Temporary "pop-up" restaurants have been opening and closing with various degrees of success for several years now, but the first one to open in Stockholm sounded way too good to be true. Dill opened on Sept. 13, offering a nine-course tasting menu from a chef with two Michelin stars for just $78.
The price seemed shockingly low for the menu by British chef Michael Wignall of The Latymer, especially in an expensive city like Stockholm where, according to The Local's Katie Dodd, "dining out at a run-of-the-mill bistro can set you back at least that much." And it was revealed this week that the price was suspiciously low because the restaurant was actually a pop-up marketing ploy for German discount supermarket chain Lidl.
Dill is an anagram for Lidl, but the designers just decorated the restaurant in sprigs of dill and nobody noticed the connection.
"We simply wanted to demonstrate the quality of our goods," said Lidl spokeswoman Caroline Forshéll. "We think we've shown that good food doesn't need to cost more than it does in our stores."
Some of the customers were actually angered by the discovery that their irrationally inexpensive gourmet meals were being sponsored, and said they should have been paid for being included in a marketing stunt by Lidl. Others were just happy to have been able to taste Wignall's nine-course menu for just $78.
Wignall visited a Lidl in Stockholm and built the Dill menu around the items he thought were of sufficient quality. According to The Local, the final menu included salmon chips, liquid olives, beetroot emulsion, a parsley sponge, and apple pie "rocks" frozen with liquid nitrogen.
Nobody involved with Dill was at liberty to reveal the Lidl connection while the pop-up was underway, but Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet figured it out and revealed the secret earlier this week. Dill closed this Thursday as scheduled.