incredibly exciting.”