Photo credit- Mia Yakel.

First Look: Halsa brings healthful dining to Serenbe’s Mado community

Part of the new, walkable Mado commercial and residential wellness community at Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills, Halsa opened for dinner last week on the bottom floor of the One Mado building, with breakfast and lunch service coming soon.

Halsa means “health” in Swedish. And the Swedish-influenced “polished casual” restaurant boasts a spalike menu from Nicolas Bour, who recently returned to Serenbe as executive chef and vice president of food and beverage. Bour is now overseeing the Farmhouse, the Hill and Blue Eyed Daisy, as well as working on several new concepts, including an Italian restaurant.

At Halsa, Bour and his team are offering “clean food and drink” using local and Serenbe Farms-grown ingredients. Look for a soup of the day, house and build-your-own salad bowls, sandwiches and plates, along with desserts and house-made breads baked daily.

Halsa at Serenbe in the One Mado building. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.

Standout items include Shrimp “Skagen” with butter lettuce, organic sour cream, pickled red onions, potato cake and smoked trout roe; a hand-cut salmon burger with a house-made bun; and Scandinavian Meatballs with grass-fed beef, lingonberry, cucumbers and sour cream gravy.

The beverage menu curated by Abi Shinstine ranges from fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies to wines by the glass or bottle, and mocktails or cocktails, including the Basil Grapefruit Refresher with Kanon Organic Vodka, grapefruit juice and muddled basil.

The interior design by Smith Hanes Studio employs functional Scandinavian style in a bright, airy space with clean, simple lines, pale wood, large communal tables, and an inviting covered patio.

Halsa Executive Chef Nicolas Bour. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.

Last week, Bour and Shinstine sat down at a table at Halsa to talk about the concept and their menus.

“It’s already been slammed,” Bour said. “We were really busy from the first night we opened. The menu was designed to be very, very healthy, and with things like the build-your-own bowl, it can be quick service for people who want that. Our goal was to keep it reasonable, as far as the prices, but really high-quality with the ingredients. The Nordic influence is obvious, but we didn’t want that to be 100 percent. So we have some unusual things like crispy kale and Brussels sprout tacos with avocado and heirloom tomato pico.

“I put my version of Swedish meatballs on the menu, made with ground beef and chicken to keep it kind of light, and quite frankly they’ve sold an insane amount. The Shrimp Skagen is a really nice traditional Swedish dish. We tried really hard not to put flour in a lot of the dishes, and make things gluten-free, so it’s a potato cake with wild shrimp and steelhead trout roe.

In keeping with the food menu, the beverage menu focuses on healthful ingredients, even if you might not know it in the cocktails.

“All of the wines we’ve selected come from farms that are either USDA certified organic, certified biodynamic, or sustainable wineries,” Shinstine said. “That’s to keep with the Halsa ‘clean food and drink’ motto, and the wellness aspect of Moda that we want to keep at the forefront of the restaurant. The beers are all craft, and a lot of them are local from around Georgia. We also have seasonal Danish beer and Scandinavian apple cider.

“All of the cocktails are handmade with fresh-squeezed-daily juices and herbs from Serenbe Farms. So something like the Bee’s Knees has local honey, fresh lemon juice and organic Farmer’s Gin. We’re doing energy and protein smoothies because we have the gym right across from here. But we foresee the juices and smoothies being huge with residents who are going to the gym or the pool.”

11090 Serenbe Lane, Palmetto. 678-345-0999, halsarestaurant.com.

Scroll down for more images from a First Look at Moda at Serenbe 

Scandinavian Meatballs with grass fed beef, lingonberry, cucumbers and sour cream gravy. Photo credit- Mia Yakel
Shrimp "Skagen" with butter lettuce, organic sour cream, pickled red onions, potato cake and smoked trout roe. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
The Bleu Greek Salad with butter and treviso lettuce, avocado, seedless cucumbers, feta, kalamata olives, tomatoes, pepperoncini, Roquefort dressing. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
Hand Cut Salmon Burger with house bun, butter lettuce, remoulade, pickled veggies, and terra chips. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.
Basil Grapefruit Refresher with Kanon Organic Vodka, grapefruit juice, and muddled basil. Photo credit- Mia Yakel
Tropical smoothie with peach, mango, strawberry, and pineapples. Photo credit- Mia Yakel.

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Read the 2018 AJC Fall Dining Guide: Dining on Buford Highway 

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